Friday, January 28, 2011

The Queen's Whiskers

That is how Mary read the title of the previous post and I've been chuckling over it ever since.
Indeed there were whiskers in the form of ends that had to be woven in.
The first one is done and after a nice little soak the yarn is much softer and not at all unpleasant against the skin. I'm still not sure it would be my first choice, but I have an idea that it would make very sturdy and long-lasting projects.
This is another project that I'm making just for the fun of it. I don't find wristers quite as practical for me as I do the longer, fingerless mitts. Still I suppose in a really cold climate they might come in very handy to bridge any gap between sleeve and glove.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Queen's Wristers

I've had a hard time settling on a project since finishing the little lace bag.

January is always such a hectic time at work. Can I just blame it on that? Thanks.

I started a bit of lace for a bag edging but it was working up rather larger than I liked and then I dropped a stitch. Toss.

I cast on for that mitered heart sachet from Interweave. I'd link but the pattern seems to no longer be available. It had a backward loop cast on. Yuck. I think I did two rows. Toss.

I started a large lace stole with lovely yarn I bought at last year's Stitches South. I almost finished the wee little edging that is only 6-11 stitches wide. I still like it... but I put it aside.

Everything just seemed way too hard. So it is a real puzzle to me how I've landed on stranded colorwork and using yarn I don't even particularly enjoy! Ah, sweet mysteries of life.

I'm blaming Paula over at the Knitting Pipeline podcasts. That Ravelry group is starting a Norwegian knitalong. Paula is knitting a sweater, but, even though it is right chilly around the cul-de-sac this winter, I know a stranded colorwork sweater is WAY too warm for here even if I was up to sweater knitting (which I am not).

So that is how I ended up with Rose Wristers. I'm knitting a pair of wristers, or pulsewarmers, from the book I got Christmas 2009. So far at least, my inner Norwegian is happy.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A nibble of Niebling

Pattern: A Herbert Niebling-Inspired Lace Bag
by Mary Frances Wogec
"Piecework" May/June 2010

Thread: Lizbeth by Handy Hands
Size 20 - 100% Egyptian Cotton 6 ply
Color 684-Leaf Green Lt.
210 yds/25 gr - less than 1 ball

Needles: Size 0 Inox dpns

Size: 5-1/4" x 7"

This, readers, was true stringPLAY. I cannot begin to describe how pleased I am with this bag even though I may never really use it. Since the whole project, not counting the price of the fabulous magazine, came in around $4, I'd say that USE is completely immaterial. JOY is another matter. It brings me joy just to see it when I walk past.

The pattern was a challenge and a delight. It really helped that I had two snow/ice days to stay home with the pattern and thread.

Mary Frances Wogec designed the bag to give knitters practice with many of the stitches used by Herbert Niebling in his designs. Her accompanying article, "Herbert Niebling, Grand Master of Lace Knitting", points out that his most notable designs feature botanically accurate flower and leaf forms worked against a mesh background and resemble true needle and bobbin lace.

She has edited, revised, and provided a full English translation of a book of his designs. A number of his designs were included in Anna magazine, a German publication (also available in English translation). Although I have several issues, I do not have the June 1986 issue that contains the pattern for "Lyra", which is perhaps his most famous design. It has since been republished as a single pattern leaflet available through Lacis and other sellers.

This thread was a dream to use. I have used it for tatting, but this was a first time with knitting. I worked on dpns and there was a break between the center petal on the large flower (same front and back) that showed a bit of laddering as I worked. I soaked it as usual and blocked on a couple of paperback books wrapped in sandwich bags. While wet I just nudged the those stitches into place and the slight laddering completely disappeared.

I don't know that I'm ready for a large full-on Niebling design, but this little nibble was delicious.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Got Life?

I've mentioned before how very much I enjoy The Knitting Pipeline podcasts that Paula produces. If you are at all interested, you should give her a listen. You can listen directly from your computer if you do not want to download to another device.

I tend to run at least an episode behind, but I actually prefer to because that way I always know there is another podcast ready whenever I want to listen.

So it was that I only just today during my morning walk listened to her Episode 27 entitled "Knitting is my Passion" in which she discusses a reaction a friend had to one of her latest projects, a knitted and beaded shawl. The friend told her she needed to Get a Life.

