Monday, 8 October 2012

Dainty Chevrons

In my book project, I plan to show different types of knitted laces. I had already Incorporated both Estonian and Shetland patterns (often in combination);  hairy and smooth shawls; with and without nobs. But I had no sheer shawls. A large part of the Shetland tradition with knitted laces is to make almost transparent laces which you may tread through a ring (so-called ring shawls). I just had to make one of these for my book.

I was a bit unsure about the pattern to chose for this shawl. I wanted something stylish and timeless. Often, ring-shawls have elaborate patterns. However, I wanted something simple and airy, in black, as a veil over a nice dress.

After searching my books, I found two patterns in Barara G. Walker's book series ”A treasury of knitting patterns” which may fit such a shawl. The patterns are called "Dainty Chevron" and "Daintier Chevron". It is really just one pattern. The difference between them is that in one, the pattern is knitted on both sides, whereas in the other, a round of plain knitting is included on the purl side.

The centre of the shawl is knitted in two halfs, and then sewn together to make the pattern symmetrical. Then the outer border is knitted on in a traditional Shetland way: where the border is knitted across and attached to the shawl by knitting the last stitch in the border together with the next stitch of the shawl. I chose a simple border from the book "Heirloom Knitting" by Sharon Miller. This pattern is knitted on both sides, which makes it very airy as well.

I used a very fine charcoal coloured merino wool yarn called "Fine merino", which I bought at "Purl soho". I also used this yarn for My first ring shawl. This yarn gives a very light shawl, and together with the fine lace pattern it made the shawl almost invisible.

This is a challenging shawl to knit because of the thin yarn and the very fine lace pattern, but I got the shawl I wanted in the end.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Thousands of blue anemones

I love walking in the forest during spring time, when the forest floor is covered by small flowers. In particular, I love when I am so lucky as to find blue anemones. In my search for simple patterns to make shawl patterns for my book project, I found this pattern that looks like a myriad of small flowers. I decided to use this pattern to make a shawl with thousands of small blue anemones.
Since this shawl was planned as a beginners shawl for my book, I chose a very simple lay out; with a flowery centre and an outer border. I have used this flower pattern in may of my other shawls, as the Lilac shawl, the Valentines day shawl and Wrapped in a pink cloud. This pattern is marginally more difficult to knit than the pattern in the Trellis shawl, as you need to be able to knit three stitches together symmetrically, but still easy enough to be feasible as the first shawl.

I found the outer border in Nancy Bush's book "Knitted Laces of Estonia". In Nancy Bush's book, this border is knitted in stockinette stitches, but I chose to knit them in gather stitches to add some structure.

The shawl is knitted in a lovely lace weight wool yarn from Rowan called  "Fine Lace". The yarn gives a relatively shiny wool shawl, which wraps heavy around the shoulders. The blue colour is a bit light for the blue anemones, but it was the closest mach I found in the store.

I chose a narrow shawl, as the lay out of the shawl was so simple, with not much variation in the pattern. It is a fast and easy shawl to knit, and I liked how it turned out in the end.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Learning to Tat

On a recent trip to Venice, I desided to learn how to tat. I had never tried it before, but had bought all nessesary equipment. I just needed the right soroundings to get in the mood and be inspired.

As far as I have understood, there are two different ways to tat: either by a shuttle or a needle. I had bought equipment for both, but I chose to start with the shuttle. I think this decision was based on the fact that among the shuttles I had purchased, there were some beautiful wooden ones with my name engraved. And I really wanted to try them out.

I found a very nice introductory book on tatting, with a CD course included. The book was called "Learn to Tat" by Conny Ellison. It was a good introductory book, and it did not take me too long before I could tat most of the projects in the book. The pictures you see is the production I had during my four day stay in Venice. That is, tatting is fast both to do and to learn.
I had problems finding equipment for tatting in my local craft stores, so I went online and found several good stores.  I ended up buying several things from this store. I also have to talk about David Reed Smith, who makes such lovely wooden shuttles. They are somewhat more expensive than plastic ones, but infinitely more beautiful.

If you like to try, do not hesitate. It is a bit unusual in the beginning, but you will soon get the hang of it. It is also fun to be able to make your own tatted laces for bunad shirts and other projects.

Monday, 17 September 2012

The Valentines day shawl

All girls love harts. However, I have only found a few knitted lace patterns of harts. The reason is probably that they are hard to knit. I have gathered what I have found for this shawl, which I have named the Valentines day shawl.

This shawl consists of a centre, which is knitted in two parts (sewn together), an inner and and outer boarder, which are knitted on afterwards. In the centre, I have chosen one of the most famous Estonian lace pattern, named the Greta Garbo pattern. On the outside of the Greta Garbo pattern in the centre, I have added a row of harts.

