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.