In my knitting world, it all starts with the yarn.
Most all of us knitters go into a yarn shop and shop with
our fingers as much as with our eyes. We
love to feel all the pretty yarn and different fibers on the shelves and in all
the bins before we pick that special one that calls to us that day.
While we knitters love to support our local yarn
store as much as possible, occasionally what we want is not available
locally. And that was true with this
And while we have all the yarn we could dream of at the
click of a mouse, thanks to online shopping, we knitters have a problem. We can’t touch it, see it in person, or know
exactly what we’re really buying until the deed is done. (I think I need online yarn shops to post
yarn colors with Pantone numbers beside them!)
So when I specifically wanted to try some mulberry silk
yarn, I had to order it on faith.
I have learned the hard way to order reputable brands and do
not stray. (Once bitten, twice shy.)
I have also learned the hard way that the colors on the
monitor are deceptive.
Strangely, the colors on my smartphone are truer and more
accurate than the colors on my laptop monitor.
I won’t get into the technicalities on that one, but it’s good to
When I found this yarn online, a gorgeous skein of mulberry
silk named “Dusk” (a sophisticated neutral grayed violet), I bought the
smallest amount available, just in case it was not as beautiful as it looked on
my iPhone. But when I got the package in
the mail and tore open the tissue paper revealing the yarn, I was not
disappointed. It was gorgeous. There’s nothing quite like the radiant luster
of silk, and the color was, to me, breathtaking. Rarely do I see violet rendered so elegantly.
Now it’s time to knit.
Here, in a series of photos, you can see the steps that I
take to create one of my framed lace pieces.
It starts with the yarn wrapped in a skein. Yarn looks better that way, so it sells
better that way. That’s why they sell it
shaped like that.
But before you can knit with it, you have to roll it into a
Or, like I do, wind it into a little
cake with a cool handwinding tool.
Then I pick the pattern for my swatch and cast on.
Here is the swatch with just a few rows
After the swatch is complete, it looks like a mess!
My knitting lace teacher told us not to freak
that all lace looks like a frumpy dishrag until it’s blocked.
To block a piece of lace, you wash it and towel-dry it, and
carefully pin it out on one of a number of surfaces. I have used a carpeted floor, a sewing cutting
board (the cardboard kind that fold up like an accordion), and blocking
(To tell you the truth, the sewing cutting board is the most
economical and versatile solution. Less
money, lightweight, and super easy to store.)
Then you leave it pinned out overnight to dry. The next day when you get to un-pin it, it is
the most glorious thing. This frumpy
dishrag of a thing has become as delicate as butterfly wings. At least, that’s how it always feels to
me. It is such an amazing thing. You place in on your hand and you can barely
feel its weight.
Then, since this isn’t a scarf or a shawl but a small swatch,
I love to frame these in an 8X10 frame.
Knitting swatches is a nice way to try out a yarn or stitch
pattern, but instead of it being a dry exercise in self-control, by framing the
swatch you are also creating a piece of knitted art.
A bite-sized gift of lace. At
least I hope so. That’s how I see it,
And trying out the yarn in a swatch reveals things to you
about how it behaves. I had never
knitted pure silk before, and I had no idea how much silk relaxes and opens up. It stretches much more than the mohair-silk
combination yarn that I usually use. I
also didn’t realize that you get such great stitch definition with silk. I should’ve anticipated that, but I
didn’t. No wonder so many lace knitters
Well, it’s kinda hard to believe that Christmas and come and
gone and that it is already January.
Much less 2016! J
I want to share with you some fun that I had last month making Christmas ornaments.
You see, I had some clear, empty glass ornament balls in the closet waiting to become something, and I’ve had an idea on the
back burner for awhile, and I finally got a chance to try it out.
I got out some of my papermaking/collage “fodder” and played
and played and played. I realized before
going in that I would need some elements with some body to them. Just putting in glitter wasn’t going to
work. It would just fall to the
bottom. I had gravity to deal
with, after all.
Fortunately, I have a lot of curling ribbon, tulle,
excelsior, and other fun things to stuff in these balls. Once you have a few things stuffed inside
that can hold their own, you can add some things like metallic threads or
angelina or glitter that would normally sink to the bottom. With the other elements added first, you can
hope that things will kinda catch on each other and stay aloft. (A little bit, anyway.)
I had great fun shaking these up as I made them, as if I
were making snow globes.
Oh, and the glitter can and will fall out with the shaking. Ask me how I know! :)
But why limit yourself to red and green??
Oh, this is like eating potato chips! You make one, and you think up a new color
combination that you want to try!
Wouldn’t a blue and silver one be pretty? Or one with metallic golds and silvers? And I think a pink and silver one would be very
You can find these empty ornaments at your local craft
store (I got mine at Hobby-Lobby), along with all sorts of goodies to go inside.
I think I'll make that pink and silver one next. J