Saturday, February 16, 2008
It's been more than a week since I managed to gather my wits and post an update about the goings on here at beadntat. There have been distractions...things like illness, visiting relatives, Ravelry, and yes, even knitting! But the week-long migraine and related temperamental tummy have chilled out, the visitors have gone home, and I'm starting to return to life. Give me a couple more weeks, a little more daylight and warm, sunny spring days, and I should emerge from my winter cave happier than a groundhog :-)
When last I posted, I had gleefully announced the completion of my Mystic Waters Shawl (MWS). Of course no lace shawl is truly completed until it has been properly blocked. That big event happened last Wednesday night. The operative word here is BIG as my MWS ended up being very big. Note in the first picture that the top edge of the shawl was wider than the length of the full-sized sheet I used as my blocking surface. The final measurements were 106" across the top and 51" from top to tip. This was my first experience with cash/cotton yarn and I found it left a fine purple lint on the white sheet. I assume this is due to the cotton content. That same cotton also makes this shawl especially cuddly next to the skin. This was well-tested as I wore the shawl over my PJs around the house the week I was sick. I predict this one will see much use!
I wore the MWS over my sweatshirt to the Friday Night Knitting Club at The Yarn Haven last night. It was a big hit!!! Sandy even took pictures :-) I confess it's pretty cool to see folks who know knitting really appreciate the beauty and complexity of my lacework. It's my kind of endorphin rush :-)
So, with a huge project finished I've spent a ridiculous amount of time debating what my next move should be. The problem is there are too many great projects to choose from and I want to knit them all. But recent heated discussions about Herbert Niebling and his unique designs published mostly in Germany in the late 20th century really stimulated my interest in knitting doilies and other table laces. I've been collecting patterns, but didn't feel quite ready to break into my stash of tatting threads and give it a go. But, with a migraine coming and going last week I figured I'd try out a sweet little doily designed by one of the gals on Ravelry & Lace Knitters. Called Little Flowers, this doily was just the right size for a first doily project and it was charted and the instructions were in English. Call it 3 stars! I cast-on late one night and had it finished the next night. Sweet!
I knit Little Flowers using some very nice Opera 10 from my stash and 2.5mm dpns. I didn't have a 16" or 24" circular, so I ended up using 8 needles. It was logical for the 8 point motif, but that's a lot of needles to worry about falling out. In the end, I felt the doily looked a little dense to my eye. In the future I will use a 2.75-3.0mm needle for size 10 crochet cotton, or better yet--go down to a finer thread. I don't care for size 10 thread in tatting...I think I will ultimately feel the same way for knitted lace as well.
Energized by the success of the Little Flower doily, I had to jump right in a knit a second doily. I decided to thumb through my vintage pattern booklets and see what I could find. I hit a tattered gold mine in a book called Sparkling White Doilies, a book containing patterns for crocheted, hairpin lace, tatted, and knit doilies. while most were crocheted, there were 2 knitted doilies in the book. There was a small problem though--I had complete patterns but no pictures because the back cover was missing. This extra challenge added to the intrigue so I decided to knit a "Surprise" doily. I did use a finer thread this time, Cebelia 20, and the same 2.5mm needles--a perfect combination! I found a 32" circular needle and "magic looped" this doily after I had the first several rows knit on dpns. This combination worked perfectly and I ended up with a very pleasant surprise. I'm totally hooked on knitting doilies..there will be more in the future :-)