Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Lace is an Act of Faith

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been coming along on the lace for the garter. This isn't it, though; I just like to have something pretty at the top of my posts.

As I was experimenting with the cotton threads, something just didn't seem perfect. I decided I wanted to try making lace with silk thread. I couldn't find any knitting sources, so I ended up using silk embroidery thread. It is called "Soie Perlee", and I ordered it from Needle in a Haystack. (I've only dealt with them the one time, but I'm pleased with the service I received.) It's slightly thinner than #5 perle cotton.

I had it in my head that a fluted lace might look nice. There are a number of varieties of this (and I'll write about them eventually), but it is basically welts of stockinette and reverse stockinette worked the short way along the edging. It is generally worked with some short-rowing so one edge of it is shorter than the other and, as a result, the edging ruffles. It is more dense than most laces, however, and it was clear that I was not going to have enough thread. So I went looking for other patterns. And I found them!

The Ravelry store of Threads and Yarns of Pleasure has a series of edgings depicting hearts. Perfect for a wedding garter! I purchased two of the patterns, and started in right away with the simpler one, "Edging in Hearts and Lace", seen above. I was expecting to work on US 000 (1.5 mm) needles, but that was too hard, so I went up to US 00 (1.75 mm) and proceeded to work a few repeats.

My confidence thus bolstered, I started on the more difficult of the two, "Hearts in a Gathering". This is worked in short rows with a two stitch inner edge that is substantially shorter than the outer edge. You can see how it curves in the photo, but when it is pulled straight, the hearts are gently gathered. I blocked the first few repeats to make sure I liked it, and then kept going. As I said in the title, lace is an act of faith; the blocked section looks beautiful and the rest of it looks really hopeless. It's about 17" long now, so I don't have too much more to go. Then I'll get to block it into all its glory!

I'm enjoying working with the silk thread. It's not much harder to work with than cotton except when I've needed to tink. Any stitches that I missed getting back on the needle just went zoom rows and rows down. As a result, I've been using lifelines every 2.5 repeats; most of the strands at the top of the picture are just that.

I look forward to showing you the final result. Until then . . .

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

More Edgings!

There is no shortage of hits if you search the Internet for knit lace edgings. One of the best finds started out as a physical one, though.  The 1884 Lace Sampler blog documents one knitter's work to replicate the patterns in an 1800's composition book she found in an antiques store. Lucky her and, by extension, lucky us! She has provided us with instructions and charts for a substantial number of lace pattern stitches.

The swatch to the right is "Smyrna Lace". It's a garter stitch-based pattern, so it automatically lays flat. There is a "wrong" side, but it resembles the right side so closely that the pattern is pretty much reversible. My swatch is in #12 perle cotton on - - yup, neglected to write down the needle size again. It's either US 00 or US 000.  Be aware that there is an error in the chart: the leftmost double yarnover in Row 16 should be k2tog.

(By the way, you can find a completely different Smyrna Lace Edging at It's another site with about a zillion patterns to tempt you away from loading the dishwasher!)

The lace for the garter is coming along and I was actually going to post about that before this when fate intervened. My May/June Piecework, the annual lace issue, arrived. There is a brief article about a lace sampler book compiled by Mary Elizabeth Greenwall Edie in 1935 and given to the editors by her daughter. They don't seem to have updated or published most of the patterns, yet, but they gave a neat little teaser, the "as is" directions for "Lace No. 10". It didn't take long for me to make a chart (below) and work five repeats of the pattern. My completed piece is at top of the photo with a closeup below. I worked it #8 perle cotton on US 2 (2.75 mm) needles.

Chart For Lace No. 10
Until next time . . .