Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Modern lace

As you might have guessed by now I've made a few shawls this summer. I blocked six last week and here are the final three.

First up is one that I started to have a nice looking lace project when I represented knitting at a craft exhibition in May. I started out using Morjärv 2-ply, which was far too bulky. Soon after I started on Madli's scarf from Knitted Lace of Estonia in Pälsull by Östergötlands ullspinneri, but the lace lacked definition.

Combining the pattern from the shawl to the left with the yarn on the right worked much better. The pattern is Vernal Equinox by Lankakomero. It is a laced up version of the Elizabeth Zimmerman Pi shawl (the number of stitches is dubbled at certain intervals). After a while there are just too many stitches and it was a bit of a struggle to finish it when the top measured 170 cm. I didn't pin out the lace properly because by then I couldn't be bothered, but it still looks OK.

The next shawl was much more fun. I might even make it again since I was a bit cheap and only bought one skein of Noro Kureyon sock in colour 95 and it is more like a scarf than a shawl. I usually don't like the finish of entrelac patterns, but here it is perfect for the pattern and the rustic character of this yarn only makes it better. The pattern is called Dianna and can be downloaded for free on Ravelry.

My final project from the blocking session isn't lace but a very clever garter stitch scarf that was mostly knitted in the car. I made a similar scarf in stockinette a few years ago and it is so practical. This version is called Baktus. The yarn is Hjerte sock 4 and the colours behaved quite well with just enough pooling.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Icelandic lace again

I blocked a few shawls last week and two of them are from Thríhyrnur og langsjöl, my Icelandic lace book. The first one is my second attempt at Thríhyrna, the cover design. The first version was too tight and small. This time it is too loose and airy, we'll see if I give it a third try some day. The yarn is red Pälsull by Östergötlands ullspinneri and needles 4mm.

The second shawl was truly all about the process. I bought three balls of the sock yarn Raggi mini by Järbo at the supermarket. With each ball I tried a different pattern. Two were then frogged and only the third was finished. The patterns I didn't choose in the end were Lily of the Valley Scarf from Knitted Lace of Estonia, because the pattern didn't show well and it was too bulky, and Ripple from Knitty, a great design but the edging didn't work in this yarn.

The one I chose to finish is Langsjalid Bárur (waves). It is big, soft and the stripes become great waves and are much easier to knit than using 6 colours like the original.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Estonian lace

This blog was started two years ago when I last visited Tallinn, Estonia. Therefore it is quite fitting that I relaunch after half a year of neglect with another visit to Tallinn. A couple of weeks ago my family and some of our relatives went on a four night cruise on the Baltic Sea. One of the stops was Tallinn and of course we did some knitting related shopping. This is what my kids fell for:

Personally I prefer patterns and yarn, and this time I found a really good selection of books but no yarn that had my name on it. Since my last expedition to the book stores of Estonia several new titles on various traditional crafts had been published. One stood out from the rest and it is one of the best knitting books I have ever seen, even though I can't read the language. (The key to the charts is also given in English.) That is high praise from someone who has collected knitting books for 20 years. The book is Haapsalu sall and it is a collection of lace patterns used for making the superb Haapsalu shawls. These shawls were hand knitted in the seaside resort of Haapsalu where the elite of the Russian empire spent their holidays 100 years ago. The patterns are still very much alive and the shawls are still used as gifts to foreign dignitaries visiting Estonia. Regular turists to Tallinn, like me, will have a hard time finding any but now we can make our own.

I have started out with a sampler with some of my favourite patterns. The yarn is regular Estonian 2-ply that I bought on my last visit. The patterns should be made from much finer yarn, but this is what I had at hand. The shawl was just improvised until I ran out of yarn and then the second edging, which I had knitted earlier, was grafted on. I will post more detailed pictures on Ravelry.