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!