on Mar 16th, 2010Marianne Kinzel’s Lace Primula Doily Becomes A Shawl

Lace Knitting Book by Marianne KinzelMarianne Kinzel’s First Book of Modern Lace Knitting was the last book that I bought at The Point last March before it went out of business. The book is a great resource of lace patterns with BOTH instructions and charts. It has an introduction to lace knitting including doilies which shows step by step photographs of how to start and read the patterns.

I’ve been looking (read drooling) at Marianne Kinzel’s lace doily patterns for almost a year debating which one to make into a shawl. Now that I’ve finished the Mommes Lysedug, I am going to make the Primula Lace Coffee Cloth as a shawl. DailyFibreKnit’s wedding shawl helped push me to the decision. The Primula design is very open and lacy.

In part, I want to test out the Sheep Shop Wensleydale 4 ply Longwoolthat I bought from Flying Fibers at the May 2009 MDSW. I have four skeins of 186 yards each in a deep charcoal grey. Since grey is a big color this spring, it will make a wonderful accessory.

The Wensleydale yarn has a wonderful sheen although to my sensitive skin it feels a bit scratchy. Therefore, I want to knit with this wool with its wonderful sheen before this year’s MDSW to see whether I want to buy more at MDSW. This English yarn from Yorkshire doesn’t give any indication of needle size. For Americans, 4 ply translates to fingering weight which is similar to a thin sock yarn. Since I want to make a shawl, I’m using size 8 needles.

Fingering Weight - Wensleydale Wool from Flying Fibers

Primula Coffee Cloth as Circular Shawl from First Book of Modern Lace Knitting

Marianne Kinzel’s Primula Doily has 90 rows which a few knitters on Ravelry have extended. Looking at the chart it will be a challenge to do so but I am willing to test my charting abilities if I have extra yarn to knit. It starts with eight repeats and increases to sixteen repeats as the lace grows.  An eight repeat lace pattern is good for three needles since you divide the patterns into 3-3-2 across the needles making it easy to tell which is the third needle.

Happy knitting, Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

on Mar 14th, 2010Blocking Oxblood Mommes Lysedug Shawl

To block my Oxblood Mommes Lysedug Shawl, I soaked it in cold water and hair conditioner (yes you read that correctly!) for at least a half hour. Based on the comments on Ravelry about the Madeline Tosh superwash merino laceweight, I was concerned that the finished piece wouldn’t grow the way most lace does. In a way, this was funny since I often knit shawls using sock yarn which is superwash or at least has some acryllic in it to prevent shrinkage.

I pinned the circular Mommes Lysedug shawl free form by following the lines from the various lace points. I measured 21 inches from the center point all the way around.  About half way through I ran out of pins and Mr. Husband had to locate some in an old sewing box. Since I used two towels to block the piece, I pinned them together at the seam and taped them to the wood floor to keep them in place.

Before washing, the Mommes Lysedug shawl measured about 24 inches in diameter. After pinning, the lace doily measured 42 inches across from point to point. After removing the pins, the circular lace shawl shrank slightly to about 38 inches. The lace grew over 50% in diameter, although not as much as other materials. There is still stretch in the finished material. I was happy since I wanted a shawl to cover my shoulders and be more than a lace collar.

For lace knitting, I prefer a material that will retain its blocked state rather than shrinking back. At the time that I bought the Tosh Lace, I didn’t realize this. In the future, I would take it into consideration. While I liked the Oxblood colorway, I wish that there was more of a pattern to the dying. I found the dark purples and blacks made reading the lace more difficult. Given the price for laceweight merino, I was underwhelmed with the yarn. The colors are wonderful as is the feel of the yarn but they didn’t perform well for the purpose of knitting lace.

Despite my issues with the yarn, I love the piece although I could have done a better job of pinning the points.

Here are some photographs to give you an idea of how it looks. I strongly recommend this lace project.

Mommes Lysedug - Madeline Tosh Lace Weight Superwash Merino

Center Detail from Oxblood Mommes Lysedug Shawl

Pinned border of Mommes Lysedug Lace Shawl in Tosh Lace

on Mar 13th, 20105 Suggestions to Help Knit Mommes Lysedug Lace

Mommes Lysedug Lace in Madeline Tosh Laceweight Superwash MerinoI finally finished my Mommes Lysedug lace scarf! Mind you, it took me almost an hour to do the bind off!

Having  done a lot of comparisons across circular shawls and doilies, I thought that it would use most of the 950 yards of the Oxblood colored Madeline Tosh superwash merino lace weight wool that I bought at Stitches East in Hartford last October.  Yet, I had 1 1/2 ounces of yarn left after knitting the  111 pattern rows, one additional row of plain knitting and an elastic bind off.

My lace doily/scarf measured about 22 inches across using a size 5 needle.

