Posts Tagged ‘lace’

The Buzz at WEBS – August 5, 2011

Friday, August 5th, 2011
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This week the staff is buzzing about…

1. Valley Yarns Silver Lining Hat – I just knit this hat for my Dad’s birthday, and it’s perfect! I used Valley Yarns Huntington in black and grey and I love how the hat is reversible. He can wear it as a grey hat with black brim, or black hat with grey brim. It’s a great summer knit but a nice warm and cozy hat. > Grace H.

2. Atenti Betty – These purses are fabulous and I got one as soon as they came in! They are colorful, roomy, and stylish. > Stephanie G.

3. Freia Fine Handpaints yarns – With the flood of new yarns coming in for fall, sometimes it’s all just a blur. But this new yarn stood out immediately as something unique. Freia’s sport and lace weight yarns come in an Ombré color range that is hand painted to create a really long color run. I can’t wait to see what folks make with these yarns. > Dena C.

4. Milk and Honey Lotion Bar – Wonderful fragrance, would be a great foot lotion too! Amazing packaging. I love the “employee of the month”. > Gail C.

5. Shetland Lace Knitting from Charts by Hazel Carter – Even though it looks humble, this is one of my favorite lace books. It lists a large number of traditional garter-stitch based Shetland lace patterns, along with giving you the tools to rearrange those elements into fans, diamonds and chevrons, and it has some very interesting construction methods for shawls and other objects. > Kirsten H.

Lace Boot Camp

Sunday, July 31st, 2011
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Lace is a not-so-secret obsession of mine. There’s just something about the intricate look, the deceptively easy (or difficult!) stitches, the beautifully delicate yarns. I can’t help but see lace in everything and during the sticky summer months it’s hard not to think of light airy knitting. I mean, what’s more perfect than the portable one skein projects that lace knitting provides?

This obsession within obsessions finds me with an obnoxious stash of lace yarn. I just can’t help myself. Like sock yarns it offers a one skein project buy and it comes in such wonderful hand dyed colors and textures. So it’s really time to get cracking.

While I was sifting through patterns and gift ideas I realized that a lot of customers I talk to are intimidated with the prospect of beginning their first lace project. Somewhere between the delicate hand and complicated look of lace most people pass. But if you can increase and decrease you’re mostly there! To demystify this process a bit I thought I’d pass along a couple of tips and recommendations I’ve found along the way.

Image of Bison Shawlette in 101 Luxury Yarn One Skein Wonders, knit in Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere #18.

Helpful Tips

First, familiarize yourself with following a chart, Charts Made Simple by JC Briar is a great new resource for just this, and many lace resources offer a good primer as well. I was such a neophyte on my first chart I ended up reworking a lot of sections. Why didn’t I just take the time to learn it? Perhaps I was just impatient to cast on! Learn from my mistakes, please.

Another way to simplify chart visibility is to stock up on highlighter tape. This product is priceless for following tiny charts that so often accompany lace knitting. This semi-tacky tape brightens the line you are concentrating on and easily transfers to the next row without marring your pattern. It helps to enlarge the chart as well, for easy reading. (Your local copy shop can help with this).

Next, choose an appropriate needle for your project. Nothing is more difficult than trying to pierce your stitches with a dull needle. Especially for newbies having adequate tools makes learning easier. I recommend Skacel Addi turbo Lace needles, they have a bit more grip than the standard Addi Turbos to keep from slipping stitches and a much sharper point to allow for ease of knitting. I generally work a US size 5 on lighter yarns, but everyone has a different preference.

One underestimated tool for repetitive charts is stitch markers, allowing you to mark repeats with ease. We have handy lace and sock stitch markers that are smaller in size and have a little grip. You could also try the locking stitch markers to easily move your markers when repeats change.

Finally and most importantly for beginners, the lifeline! Buy a small skein of undyed mercerized cotton yarn, such as Nazli Gelin Garden 3, to strand through your stitches after each repeat or section. A mercerized cotton will not stick to or shed on your knitting (yes, I learned the hard way).With this handy and simple step you can save hours of frustration. If you drop stitches or find yourself impossibly stuck you can rip back to your lifeline and start fresh! I usually include lifelines at the start of a new section or after a sizable section… or when I decide I’d cry if I had to rip back!

