Friday, June 30, 2006

Laceweight Yarn Stash (Can you really have too much to choose from?)

Since I have ordered a copy of the "Wedding Ring Shawl" from Heirloom Knitting, I have been looking at my "stash" of laceweight yarns for something I might use. Of course, those of you who are making knitted lace already know there are degrees of madness when it comes to knitting this type of a shawl. It ranges the spectrum from merely disturbed, to truly deranged. It may even be that I have nothing sufficiently grand for this shawl and will have to purchase yet more yarn to make the project. Still, see above part of my stash. At the top is a 55% silk/45% camel yarn (95 grams, 1,600 yards) from Skaska Designs. It's variegated in the brown/tan range. Nice but maybe not for the more traditional Shetland Lace patterns? The white hank is from Skaska Designs and is a 2 ply silk (100 grams, 6040yards, 120/2). I purchased this at Stitches West from the same vendors who sell the Orenberg Lace Shawls at most of the knitting shows. Though truly beautiful, it might be madness to knit, not to mention just trying to put it on a swift and use a ball-winder on the stuff. Next is a ball of "Graceful"in variegated mauves/purples. It's a two ply and very pretty (100 grams, 2,400 yards, wool), but I'm already using this on the Peacock Shawl and it may not really be fine enough. Ditto for the grey/green cone of Australian Cashmere from Belisa Cashmere (100 grams, 1,000 yards) that recommends use of a US 1 needle. The balls that are shrink-wrapped are shetland laceweight, single ply, very thin as well though to the naked eye, it looks to me like the silk yarn is thinner. Still, it might only look finer because it lacks the "halo" that the Shetland singles have that is characteristic of the fact that it's wool rather than silk. Once soaked and stretched, the wool might even "bloom" more . Who knows. There is still more yarn I will dig up and look at, but the silk and the shetland may be the finest things I own. If they don't suit, I will have to explore other options! So I await delivery of my pattern and then I will look on in envy as Knitterguy may be starting his in July while he's still working on the Princess Shawl.

While I ponder what yarn I will be using, there is also the issue of needle size and type. I've never bought one of these patterns, but I imagine you could go as low as you want to if you decided, say, to use the silk? Now, I do own 000 circulars in the addi turbo type. I use them for beaded purse knitting. But its slick/fast virtue in that type of knitting is a hazard for me in lace knitting where a dropped stitch makes you want to slit your wrists. I like wood, but then there is the issue of type of wood and color. Type of wood affects the among of drag against the yarn as you try to move the stitches up to knit/purl them and color affects my ability to actually see the stitches better. Contrast helps me as my vision has always been a bit of a problem (Myopic and Astigmatic).

Crystal Palace now has a nice darker color bamboo that goes down to size US 0. Skacel addi Natura goes to US 1 but I understand they are going to stop making them in size US 1 due to problems they have had with them. As far as I can tell, they don't make the Rosewood needles very low in circular. I have one pair of Lantern Moon Destiny but could only find US 4. Ok for other lace, not the Wedding Ring though. Then there are the ebony circular's that go as low as US2-3. These have a heck of alot of drag though. There is excellent contrast if you are using a light color yarn, but once you get alot of stitches on those puppies it's hard to move them along to knit them. Of course, I may be deluding myself into thinking I can use such fine yarn. I may end up with a tangled mass of absolutely nothing at all. Still, If you don't try, you can't suceed so the effort will be made.

Have a Wonderful 4th of July Weekend everyone!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Blast from the Past (Shawl from long ago)

This is a shawl I made for my friend, Louise many many years ago. She let me have it just to post it since none of the other shawls I've made are owned by people locally. This is to prove that I really have made knitted lace in the past, I just never keep any of it for myself. The last large stole I made was given to a co-worker to give to her local church for their auction during the holidays, for charity. It's the way of things for me I guess. However, the next few things I knit may end up being kept for my little nieces who are only 11 yrs. and 15 yrs. old. They may not want the stuff, but they will still get them for later when I can't knit anymore. That is one of my big fears, that I won't be able to either see to knit or have fine motor co-ordination sufficient to knit. I will take a picture of the lace scarf I'm making and there is also a "lace-like" shawl (see above). The reason I call it "lace-like" is because it is not lace. It's rayon yarn knit on big needles so it appears like net, ergo "lace-like". This, along with the BFL shawl are a pain in the you-know-where to knit. Rayon is slippery and the slubs are hard to knit, it kinks up and knots. Since the shawl is still on needles, you can't really see the effect with it hanging there. I will show it once finished. It has terrific drape even if it is no fun to knit it. The Rayon Yarn was from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. The color is Lagoon, the yarn Rio in 100% rayon. The pattern is the "Simply Garter" which is a garter stitch shawlett from Contemporary Concepts by Judy Pascale. The BFL shawl is just interminably long for each row of added stitches and is a riff on the circular Shetland Shawl in "A Gathering of Lace".

