Posts Tagged ‘lace knitting’

Want to be Inspired?

Thursday, May 26th, 2016
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Do you have a knitter in your life who consistently amazes and inspires you? Someone who tackles challenging projects and actually finishes them on a timely basis? As Store Manager, I’m fortunate to get to know lots of WEBS customers and their work. Sometimes I’m so impressed that I ask them to be sample knitters for the store. I’d like to introduce you to one of these ladies today. Her name is Susan Drew and if you’ve been in the store and admired one of our samples, there’s a good chance that she knit it.

Susan and I have had many occasions to talk and when I hit on the idea of featuring some of our customers and their beautiful work as an occasional feature of my blog posts, I immediately thought of her. Susan is one of the smartest, accomplished and conscientious knitters I know. We sat down a couple of weeks ago to talk about her knitting life.

Customer project spotlight on the WEBS Blog at

Clockwise from top left: Russian Medallion Shawl by Inna Voltchkova(Piecework Sept/Oct 2015) in JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18, Curry. Kowhai and Fern Shawl by Margaret Stove from Wrapped in Lace in Juniper Moon Farm Findley, White. Daydreams in Lace by Brooke Nico(Knitter’s Magazine 100, Fall 2010) in Jojoland Ballad, Coffee Beaded Diamond Shawl by Catherine Devine in Schaefer Yarn Company Andrea Beaded Wedding Purse by Susan Rainey in Red Heart Fashion Crochet Thread (size 5), Silver This shawl was knit by my mother in the early 1960’s. I do not know the name of the pattern or yarn.


Like many of us, Susan’s mother taught her to knit at the age of eight. After a 20 year hiatus (during which she worked and raised a family), Susan picked up the craft again, exploring a new world of fibers, teaching herself new techniques, attending Stitches conventions, and enrolling in our WEKP program five years ago. After some initial difficulty with a complicated lace shawl using 100% silk yarn, she realized two things: she was intrigued by lace knitting and, lace was not the type of knitting she’d be able to do for the rest of her life (fine yarn and tiny charts!). Susan wanted to create a collection of exquisite knits to pass on to future generations who would wear them and appreciate the art and craft of knitting.

Susan has built her Heirloom Collection around projects that she loves the most. A stole that her mother knit was the piece that launched her Collection. She is drawn to traditional lace from around the world and is intrigued by the stories behind the designs, particularly Estonian and Russian creations. She’s even made her peace with nupps using bamboo needles that she sharpens herself! Susan credits Ravelry as a research tool for upcoming projects and as a means of communication with other knitters and designers world-wide. A portion of Susan’s Heirloom pieces are featured in the photos here. All knit with luxurious fibers, being able to appreciate them in person was a real treat.

I join Susan in her belief that knitting is one of the most rewarding things that we do. Knowing that we’ve used our own hands to make something unique is a pleasure that all crafts people share. We are all very privileged in perpetuating a centuries-long art and making it our own.

If you know of knitters or crocheters who inspire you, drop me a note.  I’d love to share their work here.

Knit away!

Tuesday’s Knitting & Crochet Tip – How to Block Lace with Blocking Wires

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
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If you’ve ever knit or crocheted lace before, your finished project can look like a crumpled mess when it’s done. It doesn’t really come to life until you’ve blocked it. Blocking is where the magic happens.

You can see in the photo to the right that my Shetland Trader Aestlight Shawl before blocking is oddly shaped. The points are curled, and the Bird’s Eye lace pattern doesn’t pop like it should.

After blocking, the top of the shawl is flat, the points are crisp, and the Bird’s Eye lace really opens up. The shawl fabric also becomes much more drapey and the yarn (Valley Yarns Charlemont) is even softer after blocking.

If you’ve ever pinned out a lace shawl or scarf to block, you may have found it frustrating pinning, adjusting, repinning to get your project to be the size and shape you want. You can use blocking wires to speed up this process. Blocking wires are thin, rigid wires that don’t rust. Instead of pinning the sides of a project with pins, you can run these wires through the edge stitches.

After attaching blocking wires to the sides of your project, you can pull out each side and place pins in just a few spots along the wire. Then if you want to adjust how far out to block a side, removing and replacing just a few pins is so much quicker than 20+ pins.

We’ve put together a quick video to guide you through the steps of how to use blocking wires.

I loved knitting the Aestlight Shawl, my first attempt at a lace shawl. Share your favorite knitted or crocheted lace shawl pattern in the comments. I’d love to add some more lace projects to my Ravelry queue.

Happy Knitting & Crocheting!

