Lacy Loveliness

Winter knits have taken on a cabled theme, and now that the days are getting longer my imagination is fired by lace.  My little red cardigan has been put to one side, and the pink one is still waiting for me to sew on the buttons and set in the sleeves.  Here she is, waiting patiently on the footstool:

HeartCardigan7Instead, I’ve been concentrating on the shell lace sweater to accompany the Pisces Pullover.  I say sweater: I haven’t decided whether I’d prefer a cardigan!  I’ll knit the sleeves whilst I’m dithering, but here’s the finished back:

ShellSweaterBack ShellSweaterDetail








It’s just as quick a knit as the original blue, but progress has slowed.  Here’s why: The project that’s REALLY fired me up is this lacy number by Vicky Chan.  I mentioned it a few posts ago and I finally caved in the weekend before last!  I think the idea of crocheting rather than knitting also had something to do with it; it has been a year since I crocheted a garment, which is a bit naughty.  I won’t be leaving such a large gap again!

IreneYoke1 IreneYoke2Once the foundation chain was made, that was it: I have barely put my hook down.  (I’m giving myself a tiny pat on the back for avoiding the phrase “I was hooked”.)  It’s been the ultimate portable project – the first snap is from my Instagram, and you can see my legs in the background – and accompanied me on every journey to date.  Need I mention that it’s been an absolute pleasure to crochet?  🙂 The foundation chain is about two-thirds from the top of the aforementioned photo, immediately beneath the little treble clusters.  It forms part of the yoke: first you crochet up towards the neck (bottom edge in photo) to create the filet-inspired tulips; then you reattach the yarn to the foundation chain and work down towards the body for the remainder of the project.

I couldn’t help making a couple of tweaks though.  The most obvious (see below) is converting it to a jumper, but I’ve also fiddled with the pattern repeat.

When I started working the yoke in the opposite direction, I thought that the clusters, when bracketed by eyelets on the following eyelet round, looked like little roses.  (Skip back to the first photo and hopefully you’ll see what I mean: the clusters seem to form the centre of a rose, with the young petals coiled up, and the surrounding eyelets represent the more mature petals.)  I ran with this and added another two rows to the original repeat: an eyelet row before the tr2tog clusters, and an extra row of trebles to make it an even-numbered repeat.  An odd number wouldn’t have been a big deal since I’m working in the round, but it doesn’t hurt and I’m a creature of habit.  This is how it looks so far:

Irene1 Irene2 Irene3Also – and I feel I ought to have tried this technique long before now – this is my first top-down project of any kind.  I now fully understand why it’s endorsed by so many: working in the round is utter bliss, not to mention having the luxury of being able to try the garment on as you go.  I already know I’ll be sad to finish this jumper; the process is so fulfilling and the pattern flows beautifully, largely due to Vicky Chan’s instructions (FYI, she uses text and charted instructions 🙂 ).  She exemplifies my greatest joy in the handmade world: when creative power equals technical nous.  It’s something I aspire to in my own work.  When successful, it means that the imagined person takes as much pleasure in the making as they do in the wearing of their project.  I’m already eyeing up the other projects in Vicky Chan’s Ravelry store – and they are absolutely lovely.

I’ve also bought a couple of books on lace knitting, both of which have been coveted for too long: Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush, and Heirloom Knitting by Sharon Miller.  Coupled with the vintage knitwear book I bought from the FTM when I visited their autumn winter exhibition (Knitwear: From Chanel to Westwood – and nope, still not read that book; this is a teeny bit embarrassing), I have plenty more to keep me busy!

MyLatestKnittingTomesSpeaking of the FTM, I’m heading over there tomorrow evening for the Thea Porter exhibition and a talk about the history of textiles.  There may well be another book purchase in the offing 😉 but I’ll write next week with a review of the event.  More soon!

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