Saturday, February 26, 2011

Garter Lace Frustration

OK so I think that this may be too much for me at this time, or maybe just the wrong combination of stuff.  I frogged this at least 5 times at the beginning.  I was still having a hard time seeing the pattern with the dark, slippery yarn.  After about 20 rows I felt I was getting the hang of it.  But...just now, I thought I would do 2 more rows before taking a photo to post, and  dropped a stitch.  Couldn't recover, frogged back 5 rows, I think.  It may be time to put this away till frustration subsides.

On the other hand, you may be able to tell that I have a new camera.  Photography inclined sons talked me in to a new Nikon digital SLR.  Don't ask me details, I haven't gotten beyond the quick start sheet.  But it takes a fine photo.

 B took that.

Another nice thing, it's spring here in SC. Hope you have spring soon, too.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Istex and Lopi Lace Weight

I got a scanner  for Christmas with the intent of scanning old family photos for my records.  (I  believe that online and digital storage media will replace those genealogy trees recorded on crunchy brittle old pieces of paper, and want to get information in newer format for my boys, when they turn 50 and go through the middle-years-genealogy-discovery-developmental-stage).  

At any rate, I'm also having fun scanning fiber-y photos that I can't locate in digital storage and just did some from a trip to Istex in Iceland. 

Here is part of the story, reproduced from an earlier post:

I was lucky to go to Iceland in the summer of 2006. I dragged my poor Mom on the bus out of Reykjavik to Mossfellsbaer to the Istex store. It was a little desolate, no signs like “this way to Lopi” or anything, just the two of us alone on a bus in a foreign country where the driver spoke some non-Germanic language and no English, no wonder Mom was nervous, I was a little too but the call of the fiber soothed me…. once there, I found this great lace weight which I hadn’t seen before. The store is great and the ladies most helpful, after we finished shopping they gave us a ride in the Alafoss Lopi logo bus to Halldor Laxness’ sort of nearby home-museum, he is Iceland’s Nobel Laureate for fiction. I’d highly recommend the trip out of Reykjavik to go there, lovely shop, lots to look at for us fiber junkies and really at-the-source. Maybe now the bus has an ad for it!  

It was only a 40 minute bus ride, I should add.

Here we are in front of the store, which was amazing 


Lopi logo bus with sweet driver

 I knit a peacock tail lace stole which is a little short from Lopi lace weight

 I do love the ostrich plume lace

The ostrich plume is also in the feather duster shawl which is in my Ravelry queue.

Here again is the Wing O the Moth also from Lopi lace weight

Halldor Laxness is a challenging read, perhaps he needs a new translation of his novels;  his characters have difficult lives, but his writing has plenty of humor as well.  When I asked a librarian friend who reads everything if she'd read any of his novels, she just laughed.  Don't let that stop you from trying.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Garter Lace Challenge

I am a fairly good lace reader, if that lace is stockinette based.  If you are not a lace knitter, this means that the lace patterning is done on the right side and usually that side is knit-based, and the wrong side is purled back.  In this way I can intuit where I am on a pattern if I have not memorized it, and I can do repairs if I drop a stitch, unless it's a very challenging pattern.

I am not good at garter lace. Garter lace is lace in which both sides of the work are (yes) knit.  With the horizontal bars facing both ways, I have difficulty figuring out where I am even when I haven't made a mistake.

(And don't even ask about lace with patterning on both sides, I have a lovely shawl in hibernation fitting that description!) 

Being an Evelyn A Clark fan, last year I fell in love with her Wild West Shawl, with it's representations of western motifs and buffalo, done in garter lace. I purchased some Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud, then did an about face and decided to use some of my handspun singles BFL instead.  Here's the result

and here's where I blogged about it. I wound up doing it as a stockinette lace, because I got lost.

I've decided to restart with the Alpaca Cloud, and try as garter lace.  This is lace weight which I have really not used before.  I need a swift, don't I??  Sammy's looking surprised that I don't have one...

I started it, and had difficulty seeing and feeling it.  Offering to withdraw my membership from the "Lace is My Bitch" ravelry group, I restarted it, doubling the yarn.  Much better.  I can feel it and see it better now, which helps me know what my stitches are doing.

I'm not a huge fan of brown, but for this shawl it's only fair, and it will look smashing with a big turquoise pin, no?

Monday, February 7, 2011

PS Faroese Shawlette

PS Here's a better photo although not that great.  Heck, other than myself, the two staff photographers are just marginally willing teenaged boys...

I like this little shawl even better now that it's done being blocked...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Faroese Shawlette

Two years ago or so I bought a book by Myrna Stahman, Stahman's Shawls and Scarves.  Here's my result:

Faroese shawls have a clever shaping that keeps the shawl from falling off:  they have a center gusset with triangular side pieces. They are traditionally worked from the bottom up and may have long ends so as can be tied around the back.  A good book to check out on traditional construction of these shawls might be   Bundannaurriklaedid which is available from  Schoolhouse Press.   I don't have this book so can't specifically recommend it. Another example is found in one of my favorite books,  Nordic Knitting by Susanne Pagoldh, which includes directions for a garter lace Faroese shawl.

Of course, traditionally they are knit from the wool of Faroes sheep

which is one of the Northern European Short Tail Sheep. A landrace breed, genetically they are related to Old Norwegian and Icelandic breeds.  Natural colors are brown, black, gray, and creamy white.

Here is a map of the Faroe Islands. 

The Faroes are part of Denmark. 

In her book,  Myrna smartly conceived of a way to work this shawl form the top down, allowing one to stop wherever she wants to, with regards to length.  Her shawls also have some additional shoulder shaping.  I'm a lousy blocker and the photo above doesn't really show the proper shoulder shaping.

I worked hard on my shawl, the Barbara pattern, until a summer trip stopped my work on it, and on returning from Scotland my knitting motivations were elsewhere.  I found this particular lace to be a very hard one to memorize.

I decided recently that I should finish this project.  It wasn't too long, but I have also recently decided  that this shape of shawl might be a bit Grannyish looking and isn't really fitting in to my lifestyle.  Not that I don't love Grannies...but anyway, I decided to stop this as a shawlette.

Some words on this yarn;  this is Classic Elite Tapestry 2 ply.  I just love the stuff.  It's bouncy, springy, and crunchy, and great for lace:  a wool-mohair blend.  I bought several colors when I lived near Lowell MA, location of the Classic Elite outlet.  It is no longer being made.  What this yarn has taught me is that I really do love some mohair in yarn for lace as it adds crunch and dimension to lace patterns.  I will be looking forward to more lace knitting with what's left of the Tapestry 2 ply, and with other mohair yarns, including my handspun.