That's it for now!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

What to Knit when you need something easier! (Brain Fry)

Whenever I need to knit something that won't fry my brain, I rotate my lace knitting to things much more simple yet not a waste of time. At my age, I don't even buy my banana's green, if you know what I mean! Since I screwed-up the Peacock Shawl again, I have been working on the center of the Mountain Pines shawl. I only have one more course of the pattern and the center will be completed! This is one of those shawls where I have to pick-up all around the square and knit outwards. After trying to knit on US 1, it's a pleasure and very easy to knit this Mountain Pines shawl on US 3. It's hard to see, but there is a flower pattern in the center section. Hard to see due in part to my bad photography and also due to the fact that lace looks awful before it is stretched. See above, balls of "Graceful". I was using the purple for the Peacock shawl but messed up so many times that I have temporarily retired this ball of yarn in favor of the ball in the upper right hand corner of the picture. I'm hoping this will break the curse on this shawl for me. Of course, it may just be rotten attention-span due to my menopause that is causing so much grief and my aging eye-sight. Which brings me to a age related knitting topic. I only learned to knit as an adult. I learned to spin first. I was not taking pictures of my knitted works 20 odd years ago so I have no pictures of the knitted lace shawls I made. Most of the shawls were gifts and many of the people are living far away now. The only shawl I might lay hands on locally is one I made it for my friend, Louise who is older than I am. It is a pattern I obtained from Knitters Magazine knit with 2 ply merino lace weight yarn I spun on my Schacht spinning wheel. It is not the most intricate, but it's not bad for the beginning knitter and spinner that I was. My spinning is better now. More consistent and finer. Still, my friend hauled the shawl out to show-off at her local "Stitch & Bitch" group just for laughs and they were fairly impressed. Guess they haven't seen much knitted lace! If I get it from her, I'll make a picture of it. I've observed that younger knitters have not had as much to do with lace initially. Same with new spinners. However, as I've been surfing the craft boards and blogs, I think there is a change coming and more people are making knitted lace something to try . I take the upsurge in lace patterns available as a sign and more beautiful yarn made for this type of work. Just when my eyes suck too! I'm due for an eye examination in July so maybe I can convince them to make me microscopic eye glasses so I can see the lace better. I have a partially finished circular shawl made of BFL I spun. I had to stop because the "Madeira Lace" pattern in the outer ring was making me grit my teeth. I'm afraid it will sit on the needles awhile longer while I continue with the much more fun Mountain Pines and head-banger Peacock Shawl.

Until later!

Lace (Life-long obsession)

I am creating this site for my lace projects. Something that I can post my progress on. My other site is for other crafts in general, but Lace is something that gets hold of you and won't let go. I'm not even good at it but still I keep at it. There are those who are much much better. Knitterguy for one ( . he is making The infamous "Princess" shawl from the Heirloom Knitting site (see side-bar). His second site is devoted to his progress on this lovely shawl ( . I have had to re-do my site because my previous site was so messed-up as to be impossible to print on. This is much better. See above, my current project made of a 70/30 merino/silk blend two ply that I hand-spun on my Schacht wheel at 22-24 WPI. The fiber is from Widdershin Woolworks in Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico and it spun like a dream. I am also starting, yet again, to knit the "Peacock Shawl" from Fiddlesticks Knitting. This will be the 6th time I had to rip it out. I am stubborn and refuse to use a "Lifeline" so I will take a page out of the Knitterguys attempts and begin to limit how much time I spend knitting on the shawl so not to make undue errors. I need to be a whole lot sharper as I'm not doing it on the recommended size US 3 needles but on US 1. Yeah, I know, just hit me repeatedly over the head with a baseball bat! But if it wasn't a challenge, it wouldn't be fun! I have also decided that the ball of yarn I was using, purple, is cursed.I have started with a different colorway. The name of the yarn is "Graceful" and can be purchased at the Yarn Place (see side-bar for link).

That's it for now!