This was the deck at sunset yesterday.
The mercury is hovering around 50 today, and will be reaching for 60 tomorrow - I think we may have had our fill of fire-tipped, snowy winter sunsets for the season.
Hmm. I know there's a segue lurking somewhere in here somewhere. Oh, yes - big thanks to Kat, Queen of Charming Appellations. Fire Flowers it shall be - so let it be written, so let it be done.
So, Fire Flowers and Leaves doesn't look much different from yesterday.
I moved to a 40" circular the moment I could, but it's already well scrunched on it. I'm at row 102, which means a little more than half the width is finished, but 75% remains to knit.
Joining new balls of wool in lace can be a tricky issue - a double thickness of yarn, as for a Russian join or simply knitting with both strands, might be immediately visible in a fine openwork fabric, and hanging tails can be difficult to weave in truly invisibly. A carefully executed felted or spliced join is the best way to handle joins with a wool yarn, since it creates an invisible join the same thickness as the rest of the yarn. But how do you join balls of non-wool yarn?
The method that follows should work for any type of plied yarn, slippery though they may be. It basically amounts to wrapping two twisted cords around each other. Its main disadvantage is its slight awkwardness - an extra hand or heavy weight helps tremendously in anchoring the twisted strands.
First, tease out half the thickness of both ends to be joined for three or four inches, and break it off. The silk I'm using is a two-ply, so I've unraveled and broken off one ply in each tail about three inches back.
Take one end, pinch or otherwise anchor it where it goes to full thickness, and twist the half-thick tail very tightly, until it begins to kink on itself.
Pull it straight, never letting go of either end or letting it untwist, and lay the other tail (untwisted) over it at the halfway point.
Fold the twisted strand in half, trapping the other tail, and let go. The tightly twisted strand should naturally twist on itself in the other direction. Smooth out the twisted cord and even out any kinks.
Repeat for the untwisted, trapped end, and clip any hanging bits.
The finished join should be smooth, the same thickness as the working yarn, and more or less undetectable. Handy, yes?
Mini Argyle Socks
I ripped out and restarted the Mini Argyles last night:
So extremely, deliciously preppy. Remind me to change my name to Midge one of these days.
Thank you, Tia, for the brilliant suggestion of starting a Sampler Stole-Along!
Here it is again:
It's a pattern by Hazel Carter for A Gathering Of Lace, and in my opinion one of the most interesting projects in the book. Anyone up for a knitalong? Finished measurements are 20"x68", using cobwebweight on 2.75mm (US2) needles. Knit as a center panel capped by two borders picked up and knitted from invisible cast-on edges, and finished with an edgeing that may either be knitted seperately and sewn or knitted on horizontally, it looks like a great project for anyone who'd like to learn more about shawl construction or just enjoys gorgeous lace. It combines lace fabric (patterned on one row only) motifs - Lace Mesh, Birds-Eye, Four Flowers - as well as true lace (patterned every row) motifs - Shetland Bead, Lace Fan, Daisy/Ring.
It might not be an ideal project for someone to learn lace with, but it would be a great exercise in learning to read your knitting and understand how lace stitches work together and build on one another to construct a motif, row by row. It could be knit with laceweight or even fingering weight, eliminating repeats if necessary, for a heavier shawl or for anyone who doesn't like the idea of cobwebweight - anyone interested? I would love the company.
On First Lace, and On Spreading Wings
There were some really wonderful comments yesterday. I really do believe that knitting can be a lot more stimulating, a lot more enjoyable, a lot more thoughtful than rigid structure makes it - the comparison to training wheels was spot-on. I hate the idea of knitting one stitch or one motif or one row at a time, without considering the ones just formed and the ones to come - how much fun can that possibly be? Anyone can make a series of movements dictated by a chart, just as anyone can take dictation or anyone can follow a recipe. To each his own, but I think some context, some comprehension, is needed to make such things fulfilling.
Allyson - Happy early birthday! Some of the geometric, small-repeat patterns out there make really beautiful finished garments, and are perfect for getting used to the basic movements and feel of lace knitting. Something like the Leaf Lace Shawl or Flower Basket Shawl (both of which can be viewed on this page) - both really look best in fingering or sport weight, on US4-7 needles, and are fun, eminently accessible knits. Good luck! I'll try to put up a lace primer this week, with some thoughts on common pitfalls and ways to reduce the learning curve.