The Greta Garbo pattern was made for a shawl which was knitted for Greta Garbo. Most of the patterns dedicated to famous persons is given to them when they are visiting Estonia. Not this pattern. According to the story, the shawl was sent by mail to Greta Garbo (in Hollywood) in the hope that she would use it. It is a lovely pattern, which comes in many varieties. I chose this one, which I found in Nancy Bush's book "Knitted Laces of Estonia". 

I found the pattern for the harts surrounding the Greta Garbo pattern in one of my favourite blogs; A passion for lace. Monique, who is writing this blog, has made many lovely patterns, many of which are sold on Raverly. These harts are from the "Love on the Edge" shawl. Outside the row of harts, on the inner border, I have used a pattern which looks like a thousand small flowers. You may find this pattern on Monique's Love on the Edge shawl as well. You may also find it in Sharon Millers book ”Heireloom Knitting”. I have used this pattern several times, among others on the lilac shawl and wrapped in a pink cloud. The pattern for the outer border is also from Monique's shawl Love on the Edge. I used this pattern, as I thought the three circles looked like small harts.

The shawl is knitted in a bamboo yarn called Habu Textiles XS-6, 20/3 Bamboo. The skeins are incredibly large, containing almost 1400 yards on each skein. I used only 1/2 skein for this shawl. This bamboo yarn is shiny, slippery and firm, so the shawl falls pretty heavy around the shoulders. It also makes it difficult to knit the pattern evenly. In hindsight, it might not have been the best yarn to knit the row of harts in the centre with, as the slippery yarn makes the treads that holds the shape of the harts together slide back and forth. It was also pretty difficult to block. Well, you never know these things until afterwards.
This was a relatively difficult shawl to knit, both because of the yarn, the knobs and because the row of harts in the centre and the pattern on the outer border was knitted on both sides. But I am pretty pleased with the result.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Lilies of the Vally shawl

One of the most beloved patterns in the Estonian tradition of lace knitting is the 'Lillies of the Vally' pattern. There are numerous variations on this pattern, all with nobs on a bent stalk. I just had to make a shawl with a Lilies of the Vally pattern for my book project. I chose my absolute favourite among these patterns, and made this shawl.

It has a very simple and traditional design, with a centre with the Lilies of the Vally patter and a rounded outer border. I found both patterns in Nancy Bush's book "Knitted Laces of Estonia", but you may find this Lilies of the Vally pattern i many other books as well, e.g. in Siiri Reimanns book "The Haapsalu Shawl".

The shawl is knitted in "Fine Lace" from Rowan. It gives a smooth wool shawl which falls heavily around the shoulder. The colour is a light violet.

When you learn to knit the nobs, this is not a terribly difficult shawl to knit. However, there are some special stitches that needs to be mastered first.  The pattern is also relatively complex, so it takes some time to remember it all. But the end results is always very pretty, and the pattern becomes very beautiful after blocking.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Trellis shawl

When I started knitting laces, I could not find any book in Norwegian describing the tecniques. Thus, I have decided to write one, including all my own designs. Looking at them, I realiced that most of the patterns I had made required at least some experience knitting laces. Thus, I wanted to make some patterns for beginners as well.

I went through all my books to find some easy patterns. I found the winner in Barara G. Walker's book series ”A treasury of knitting patterns”, and it is called "Trellis". All you need to know to knitt this pattern is to knitt two stitches togeter (in both directions) and yarn over. The pattern consist of four sticthes and four rows. As simple as it gets.

For the outer border a used a rounded edging I found in Nancy Bush's book "Knitted Laces of Estonia". This edging require some consentration on the pattern, but the most complex stitch is to knitt tree stitches togeter.

The shawl is knitted in one of the yarns I bought on vacation in London last fall. It is from Haiku, and is called A-32B silk mohair kusa. It is a lovely mix of  silk and mohair. I didn't have much of this yarn, as I bought the last three skeins of that colour in the store. So I made the shawl narrow.
This shawl is increadably easy to knit, and will hopefully be a nice introduction to lace knitting for beginners. Even if it is easy to knit, I thought it turned out rather well. It has clean lines, is light and not too noisy with too many patterns going on at the same time, as many of these shawls have a tendency to have. Some times plain and simple is the most pretty.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Rock carvings on Tweed

One of my favourite places from my childhood is a big stone with 3000 year old rock carvings. It is located in a field at Penne on the Lista peninsula on the southern tip of Norway, with a view strait out onto the ocean.

Sheep are gracing in the field, and the landscape is flat and sloping upwards towards Nordberg, where an old stone monument is situated. There are about ten ships and a couple of sacrificial pits on the rock. It is always blowing a cold wind out there.

On Nordberg Fort, above the stone, there is a museum where your children may make a print of the rock carvings based on some reproductions. I have to admit that it was I, and not my daughter, that did the drawings last time we visited the museums. The taught was to give the prints to my sister in law, who likes to paint rock carvings on T-shirts. However, this time it was me who needed the drawings.

