2. December 2011 15:07
I have been in love with Estonian Lace from the second I laid eyes on it. It doesn?t matter which pattern? a leaf, vine, geometric, lily of the valley, paw prints? I love them all. It?s been in the back of my mind for years now that I neeeeeed to spin the finest yarn I can and go ahead and just knit one of these. As close to the authentic ones as possible. I know it will never be 100% right, as I can?t get the right materials here, and I?ll likely not be visiting Estonia anytime soon? but a girl can dream, Right?
At the last Maritime Handspinners? Retreat in October 2011, I bought an 8 ounce bag of Romney washed locks. I wanted to try spinning for lace directly from the lock (as do some of the other lace spinning geniuses? ahem Margaret Stove cough) and see how well I could do with it. This wool isn?t the softest one I?ve ever worked with, but the locks are overall quite clean, fairly free of VM, and have a nice bouncy texture. I?ve been just flicking them open to untangle the tips, and going at it with a Bosworth Mini.
So far, I think I?ve spun maybe 200 yards of it (very fine 2 ply) and just decided to cast on and give it a try in pattern to see if it ?works? or not. I didn?t wash to set the yarn either. I figure blocking will even that part out for me. I?m not sure how much of the wool I?ve used so far, but there does seem to be a fair bit of loss. I?m honestly just hoping that I?ll get enough for the shawl out of 4 ish ounces (since I?m estimating I?m losing 30 ? 40 % of the wool? that should be possible out of the 8 ounces). My plan (if you can actually call it one) is to knit up this small sample ball and then measure and weigh it and extrapolate from there whether I?ll have enough to carry out the rest of the shawl. I figure if I do run out? I can just make a borderless plain center panel. That would still be quite striking, even without a border.
I?m using my Woody Knitters Straights size 3 mm, and I?m following the Haapsalu Shawl Book for the number of stitches, cast on recommendations, motifs, and general encouragement. I chose to use the ?Double Lily of the Valley? chart as my main center design, with a 4 stitch garter border all around. Then I?ll knit a border lace separately and sew it on to the central rectangle. This aspect scares me a little, but I tried a sample tiny shawl last year, and my sewn on border looked ok in the end.
As you can see? The little ball is going quite far. I think I have enough to do the chart completely and probably another half dozen rows. The shawl is going to be 141 stitches across (you?re only seeing a small portion here, since my needles aren?t that long) and features 3.5 repeats of the Double Lily of the Valley chart across. To give you an idea of scale? remember that the needles are 3 mm, and I?ve posed a piece of the lace with a Canadian Dime (which is 18 mm diameter) for scale. I found knitting with the ?thread? was a little bit tedious in the beginning, but I?m getting used to it now. I had planned to try and work 2 ? 3 rows every day on it, but sadly I?ve gotten behind with all of the other holiday hub-bub. I hope to get back at it in the new year, and also back into spinning more of this up. The spinning itself has been quite enjoyable as well! I?ll post more when progress has actually been made :)