Friday, August 04, 2006

Take my lace knitting on an airplane? Are you mad? (will be out of town)

Before I go for the weekend, I thought I'd make a short post. Normally I knit on a plane, but I'm sure I'd just screw up the lace or else someone will interrupt me while I'm knitting and the Air Marshal will have to arrest me! There was an inquiry asking if this yarn was going to bear up under blocking because I was expressing having problems with picking back and yarn integrity. Let me say it's not the fault of the yarn that I stink as a knitter sometimes. The twist in the yarn is good and it's strong for what it is. It blocked like a dream and has lovely drape as you can see on my sister (she now has a second career as a hand model!). I will say that picking back should be done only if you have to and that I'm getting a little better at it. Still, I prefer going real slow because I don't have to pick back if I don't make the mistake in the first place.

Here's the thing. I like to try things even if I might fail. It was not always so. I was not raised to be fearless. Until recently I would never have dreamed of having a blog or letting anyone but family and close friends see any of my craft obsessions. But as you get older, you realize that potential public humiliation is really nothing. It does not matter compared to the possibility that someone might be like-minded and interested in what you do. If my trying things that are difficult encourages someone else to try, then I think that's great! This is only the 3rd Shetland style shawl I've ever made. I've done lace knitting (ie, there is a row knit plain between pattern rows) to make lacey shawls, stoles etc. and the previous two Shetland Style shawls were just that, lace knitting. I admit that one of them, the one my friend Louise owns, I both spun the yarn and knit the shawl, but it was knitting of a different level of difficulty compared to what I'm doing now.. According to Sharon Miller, for something to be considered knitted lace, every row has pattern and there is no plain knit row to create the lace. The fact that I'm over-reaching to make my first piece of knitted lace is part of the adventure.

I guess I'm saying don't be afraid to try even if you are afraid to fail. You and I have a shelf life. Don't have a regret you can easily avoid. You may find, as I have, that people are actually very kind about your obsessions! I love the fact that my first true piece of knitted lace will be this beautiful shawl. It's worth the time and effort. Not everything is at my age.

That said, I am up to row 30 on the WRS. No additional lifeline, I forgot to put it in. I think I will keep going and put the lifeline in after the first full course of the pattern instead. Slow and steady is working for me. Those with more experience and better vision would undoubtedly go faster and with much more authority than me. I say,more power to them!

Until my return, I hope everyone has a terrific weekend. I know I will as I'm going to see very dear friends and will have more fun that I can possibly stand! :)


Jason said...

Wow! That blocked piece looks insanely delicate. Sheesh! Did people really knit with yarn this fine in the past? Or is this a recent trend? I am wondering.

WRS is looking really beautiful, Jane! Can't wait to hear about your trip.

Jane said...

Dear Jason,

Oh dear me yes! Shetland Lace Knitting is well known and not a recent trend at all. Like Orrenberg lace, it's not at all new. It's just with the recent popularity of knitting and spinning and other hand-work, there is a renewd interest in this type of lace work. If you go to the side-bar to Heirloom Knitting, you can go to the Sharon Miller site and look at her contemporary work in Shetland Lace. She has made a study of the old lace shawls that are made from extreamly fine wool Sharon Miller had published a monster of a text called, "Heirloom Knitting" and it's essential for anyone who wants to try this type of knitting.There is, however, a book that pre-dates hers called "The Art of Shetland Lace" by Sarah Don that discribes the wool for lace knitting. It states that the single's thread was made from 2-3 fibers that were spun using a constant rolling motion agains the twist of the wheel using the fingers and thumbs of both hands. These singles where then plyed to make yarn that was used in the antique version of the Shetland Lace Shawls. They were even thinner than what I am knitting with. Mine is a single, not plyed and so it is less stable than what they made and undoubtedly less thin. I received an e-mail from a woman who was recently in the Sheteland Islands and she actually saw one of these famous shawls and she confirmed that the yarn is thinner than what I am using!

I'm happy with how the shawl is comming out. it will undoubtedly take a year to finish the thing!

alice said...

fearless knitting is the best kind. :)

Jane said...

Dear alice,

I have to agree!

heidi said...

it is coming along very nice!

Jane said...

Dear hedi,

Thank you for the encouragement! I'll be knitting this for a very long time to come and I think it's turning out nicely too, if slowly.