Posts Tagged ‘Lace’

Recently I’ve been doing some sample knitting for a yarn-dyeing friend. She sent me three different kinds of lace yarns which I’m using to knit up some patterns I’ve been eyeing for quite some time.

Kuusk cowl

The first project I did was the Kuusk cowl, which was published in Knitty last year. I knit it up in Amanda (Ravelry link) which is a 100% merino lace yarn from Rain’s Obsessive Stitchery. I seem to recall that the yarn is superwash, not that it really matters for lace. When are you ever going to throw a lace shawl in the washing machine? (If you do, please don’t tell me. I don’t want to hear about it.) The yarn is roughly the same weight as Zephyr and a bit springier, so it was very nice on my hands. Nice enough that I knit the whole cowl up in one day. Just a nice, quick little project.

The Kuusk pattern is knit in the round and has nupps. I’ve knit many, many nupps prior to this, but not in the round. I can’t say I enjoyed closing the nupps from the knit side. They don’t look as neat to me and didn’t plump up as nicely as they usually do. If I re-knit this pattern I’ll either sub out the nupps for some beads or simply leave them out altogether.

Can you see the nupps? Nope, I can't, either. I promise they're there.

The second project I knit up with Rain’s yarn was the Triinu scarf, from Nancy Bush’s Knitted Lace of Estonia. This is the fourth project I’ve knit from that book. I can see myself doing everything in in eventually because the patterns are so nice. Nothing super complicated, just nice, well-written patterns that tend to be easy to memorize. The big lace scarves are possibly a little too big and airy to use as a conventional keep-the-weather out scarves, but they are just right for a dressy stole or for pinning over a blouse on a cool day.

I knit the Triinu in Eleanor yarn, from the same shop that I linked to above. This yarn has just a little bit of sparkle. In the skein it looked too sparkly to me (I’m not wild about bling in general) but once it was knit up the sparkle toned down and was just right. Everyone that sees it loves it. The silver fibers didn’t make the yarn scratchy or hard to work with.

The third yarn Rain sent me is called “Marie” and is a different animal altogether. It’s an alpaca/silk/cashmere blend and while I knew in my head that it would feel differently than the all-wool or wool/silk blends, my fingers kinda forgot about just how slippery alpaca could be. This yarn blooms a bit after washing and blocks well, and I’m super excited about the project I’m using it for: Rhodion, from last year’s fall issue of Knitty. I’ve knit two other fabulous patterns by Elizabeth Freeman and  been wanting to knit this one since the day it was published. The lace-and-cables are absolute magic. They are also absolutely no fun at all to pick out if I make a mistake, so yeah, I’ll be staying out of the beer while I’m working on this one!

Rhodion swatch.

The photo I’ve posted is of my Rhodion swatch (yes, I swatch my lace, and you should too). The cables look like little double helixes before blocking, and after the block relaxed a bit the swatch retained a nice three-dimensional texture. The really cool thing about this swatch is that I cast it on right in the middle, with a provisional crochet-chain cast on. I knit two repeats of the cable pattern, cast off, turned around and picked up from the provisional cast on, and knit two more repeats. I love everything about this swatch: the helixes, the texture, and how the subtle color changes work with the whole thing. I’m working on the shawl now and every time I pick it up, I’m excited to work on it.


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Garden Shawl triangle, with my fun party dress.

This one’s for Mom.

This is the Garden Shawl. The pattern was written by Dorothy Siemens. I’ve done another of her patterns before, Peacock Feathers. Both were well written, although I liked the Garden Shawl better. I modified this pattern to make a triangular shaped shawl, both because I like knitting triangles better than squares (less edging!) and because the yarn I chose came in 1100 yarn skeins, and I didn’t want to shell out for 2 skeins. I used all but 18 grams of my 100 gram skein, so my triangle shawl used just over 900 yards.

I’m going to refrain from naming the yarn I used in this very public space. Sufficient to say, it is 100% silk, light laceweight (but heavier than cobweb) and looked very pretty in the skein. I found 4 knots in the skein and innumerable slubs, and for the price I paid, this is absolutely inexcusable. On the other hand, my Russian joins are now perfect.

(For anyone not in the know, a Russian join is a tricky but lovely method of joining yarn back together after a break or, in this case, after cutting out a knot.)

I had a lot of fun with this pattern. As I said before, I modified the pattern shape. It was written as a large square, with four triangular panel sections divided by long straight “flower panel” runners, and edged with a lace border. I took it down to a two triangular sections, which together make one large triangle, separated  and edged on the sides by the flower panels, and then edged at the bottom with the lace edging. Knitters interested in the technical details can visit my Ravelry project page here.