I loved Paula's insightful comments on the topic. Specifically she commented that the things people are passionate about are often mysterious to others. Amen!

Only a few like-minded friends from lace club and people I've met through blogs understand my fascination with string and handwork. For most of my life I've encountered at best nodding acceptance. Most of the time I knew the person seeing something I produced thought I was more than a bit eccentric for spending so much time on something so tedious and, to their way of thinking, inconsequential.

I understand. I do. I fully realize that I do not need nor have much practical use for a lace bag or vintage baby bonnet. But it isn't about practicality is it? It is about passion. The pursuit of a pleasurable activity.

I mean some people love to cook. Or play sports. Or watch sports. Or dress up like superheroes.

Really, when you think of it, playing with string isn't so odd after all.

What's a post without a picture? There was a tiny, tiny bit of crochet at the top edge of my bag. That, and seeing a photo on Ravelry of a lovely curtain, got me thinking again of filet crochet and I've had my book out looking through it again. I've never tried it.

I doubt I get to it any time soon. But if you'd like to give it a go, there's a free pattern for this lovely edging over at Piecework.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Karen's hat

I thought the hat, so briefly mentioned in the previous post, deserved a better picture.

My little lace bag is finished, but only with a temporary lining. I made the lining with some plain cotton that I had on hand just to check the directions and give a contrast for a photo. The cotton is too stiff for the purpose, so I suppose it is not technically finished until I get a proper lining sewn in.

The mind moves on,however, and I've decided it's time to call it quits on the Lacy Leaves Shawl. Not a thing wrong with the pattern, I just didn't make a good match of yarn to it.

I love the Brooks Farm yarn and it deserves a better life. Hopefully I can get the yarn ripped and rewound. But what to make with it? The yarn is such a lovely dark green that I still want something with leaves.

I haven't yet watched episode 2 of "Downton Abbey". Mary has and tells me to keep an eye out for a plum dress that Elizabeth McGovern wears.

And friend, Barbara, mentioned having a book on Downton lace.

Paring down the colors to just ecru, here's picture of one of my favorite characters in the "DA" series, Isobel Crawley played by Penelope Wilton.

Lovely gloves. Of course, I immediately thought of the Nancy Bush pattern in a previous "Piecework". Not the same, but .....

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Black and ecru

Did you catch the first episode of Masterpiece Classic "Downton Abbey"? Period costumes. Maggie Smith! Oh, my. You have to look closely, but that's a lovely little reticule Elizabeth McGovern as Cora is holding.

I love everything about this picture; the way the curlicues of the wrought iron echo the heavy passementerie on Cora's costume, her lack of shoes, Hugh Bonneville's expression and casual seating.

It got me to thinking about a few other movie costumes in black and ecru that I love.

My first would be Scarlett O'Hara's New Orleans honeymoon dress.
There is some major rickrack on that one.

When I see this costume I think of Scarlett saying of Mammy "She said we could give ourselves airs and get ourselves all rigged up like we were race horses but we were just mules in horse harness and we didn't fool anybody. "

A mule in horse harness! I feel like that sometimes.

And my favorite of all time, the wedding ensemble Meryl Streep playing Karen Blixin wore in "Out of Africa".

The hat alone is amazing.

And that stand-up collar.

There was another black and ecru costume that she wears a bit earlier in that film.

Black and ecru.
Just a classic combination, don't you think?

All this musing made me remember a different piece of Hardanger that I worked years ago. The pattern showed it worked in traditional ecru on ecru as the one I'm currently working. I decided I wanted to try it with black on ecru.

I did all the embroidery, but never made it up into the needlework pocket as intended by the pattern. I wasn't happy at all with embroidery. Part of the beauty with Hardanger, to my eye, is how the light is reflected by the various angles of the pearl cotton. I didn't think about how black absorbs light.

Maybe if we'd had this ice back when I was working on it. Thank goodness black absorbs light - and heat. It helps the ice melt faster on the roadways and parking lots!

But all this does have me rethinking the piece. I wonder if I could possibly remember or unearth the pattern and finishing directions?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Trying hard to recreate what has yet to be created*

Things moved a little faster when I was able stay home with my string. I haven't made as much progress now that the roads are passable (barely) and I'm back at work.

