Thursday, November 15, 2012

Knitting lace for Christmas...

Annis shawlette in Wiggly handspun
on the needles
As time goes on, I find that I enjoy the challenge of lace.  This lace shawlette is one I've done before - in my own handspun.  I showed you a picture of it in progress, at about the point where the current shawlette is on my needles now.  This is the Annis pattern from Susanna IC.  Granted that my handspun is a heavier weight than the yarn I'm using now - but the shawlette really turned out well.  Looking back, I never showed you the finished project, so here is a shot of it on the blocking board.  It is pinned out while still wet from its bath so that it will dry with all the gorgeous lace pulled out flat.  As you can see from the "before" shot on the needles, it isn't impressive as it is in progress.
Annis shawlette in Wiggly handspun
 on the blocking board
This is a relatively simple pattern, and I love the striping that happens in the stockinette section on the shawlette.  I blocked it into a crescent shape, thinking that the tails would stay in place better.  The nice thing is that I can change my mind and reblock it in a different shape when I wash it next time.

I took a couple shots on the dress form to show it on a person-shaped form.  I like the way it turned out.  I pinned it in place fully open, but in reality, I'd probably put the ends over my shoulders for the warmth of double thickness on my neck and shoulders.
Annis shawlette - back view
Annis shawlette - front view
Another way I could wear this is with the wide part across the front and the pointed ends pulled to the front as well.  Didn't take a picture that way though.  I guess I didn't think of that while I had the dress form out. 

Mom's Annis shawlette in Malabrigo
In any event, I'm working this one again in Malabrigo that I bought for my Mom about a year ago.  We were planning to knit this together and the lace was a bit too intimidating for her.  I'm doing it for her Christmas present this year.  I'm ten rows into the lace pattern, and the yarn is far different and quite a bit finer than my handspun.  I don't have the ball band from this lovely yarn, but it is mostly a lovely grape color with some blue shading.  Since it is still on the needles, I've pinned it out to show off the lace patterning.  The first set of nupps is done... not my favorite, but once I started using a small latch hook to finish the second row I was much happier with the outcome.  The nupps take two rows, the first row is to create seven stitches from one and the second row takes the seven stitches back to a single stitch.  This leaves a small bubble of yarn on that spot in the pattern.  There will be a chevron of five nupps that follows the points in the lacework.  Nice effect, so I'll do them for Mom's shawlette.
Here's the fun part.  I found some interesting soft laceweight yarn in a pleasant variegated gray to black.  This is Patons Lace in the Patina colorway.  Slightly fuzzy and mostly acrylic (80% acrylic, 10% mohair, 10% wool), so I was worried about how it would hold up to blocking.  I knitted up a swatch of the lace pattern and used beads in place of the nupps.  I just did a loop around the needle tip as a place holder of sorts where the nupp would appear.  That loop was unwound and I threaded a relatively large round bead onto the loop.  I like the result, and it gives a pleasant weight to the edge of the sample.  These beads are 6mm size and are just a bit larger than I really want unless I find some that really speak to me.  I was sampling to find the largest beads I'd use in this pattern and I think I found this to be about the maximum size.  I washed and blocked the swatch and it seems to be holding its shape relatively well.  The photo was shot with the swatch loose on a smooth surface, and it hasn't pulled back much so I'm calling it a success.

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