This was my 25th lace shawl! Now I’m going to take a break and knit a sweater. Don’t worry, it’s nice and complicated.


As and end note, could anyone recommend blogging software for a Mac? In case you can’t tell, I’m having some issues here. The WordPress web interface leaves a bit to be desired.

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Yeah, so lately, I’ve been doing more knitting and less blogging about knitting. This means that once again, I’ve got two finished shawls to show off!



The first shawl is the Evenstar Shawl. The pattern was written by Susan Pandorf, as a “mystery shawl” knit-a-long. For the uninitiated, a mystery project is one where parts of the pattern are emailed to the knitters over a span of time. When you start knitting the project, you don’t know what the finished project will look like – that’s the “mystery.” For this shawl, the pattern parts, or “clues” to the mystery, were emailed every two weeks.

Although this mystery shawl started in February, I fell behind on the knitting sometime in March and didn’t finish until October. I was OK with that; it’s not like the mystery shawl police were going to come and confiscate my needles if I didn’t keep up. DSCN0074

The final project was just lovely. I’m glad that I signed up for this knit-a-long.  The pattern is meant to evoke images from the Lord of the Rings trilogy (hence the name) but it is lovely in its own right.

The yarn that I used for this project was Yarn Place Heaven. As you can see in the photos, it blocked really well. I blocked it out over a month before taking these photos, and the patterning is still extremely crisp. Yarn Place describes this yarn as “cobweb weight” but I think that it’s closer to gossamer. I knit this project on US size 1 (2.5 mm) needles, and I really think that I could have gone down to 2.25 mm or even 2.00 (size 0) needles; close up, the lace patterns are quite open and loose as I knit them on size 1. The size of the skein was very generous, around 3,000 yards. I still have most of the skein and I think that I will be able to get another large shawl out of it, at least. Something nice about this yarn was that it was just a little bit sticky. When I occasionally dropped a stitch, it didn’t tend to unravel quickly, like silk does. Mistakes were easy to fix without ripping back – DSCN0062always nice!

Because I knit this project with such a fine yarn, my shawl came out quite a bit smaller than the other finished shawls from this knit-a-long. That’s OK. Not every shawl needs to be voluminous! The very fine gauge makes the shawl almost ethereal; it wants to float through the air. It was difficult to make it lay flat for the photos.


The second shawl that I photographed today is also on the smaller size. In fact,  it’s my smallest shawl to date. This pattern is Swallowtail, by Evelyn Clark. I needed something simple to work on during a recent trip, so I pulled some Lacey Lamb out of a drawer and cast this on. What a neat little knit! The size combined with such soft, fluffy yarn makes the shawl nice to wear as a little neck scarf. (Please forgive the poorly lit photo.) This shawl has a nice, classic look to it. It’s not over-the-top in any way. Moderate size, simple, effective stitch patterns and layout, and good wearability. Out of all the shawl patterns I’ve knit up so far (about 25!) I think that this one will best stand the test of time. I will definitely be knitting this one again.

This yarn has a bit of an issue with blocking, however. It is super soft and springy. This makes it easy on the hands when I’m knitting with it, and the final project is wonderfully soft and cushy to DSCN0051 touch. However, all of this soft springiness means that it doesn’t like to hold a block. Here I have a photo of my gauge swatch, knit and blocked 6 weeks ago, next to the shawl, which I blocked last night. You can see that the swatch has seriously bounced back from the block. The stitches have all closed up quite a bit. I knew from previous experience that this yarn likes to behave this way, so I chose a larger needle than I would normally, in order to produce a more open gauge. After a few weeks, the shawl will look like the swatch. Even with the bounce back, the pattern still looks nice in the swatch, so I’m confident that the shawl will still look nice as well without needing to be re-blocked before each wearing.

DSCN0053 DSCN0048

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Cobweb Lace Scarf

DSCN0398 In October, I wrote about a lace scarf I was knitting, based on the Cobweb Lace Stole pattern found in the Spring 2008 issue of Interweave Knits. At the time, I said that Interweave hadn’t put any good photos of the stole in the magazine, and that I was surprised to find out elsewhere that the pattern called for some really cool new-to-me lace stitches.

I finished the scarf a few weeks ago, blocked it, and then pretty much forgot about photographing it until a friend mentioned something on this blog to me this morning. I came home, looked at the blog, and realized that it has been almost a month since I posted anything here! Yes, I’m still here, everything’s OK, I’ve just been busy. Busy is good! It certainly beats laying around on the couch most of the time, which is what I did for much of last year.