The flower and leaves on the bag are complete and I am in the top portion of just that mesh. I have no idea if this stitch has a name or not. Honeycomb maybe?

I do know it has double yarnovers and at one point I dropped a stitch and maybe a couple of those yarnovers and had a really hard time getting back up. It happened on a side between a couple of the needles. It doesn't show in this picture and I am hoping, really hoping, that after it is blocked it will not be very noticeable. It isn't like I'm going to be carrying this thing over my wrist every day!

I hope over the weekend I can finish up the bag and get started on the drawstrings. They have a leaf at each side. I can hardly wait. Truly.

*know the song?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Doesn't look like the lacy green bag does it?

I made it through round 83 on Monday evening and noticed a mistake. I wrote myself a reminder note for the next morning, but awoke with a little soreness in the wrist. I decided it was better to give it a rest than risk really irritating it, so I threaded a needle instead and started a Hardanger project.

I've been wanting to work some again and just last week pulled out all my books and patterns and looked them over. I'm ashamed that this is linen and thread that I bought ages ago (Aug. 2008!) and am just now doing something with it.

I must say that I have treasured the two days of forced isolation that the weather gave me. I've really relaxed and enjoyed longer stretches of time with my needlework. And, just because it made me happy, I tied that bit of green ribbon from a Christmas present around the top of the little mushroom jar that I'm using for my orts. Cheery.

I slowly made it in to work today. Too bad I didn't think to take my camera. Even though the 2010 ABC-along is over, I would have liked to show you the gazebo in the square with a layer of ice atop.

Instead, here's a photo from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, taken Monday at the Marietta National Cemetery (from the C post last February).

Brrrr! It's cold here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Project 13 - a bloom amid the snow

This little lace bag has proven the perfect New Year project keeping me quite entertained during the busy return to work and now the quiet day at home due to weather.

The weatherman predicted it well and snow began last night, lovely soft benign snow to precede the freezing rain and sleet that followed.

Outgoing Governor declared a state of emergency and canceled all of today's nonessential Inaugural activities. [This will not affect me. grin]

Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding cake.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Project 13 - leaves emerge

For a chart-loving knitter this little bag pattern has it all.

Here it is on row 40 or so - out of 110 and you can begin to see the lower leaves emerging. I'm just to the very base of the large central flower. Each side started out with 48 stitches; 96 total and stayed fairly close to that number as I inched into the leaves, but now I'm up to 77 per side. The project photo shows it as having straight sides so I'm guessing this 77 will quite soon reduce back down in that flower section.

Interesting knitting that's for sure! And I did dash out after work on Friday for another ball of thread. You can see I'm eating it up pretty quickly.

Back when I first saw the pattern and thought about knitting it, I never considered a green. I hadn't planned on white, like the cover photo either. There's a gorgeous on one Ravelry in a lovely blue. So far, however, I'm quite liking the leaf green.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Project 13

Knitting continues on the Lacy Leaves Shawl, but I wanted to start something new.

Truthfully I'm a bit worried about the shawl. I'm not too far from the end of the pattern and it just isn't as wide as I'd like for it to be. I could easily continue the section I'm working now by just increasing the number of repeats, but I haven't decided if that is what I want to do. At any rate it has reached the stage where it is travel knitting. A little bulky perhaps, but an easy repeat to knit.

So what did I choose? The little lace bag from the cover of the May/June 2010 "Piecework" magazine, the fabulous lace issue.

When I went to add it to Ravelry , I discovered it was the 13th project. Good thing I'm not superstitious.

I'm using Lizbeth cotton thread in size 20 - color 684 Leaf Green-Lt. I have one ball and it may very well take two, but I thought I'd see how I got on with the pattern. It was a bit of a rocky start for me.

If you're wondering what I want with the bag or what I intend to use it for if I get it finished, put your mind at ease. I have NO idea. That's hardly the point with stringplay.

And speaking of "Piecework", the Jan/Feb 2011 issue is the 5th annual historical knitting issue.
Lots of good stuff. Have I mentioned lately that I LOVE Piecework?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


make your own here

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome 2011