Patterns

If you are looking to start a beginning lace project find a simple repetitive lace stitch, like Valley Yarns pattern 120, Falling Leaves. It utilizes a heavier yarn and allows you to build confidence before working with finer yarns and more complex patterns. Another simple approach is Valley Yarns Basic Triangle Shawl (B6), a simple clearly written shawl with a lace border knit with Valley Yarns Semi-solid Handdyed sock yarn.

Sources

There is such a wealth of lace books it’s hard to choose, but here are some of my favorites:

Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush
The Haapsalu Shawl by Siiri Reimann and Aime Edasi
Wrapped in Lace by Margaret Stove

Check out individual patterns by Fiber Trends and Fiber Dreams for some truly inspiring lace creations. And yes, Ravelry too!

Yarns

Most lace patterns use fingering or lighter weight yarns. Generally speaking the more complicated the shawl the less nuanced the color. Let your stitches do the talking and the hand dyes take a back seat, simpler shawls can accommodate lots more color variation. As with other projects there’s a yarn for every color and fiber preference.

Don’t miss our very own Kangaroo Dyer’s 2/14 Alpaca Silk in gorgeous and hefty skeins! Or our new Valley Yarns Charlemont in solid and kettle dyed colors. I personally cannot keep my hands off of Jade Sapphire’s Cashmere Silk blend. The colorways are brilliant and the feel is unmatchable. One of my go-to lace yarns is Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace. It comes in beautiful solid and handpaint colors with a polished finish, buoyant drape, and silky hand. The new Juniper Farms Findley is an extremely comparable yarn with bright colors and a merino/silk blend. The new Rowan Fine Lace looks like a lovely alternative as well with an alpaca and merino composition. Most importantly, find one that inspires you.

Happy Knitting!

Cara

 

Yarns listed above:

Top left to right: Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere in 140, 82 and 69

Middle left to right: Valley Yarns Charlemont in whipple blue, 2/14 Handdyed Alpaca Silk in pansies and atlantis

Bottom left to right: Rowan Fine Lace #926, Juniper Farm Findley 04 and Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace 2454

The Buzz at WEBS – July 22, 2011

Friday, July 22nd, 2011
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This week the staff is buzzing about…

1. Knitting Lace by Susanna E. Lewis – More than just a stitch library, though it does feature a wide variety of common and uncommon lace patterns, this book goes further to teach you about the actual structure of knitted lace. A very good read if you’re interested in designing your own lace patterns. > Kirsten H.

2. Clover Knitting Counter (Mini Kacha-Kacha) – Best way to keep row count. Locks so it will not move. Great to attach to knitted garment so it’s right there. > Marion M.

3. Juniper Moon Farm Willa – I’ve never seen mohair like this! The super kid mohair in Juniper Moon Farm Willa is blended into the yarn, creating a soft hand and beautiful sheen instead of that familiar fuzzy mohair halo. The fresh, bright colors would be perfect for children’s projects…Who am I kidding, they’d be perfect for projects for me! > Emma W.

4. Sock Summit 2011 – WEBS will be at Sock Summit in Portland, OR next week! Stop by booths 502-508 and say hi to me, Cara, Kirsten & Tina! We’ll have an amazing selection of yarns from Madelinetosh, Malabrigo, Lorna’s Laces, Dream in Color, Shalimar Yarns plus our own Valley Yarns and many more! In addition to great yarns, we’ll be playing Sock Summit Plinko in the booth for some fun prizes AND if you stop by and are wearing a pair of hand knit socks, we’ll take a picture of your socks and add them to our Wall of Fame! Who will you be wearing?? Marketplace hours are Thursday 4:30-6:30 (registered students only) Friday & Saturday 9-6 and Sunday 9-4. Hope to see you there! > Kathy E.

5. Broomstick Lace Headband pattern by Sara Delaney – I used a skein of the Manos Maxima in the Chrysanthemum colorway, #9644 for the headband project in our recent Broomstick Lace class. The yarn is SO soft and squishy when worked up into the twisted broomstick loops and the color just sings! I may have to make these for everyone on my family for the holidays this year. > Sara D.