So, I finally have some scarf photos. I only purchased one skein of the yarn I DSCN0401 used, which as it turned out was not quite enough to make a full-sized scarf. I shortened the scarf and added a “keyhole,” so it will still be wearable. As I had mentioned in my previous post, I also re-wrote the lace chart to accommodate the decreased number of stitches and adjust the motif spacing along the body of the scarf. I’m pleased to say that the adjusted lace work came out quite nicely.

I’m not so pleased about the yarn I chose. Many of my friends adore working with the single ply yarns produced by Malabrigo. Although I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Malabrigo Lace which I used for this scarf was stronger and less prone to breakage than I expected, I was not so pleased with how it it wearing and how easily it attracts dirt. I had to weave in the yarn tails well before I was finished with the project (something I’m never needed to do before) because they began fuzzing out so badly, and the finished piece has already started looking a bit ratty and felted. Given the rough life most of my scarves tend to live, I’m going to have to treat this item with extreme care. For now, however, it does still look nice, so I’ll fold it up, store it with my good winter coat and plan to wear it over Christmas.

More catch-up blogging tomorrow!

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It seems like a long time since I finished my last shawl. Usually I knock one off every five weeks or so, but this one was an unusually slow knit, and has had a few issues as well.DSCN1167

Still, it is lovely.

It is also, as you can see, quite large! It measures 34″ from neck to point, and 80″ from tip to tip. I knit it in Jaggerspun Zephyr, on US size 4 needles. The pattern calls for a cobweb weight yarn. Zephyr is on the thicker side of laceweight, which explains the 20″ difference between the pattern measurement and what I got!

The color of Zephyr I used is called “blueberry.” It is a lovely, smoky blue color. I might have to get some more and make something else in this color. This is my third shawl using Zephyr. It really is everything that it’s cracked up to be. DSCN1161 Easy to knit with, enough bounce to handle crazy lace stitches, a nice sheen from the silk content, and enough silk to make it block and stay blocked really well while still having enough wool to still handle like a good wool yarn should. Yes, there’s more Zephyr in my future!

One of the reasons I chose this shawl pattern was so that I could ease my way DSCN1157into two-way lace knitting, where there are lace stitches on every row. All of my previous lace projects have used lace stitches on every other row, with a plain “rest” row in between. One of my long-term goals has been to knit a traditional Shetland shawl, which will mean a lot of two-way lace. After I finish the shawl I just cast on, the Shetland is next!

LMP is destined for a friend in Nashville. I wore it a little last week, but last night I folded it, wrapped it up in a box and addressed it, and today I’ll go to the post office and say goodbye. However, it is going to a great home, so it’s not too hard to send it away.


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I did a little bit of re-organization last week on this blog. While I was going through some old posts, it struck me that I’ve been getting lazy about taking good photos. So, of course, we then had dark, cloudy skies for several days in a row, with a little rain here and there. This morning, however, I spotted a ray of sunshine! So I broke out the tripod, dusted off the lightbox, and headed out to the backyard to take some photos.DSCN1167

You would know, the sun went back behind a cloud.

However, it wasn’t quite so gray and dismal, and too much bright sunlight is just as bad as not enough, so I persevered and had fun experimenting with different flash settings.

Lightweight Mountain Peaks is done! It does look quite nice. More photos in the next post, and then it goes in the mail.


I’ve cast on my next shawl, Shetland Garden Faroese shawl, designed by Silvia Harding. I noticed right away that the pattern uses only K2tog decreases; in other words, no directional decreases. I am using a yarn made by Habu, a bamboo “silk” in cobweb weight. When I swatched for this shawl, I experimented with different types of directional and non-directional decreases. I’m glad that I did, as I suspect that the bamboo is less forgiving than a wool yarn DSCN1148 would be. The lace patterns look radically different depending on the decreases used. So, I broke out the stitch dictionary and lightly edited the lace charts on the shawl pattern, adding SSK, P2tog and P2togtbl decreases where appropriate.

My current sock is nothing noteworthy: after ripping back three different lace patterns, I decided that the yarn really didn’t look good with any kind of pattern, so I’m now making a nice plain ribbed sock.


What is noteworthy about the sock is that I’ve finally started using the DPN tubes that a friend gave me as a Christmas gift. This is a great little contraption! You slide the smaller tube around the top of the work and the DPNs…


…and then slide the larger tube around the smaller one. No more reaching into my purse to grab the sock and coming out with one needle too few!

I had looked around locally a few months ago to try and find a set of tubes without success. I think that my friend got these from Knitpicks.

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