Here are my 5 recommendations for knitting the Mommes Lysedug Doily:

  1. Chart the pattern row by row since the pattern doesn’t use matching decreases. One member of Ravelry recommended this change for the flower at the center. If you like your lace knitting to be balanced, you’ll need the chart for this pattern. Once you write the chart out, then check that the decreases are balanced for the leaves embedded in the design.
  2. Count the number of stitches per section. This doily pattern consists of 10 sections. Within each section, the lace pattern may repeat. To minimize ripping out your work, I suggest counting the number of stitches per section. This way you are sure that your knitting is on track.
  3. Check the number of stitches per section after each row since it’s very easy to drop or add a YO. Counting ensures that your stitches are consistent and saves time trying to fix missed stitches.
  4. Add a last row of plain knitting (this would be row 112).
  5. Use an elastic bind off. If you knit tightly, I suggest going up a couple of sizes in needle. I used a knit 2 stitches, move these two stitches back to the left needle and knit them together.  *Then knit another stitch, move these two stitches back to the left needle and knit them together.* Pull the yarn through the last stitch.

Please note that this photograph is before soaking and blocking.

It’s a fun knit once you get the hang of it and start to see the pattern building.

For more information, please check out my earlier post.

Happy knitting, Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

on Mar 9th, 2010Magenta Frosted Diamonds Shawl Blocked


Magenta Frosted Diamonds Shawl - Lace

Magenta Frosted Diamonds Shawl in Cascade Quatro

I finally blocked my Magenta Frosted Diamonds Lace Shawl. Unfortunately, my shawl was more of a rectangle than four sides of a pentagon like the schematic in Stephanie Japel’s Knitty.com pattern.

Despite the slight deviation from the pattern, I decided not to re-block it. It took me a while to get the sides straightened out since I decided to forgo using my blocking wires.

What do you think?

on Mar 5th, 2010Shirley Paden Introduces Her New Book

New York City knitters lined up outside the Lion Brand Studio to hear Shirley Paden introduce her new book, Knitwear Design Workshop. It’s a wonderful compendium that walks would be designers and knitters who want to learn about the design process to help them knit better fitting garments through her knitwear design process. Shirley Paden who made a career shift to being a knitwear designer gives readers insights into the craft.

Shirley Paden  wore an airy white lace mohair shawl based on traditional Shetland patterns over a basic black dress as she gave a visual tour of her garments through the years. What struck me was how generous she was to her students whose work now peppers the pages of Vogue Knitting and Interweave.

Many of the knitters who helped her with this project were on hand and received warm applause to thank them for their work.

A few of the pieces in the book were on view and definitely not for the new knitter.

Detailed Knitting Designs from Shirley Paden's Knitwear Design Workshop

Samples from Shirley Paden's Knitwear Design Workshop Book

While the book comes with a higher than average price tag, I’m sure that you’ll agree that this book is well worth adding to your knitting book collection.

Happy knitting, Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

on Feb 27th, 2010More Antique Lace Doily Knitting-Mommes Lysedug

Mommes Lysedug Doily on double pointed needlesWhile I promised myself that I wouldn’t allow knitting UFOs to accumulate this year, the fact that my 40″ Hiya Hiya circular needles broke was a great excuse for starting a new project. I have wanted to make a lace shawl from the Madeline Tosh Lace Superwash Merino that I bought from Webs at Stitches East last November. The oxblood colored merino is a  mix of black and purple that that any New Yorker could love.

After going through various searches on Ravelry for knitted lace doilies, I decided to make the Mommes Lysedug. Several knitters made this antique lace knit doily into blankets.

The free pattern translated from Danish contains 110 rows of verbal instructions although no charts. Based on the completed projects on Ravelry, I am guessing with my fingers crossed that the 950 yards of Madeline Tosh lace merino is sufficient to complete this wonderful doily.

I test knitted a small swatch to determine the optimal size needles. My goal was to ensure that the lace would stand out while allowing the piece to be as big as possible. I finally decided to use size 5 needles despite the fact that my size 5 double pointed needles were metal making them very slippery.

My one concern was that Ravelers noted that the Madeline Tosh superwash lace weight merino springs back to its original shape. Since I’ve knit lots of shawls and scarves from superwash sock yarn, I have learned that wet blocking helps get the piece to show off the beauty of the lace. If the lace is only big enough to act like a lace collar that is fine with me.

The Mommes Lysedug pattern is unusual in that it starts with 5 stitches which is a very small amount. After over an hour of playing with 5 stitches and 4 needles, I decided to start with 10 stitches since the pattern doubles the number of stitches in the second row. This worked like a charm for starting the pattern.

Wish me luck!

