Sunday, June 26, 2011



I'm getting ready to tackle a project that has been waiting in the wings for a long time - the Orenburg Honeycomb lace scarf by Galina Khmeleva, published in Piecework Magazine (May/June 2010).

I started a swatch - mainly to see how the stitch pattern worked and if the needle size was appropriate. And I finally learned how to do a long-tail cast-on. From the photos and the chart, the honeycomb didn't look very difficult, but in her introduction to the pattern, Khmeleva notes that many of her students find this motif more challenging than the other basic elements of Orenburg-style knitted lace. This made me wonder what the other elements looked like, and I found some of them here, with a pretty interesting story to go with them, too.

I cast on using red Filatura di Crosa Centolavaggi, which is basically the laceweight version of Zara. This is the yarn I was always planning to use, but then I remembered some Knittery handpainted laceweight I've had stashed for years, and gave that a try. But the Centolavaggi is so nice, it's totally the winner.

And then I decided to keep going, turning the swatch into a kind of sampler. A messy, unbalanced one - not the kind that ends up in a museum 100 years later!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Felting for beginners


Here are some of the latest finished pears. I do have a few people waiting for some, but for now, while I build up a decent batch with a good choice of colours, they are decorating the coffee table.

I've also been sequinning again. I now have a delightful range of transparent colours and sizes. The loose sequins are also decorating the coffee table, and sometimes (oops) the carpet.


And I was tickled pink last week when I heard that as part of their summer Yarn Camp, Lancaster Yarn Shop, in Pennsylvania USA, wanted to run a workshop using my pod pattern. I was delighted to be asked and very happy to give my permission.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Can I buy another cheap Picasso fake?

I have some time off work and have been making lots of pears.

Moda Vera Mousse (70% wool, 30% soya) is good for felting and I tend to stock up each time I find it on special at Spotlight.
I was there last week, a frustratingly mistimed visit, as I must have missed the big yarn sale by a day or two. I did find a nice multipack of clear sequins - sequins are not just for Christmas - but I had thought I would be coming home with I scoured the shelves for something worthwhile. And I found what I thought was more Mousse in the perfect pear colour.
Although the price stickers did obscure the name of the yarn, I should have checked more carefully. A blend of acrylic and milk fibre? Not going to felt. This stuff looks and feels almost exactly like Mousse, but it is a totally different yarn, Chantilly. And I had knitted three pears with it before I realised. I'm glad I hadn't tried to felt them yet - I was able to unravel them and start again with the Mousse. Not sure what I will do with the two balls of Chantilly though. I'm thinking maybe a lacy cowl, though it's not a colour I would normally choose.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Over the hills where the spirits fly

A few years ago, I knit a big red scarf for my sister. Then it was stolen at a party. I had more of the wool (Cleckheaton studio mohair) and wanted to make a replacement, but she wouldn't let me, she said it wouldn't feel right. I still feel that another big scarf is due to her, when the time is right.
However, this one was for a friend's birthday. I had the idea to buy her a lovely hand made scarf, perhaps something woven. I looked around and couldn't find anything that was right. K thought I was being strange, why wouldn't I knit one instead? Partly it was because I was worried about timing, but then we ended up being late anyway and so I decided to take the time. And it actually was quite quick and very satisfying to knit.

My plan, such as it was, was to do the same basic concept as my sister's scarf (which I hope might be still making someone happy, preferably not the nasty thief though), a big chunk of lace in about 8ply. I tried using the same red mohair with a different lace pattern. It was working, though I found the chart really slow to work through. However, the main problem was that I wasn't sure about the colour and also the yarn - mohair is not for everyone.
Colour-wise, what I had in mind for her was a very deep dark blue. But when I saw this hand-painted Misti Alpaca Tonos Worsted at the Woolshed, I knew it would be great. And I hoped my sis would forgive me for going back to the Print o' the wave motif after all. It just seemed like a perfect match, those ocean-y tones with the wave lace pattern.
I had a hard time getting a good photo of the hand-painted colours ('Tealing Blue')- it looks a bit too light and blue, and I thought it had more green in it.
Isn't it difficult to discuss colours online? I always get a shock how much my photos can vary when seen on different screens.
The reason it was quick to knit was that it's only 54 stitches wide including the garter stitch border (on 6mm needles). Actually I think last time I didn't even do a border. I also did the whole scarf in one direction this time, I didn't think the grafting in the middle was worth it, especially as it is more likely to be wrapped casually around the neck as a scarf rather than draped formally with the waves cascading symetrically in each direction. Although my grafting skills have definitely improved since 2007, I seem to remember the pattern doesn't mesh perfectly together in the two different directions, anyway.
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