This spring, my local yarn shop took in some new types of yarn, among them from Rowan. They started to sell two types of tweed. I used one of them, Rowan Tweed, for this jacket. When I was standing in the store with this yarn in my hands, I knew that it belonged in a cardigan to wear when hiking at Penne.

So I made this jacked. I chose a long ribbed border both on the arms and on the bottom of the jacket. The neck line may either be worn as an open or a high-necked collar, depending on the weather. Also, I was fortunate enough to find wooden buttons in exactly the same colour as the yarn.

 On the back, I embroidered one of the ships from the rock carvings at Penne. The embroidery is made by couture stitches, and the pattern was transferred to the jacket by tulle and a fabric pen. 
The boat looked a little lonely, so I decided to sew some waves and a sacrificial pit as a sun as well. The embroideries are made in a dark brown-purple colour, also in Rowan Tweed. Now, it only remains to bring this jacket with me the next time I visit my father at Lista.

Monday, 6 August 2012

The Lilac shawl

I love lilacs; their leafs, flowers and sent. When the lilacs blossom at my cabin or at home, I become happy and glad. So, when I found a pattern that reminded me of small lilac flowers, I just had to knit a lilac shawl.

For the centre of the shawl, I used the pattern resembling the small lilac flowers. Unfortunately, it's hard to see from the pictures. This is a commonly used pattern, and you can find it in many books, among them Sharron Miller's book "Heirloom Knitting", where the pattern is called"Small leaf". I Sharon Miller's book, the pattern is knitted in gather stitches. However, I wanted to knit it in plain knitting.

For the inner border, I used a pattern called Lilac leaf. This is a traditional Estonian pattern, and you may find it in Nancy Bush's book "Knitted Laces of Estonia". For the outer border I chose a rounded edging, which I also found in Nancy Bush's book.

The shawl is knitted in a lace weight yarn from Rowan called "Fine Lace". It gives a somewhat glossy wool shawl which falls heavily around the shoulders. The colour is somewhat dark and not really red enough for the lilac flower, but it was the closest that I could find in my local yarn store.
These are easy patterns to knit. The largest challenge knitting this shawl was to keep track of where one pattern ended and the next started, but with some markers it was easy enough. These are fun patterns to knit, both for novices and more experienced lace knitters.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Wraped in a pink cloud

When I was in London last fall, I found a beautiful yarn from Haiku called A-32B silk mohair kusa. Unfortunately, they only had some leftovers left. I bought everything where they had enough of the same colour for an entire shawl. They also had two lovely pink shades, but not enough of each to make an entire shawl. Thus, I decided to make a shawl with different shades of pink on the centre and the outer border.

For this shawl, I used a twig pattern I found in Siiri Reimann's book "The Haapsalu Shawl". This is a classical Estonian pattern, and you can find it in almost every book on this subject. For the outer border, I chose a rounded border from Nancy Bush's book "Knitted Laces of Estonia". This is the same pattern I used for the Weeping willow shawl.

This is an easy shawl to knit. The reason why I did not make it any lager, is that I did not have more yarn left. But I thought that it would be perfect for a little girl wanting to wrap herself in a pink cloud.

Monday, 25 June 2012

The Day flower shawl

This shawl I have called the Day flower shawl, as the motif in the centre of the shawl is of a small Chinese herb called the Day flower (Commelina communis in Latin). This herb has some lovely small blue flowers (see picture). I really love this pattern, and it is one of my favourites.
 I found this pattern in Barara G. Walker's book series ”A treasury of knitting patterns”. The pattern is called ”Dayflower”. The pattern in the inner boarder is called ”English lace”, and I found it in the same book. I composed the pattern in the outer border myself, based on a small flower motif I found in Siiri Reimann's book "The Haapsalu Shawl".
The centre and the inner boarder is knitted in two equal parts, and sewn together in the back of the shawl.  After the two halfs are sewn together, the outer border is knitted on. This makes the shawl symmetrical. For this shawl I used a beautiful mohair yarn, which I found on my trip to London last fall. The yarn is soft and elastic, and it fills in the pattern. This is important to make the Day flower pattern look good.

This shawl is relatively difficult to knit. Even after knitting a considerable number of lace shawls, I still had to concentrate when making this shawl. The reason was because the number stitches changed across the rows of this patter, making it difficult to remember and hard to block out afterwards, as some rows had considerably fewer stitches than others. It is however this change in the number of stitches that makes the beautiful arches in the stem of the flower. Thus, even if it is a bit hard to make, it is absolutely worth wile the effort.

Also the English lace is a bit of a challenge to knit, as the pattern is also knitted on the purl side. These are not the patterns you chose the first time you knit lace shawls, but if you are experienced and want a challenge, they are worth all the effort.