Editor-in-Chief of Knitted Yarns

PS: For more insights on the Oxblood Mommes Lysedug click here.

on Feb 25th, 2010Knitting Needle Crisis – Hiya Hiya Circulars Break Mid-project!

Kauna holds knitting despite broken circular knitting needleAs readers of this blog know, I love knitting with circular knitting needles because the are easy to pack in your bag, keep the stitches in place, and don’t poke the person sitting next to you on the subway (where I do a lot of knitting). Unfortunately, if the circular needles break mid-project, you can have a big problem. This is the main reason that I stopped knitting with my set of interchangeable Densies; they kept coming apart midstream.

I have been working on the Delia Revontuli Shawl on my 40″ Hiya Hiyas. I bought them to make the mobius back in November. I selected the Hiya Hiyas since they didn’t contain nickel (to which I am allergic), they had good points, and they were about half the price of the Addis.

When I take my project out of its bag, I realize that the metal needle is no longer attached to the plastic cord. There is about 2 inches of shawl where there are live stitches floating in the air unmounted from the needle. The only bright point to this situation is the fact that I am using Kauni which is a rough yarn that sticks to itself. While this makes it difficult to unravel, it is keeping my shawl in place. I am very disappointed because I liked the Hiya Hiya needles and I have only made three projects with these needles.

I am going to contact Hiya Hiya and see whether they will make good and replace these needles.

PS- I called Hiya Hiya and they said to send the needles back and they would replace them if they broke due to their fault. Of course, it will cost me to send them back and the broken needles have allowed me to move onto other projects.

Happy knitting! Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

on Feb 19th, 2010City Bakery Night of Knitting & Hot Chocolate

Knitters line up for Hot Chocolate & Knitting - NYCHow can you go wrong with a combination of Knitting & Hot Chocolate? If you’re a knitting chocoholic, you don’t have to even ask. So when I heard about the City Bakery Night of Knitting and Hot Chocolate on Thursday, February 18th, I signed up right away.

In typical New York style, knitters were out in force lined up down West 18th Street waiting for the doors to open. There were six different kinds of hot chocolate promised in addition to a variety of bite size chocolate inspired desserts so that you could taste them all without feeling guilty. (Of course, dinner was served and included a number of comfort foods such as fried chicken and mac and cheese. For me, these options paled compared to the desserts.)

Not to be out done, a number of New York Yarn Stores offered mini-classes inspired by hot chocolate from marshmellow hats to cupholders. Participants could bring their own supplies or buy a small kit.

Ready to knit a marshmellow?

Marshmellow decorations at Chocolate and Knitting NYC

Chocolate and Knitting Desserts

Spinning Circle at Hot Chocolate and Knitting

Since no party is complete without favors and this festivity was no exception. There were Knitty City totes filled with knitting goodies and chocolate chocolate chip cookies.

Happy knitting, Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

on Feb 15th, 2010Happy Valentine’s Day in Cake

I couldn’t resist sharing a few edible valentine’s treats to celebrate the occasion. While it may not be as satisfying as eating them, it’s a LOT less calories!

Calorie Packed Valentine

Chocolate Filled Bite

Heart full of chocotale

Photographs (c) 2010 Knitted Yarns – all rights reserved

on Feb 12th, 2010Why I am not joining the 2010 Ravelympics

Knitting Olympics 2010Having watched the 2006  Winter Knitting Olympics run by the Yarn Harlot and the 2008 Summer Ravelympics run by Ravelry, I considered joining this year’s Ravelympics. I really wanted to be part of a larger knitting community activity.

Of late, I have been making (and finishing) smaller projects that can be completed in a couple of weeks such as smaller shawls and gaunlets. I thought that a small shawl like Bitterroot might make a good choice, especially since the pale teal Swan Island sock yarn that I bought last summer at Halcyon would be a perfect match.

When I mentioned this to Mr. Husband, he objected which is unusual for him, especially when it comes to my knitting. His reasoning was that my knitting was an area of my life that was supposed to be stress free and participating in a time bound challenge, unlike a complex shawl or sweater pattern, would add stress where there shouldn’t be any.

Since I am about one third of the way through my Frost Diamonds shawl based on my yarn usage and had to start my Ruched Neck Warmer earlier this week, I decided that he had a valid point. Therefore, I hope to finish these two small projects before the end of the Olympics. It’s my own non-competitive version of the Ravelympics. While it lacks some of the fanfare, it hopefully makes up for it with less stress.

Watching the opening Olympics ceremony, I felt a bit wistful but, as I slowly added rows to my Magenta Frost Diamonds, I knew that it was the best thing for my peace of mind.

I wish all of you who are participating the best of luck as I watch from the knitting sidelines as the games begin. Please leave me links in the comments if you want me to follow your progress.

Submitted by Knitted-Yarns Editor-in-Chief