– Dena

Customer Finished Project: Wedding Chuppah in Juniper Moon Farm Findley

Thursday, April 19th, 2012
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Every once in a while one of our wonderful customers will show up with a completed project, and today Carol L. came into the store with a fabulous finished Wedding Chuppah that was six months in the making. When we held it up she received a well deserved round of applause from our admiring staff and customers.

Carol took this project on to give to her son and soon to be daughter-in-law for their upcoming wedding which will take place in October. How did she do it and what did she use for yarn? She chose Juniper Moon Farm Findley, which is made up of merino and silk and has a generous yardage of 798!  Carol ended up using almost 8 of these to create her masterpiece. For her pattern inspiration, she adapted patterns from the Victorian Lace Today book along with using charts from one of Barbara Walker’s incredible Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

In discussing Carol’s journey with her she said that when she was working on it she kept thinking of her grandmother and the knitted lace wedding gown that her grandmother made, and chuckling about the fact that when Carol asked her what pattern she used, her grandmother’s response was “Pattern, what pattern? You start at the neck; increase at the bust; decrease at the waist; knit as far down as you want; and you are done!” Very true, nicely put!

You all know how much I love lace projects after our last Dream in Color giveaway, so what a treat it was to see this project.

Thanks for sharing Carol.

– Karen

Dream in Color March Givaway

Monday, March 26th, 2012
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It is time once again to have another giveaway with one of Dream in Color’s lovely hand dyed yarns along with a beautiful shawl pattern. This month’s yarn is called Absolutely Marvelous, and it is absolutely marvelous! Kind of like the weather we have had over the past week here in Massachusetts!

The fiber is 50% silk, 50% wool, consists of shades of grey and there is a generous 1100 yards for your fingers to fly through to make the beautiful Vostok Shawl designed by Beth King.

I am a huge fan of shawls; they are probably one of my favorite items to knit other than socks. Watching my skein of yarn get smaller, but yet, not seeing the results until the end when it is time for blocking is just one big happy surprise. I am always so very proud of my shawls and rarely give them away, but when I do, the appreciation from the receiver of such a gift creates such a sense of accomplishment and pride!

One of my favorite shawl pattern books is Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush. Not only do I want to make every shawl in this book, I also had the privilege of taking a couple of classes with Nancy when she taught here a few years back! That was quite a treat!

If you have never done a lace project, maybe it is time to give it a try! Just start with a simpler design, possibly a rectangular shawl, or even a lacey scarf, such as Fiber Trends Estonian Garden Shawl and Scarf. Once you knit something so beautiful, and watch the magic happen when you block it, you will be hooked!

So, tell us what some of your favorite shawl patterns are, or books! Do you enjoy the thrill and challenge of knitting such a piece?

Leave a comment below by 3/29/12, 11:59 pm EST to be entered into the March drawing for one skein of Dream in Color Absolutely Marvelous along with the Vostok shawl pattern. There will be 10 lucky winners! Be sure to check the blog on Friday 3/30/2012 to see if your name was picked. If you win, you will need to contact us by 4/3/12, otherwise we’ll have to find an alternate winner.

Good Luck!

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – How to Use a Lifeline

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
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Have you ever dropped a stitch when knitting lace?

Do you get lost in your lace patterns? Today’s tip is one you don’t want to miss.

When knitting lace, it can be a big pain trying to fix mistakes when yarn overs are involved. Sometimes you might even find that you get so lost or confused in your lace pattern that it seems easier to just frog the whole project and start over.

But if you use a lifeline, or safety line in your knitting, it can take away a lot of the stress and frustration of mistakes. A lifeline is a way of marking a particular point in your knitting where you can easily rip back to in case you make a mistake. Think of it as knitting insurance.

This video shows you how to insert a lifeline in your knitting and how to rip back to a lifeline if needed.

Use thin, smooth yarn in a contrasting color for lifelines. I like to use crochet thread or cotton weaving yarns. But in a pinch, dental floss also works really well. I mostly use a lifeline in lace knitting, placing it in the last repeat of my pattern. But you can use a lifeline in any knitting project such as cable work or other complicated stitch patterns.

Some knitting needles (Addi Lace Click Long Tips and Knitter’s Pride Interchangeable Needles) even include a hole or slot where you can thread a lifeline through. You’re able to then insert a lifeline into a row as you knit, saving you the step of threading a lifeline through your stitches with a tapestry needle.

If you knit with interchangeable knitting needles, you could use a spare cable as your lifeline. After knitting the row where you want a lifeline placed, replace the needle tips with end caps or stoppers. Connect the needle tips onto a new cable and continue knitting, leaving the old cable in your project as a lifeline.

Lifelines make lace knitting much more fun and relaxing for me. How have lifelines saved your knitting? Share your lifeline tips and stories in the comments.

Happy Knitting!