Saturday, June 26, 2010

On with Orenburg!

First a note for those of you who are new to Verena or digital subscribers who would like the print copies. We're having a sale on back issues until Thursday July 1st: Only $2.95 USD per issue plus shipping. Dozens of patterns in each issue for less than the price of a single pattern! Get em while you can, supplies are limited!

Now back to the continuing adventures of Orenburg Lace...

Once the edges and the center panel have been established things get quite a bit clearer and more straightforward. I've now knit up to the beginning of pattern repeats in Chart C, through row 35, shown to the right, defined by the V.  I'm contemplating a lifeline. So far I've been very careful, counting stitches regularly because even tinking this yarn is tricky, it's fairly sticky and I don't want to overhandle it. Doing it right the first time is vastly preferable to discovering an error several rows on. I'm more likely to just keep knitting if there's a lifeline behind me, so it might be better to forgo it and scare myself into counting. On the other hand, the stitch count in Chart C will increase dramatically and counting will become more and more time consuming when I really want to keep knitting, so...the jury is still out.

We had a question in the KAL about the short rows of the edge charts, which in the picture are to the right and left of the large V shape. The instructions for both edge charts say, inscrutably, "working the short rows cont in every 5th row." Meanwhile, the repeat of the right edge chart, B1 goes from row 15 to row 30, whereas the repeat of the left edge chart, B2 goes from row 18 to row 33. This was what inspired me to go get more row counters. In fact, the edge rows don't end up being different numbered rows all that often. This is the result of the short rows:

I hope the text I added to this picture will help to make it clear what and where one is actually knitting the short rows. For example, on the right I've made a purple dotted line for "Pattern row 17" knit from the right edge of Chart B1 to the beginning of Chart C. This is a short row, so you don't knit into Chart C, you turn and knit row 18 back to the edge. Then, turn again and knit Pattern row 19, continuing into whatever the next row of Chart C is (here randomly assigned row 29) and continuing through to knit row 33 of the left edge Chart B2.

This is the end of the pattern repeat for that edge chart, so you start again with Pattern row 18, another short row, knit to the end of the edge of Chart C and turn. Chart B2 is knit with the pattern rows on the "wrong" side or even rows, whereas the Pattern rows of the other two charts are on the odd numbered "right" side rows. So after knitting Pattern row 18 you turn and knit back to the edge, row 19. Turn again and knit Pattern row 20 of Chart B2, and then continue back across Chart C knitting whatever the next row is (here randomly assigned row 30) and Chart B1 knitting row 20. The next several rows are knit from right edge to left and back across all 3 charts, with both edge charts sharing row numbers.

Deep breath. Lifeline or no lifeline? What would you do?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lace on the Bias

Good news! All the patterns from the "Fascinating Lace" workshop are now available at If you are already a subscriber you'll find them all, for free, by clicking your Bonus Patterns link. They are also available for individual sale in our Pattern Shop.

I've been neglecting the Orenburg Shawl to knit up a swatch in answer to a question in our Forums. Since it relates directly to lace I've decided to share the results with everyone.

The pattern is Moody Blue from our Summer 2009 issue. It's an all over lace pattern and the decreases were causing the fabric to slant dramatically on one side:

I knit, frogged and re-knit several times, trying out different tactics for working the decreases and the result was always the same. I then decided to work the pattern without any decreases to see what that looked like and I got the smaller swatch below:

Both edges slant at almost the same angle. So even though the straight right edge of the decreased swatch seemed like a regular selvadge it was clearly different than the right edge of the un-decreased pattern. The left edge is slanted but not as dramatically as the one with the decreases in it.

Further research reveals that this is the result of all the decreases being worked in the same direction, in this case a PSSO. Seams will keep a garment knit in an all-over lace pattern that tends to bias like this from twisting around. I would be careful to pin the seams together and make sure that the pieces are properly matched up on both sides before sewing.

While we're here, some general tips for working decreases in all over lace patterns seem in order. The pattern here includes instructions for Full Fashion decreases, which can be worked more easily by keeping the first and last few stitches in stockinette and working the decreases in those. Alternatively, since the wrong side rows are knit across in purls, working the decreases on that side will prevent confusion with the yarn over/decreases of the stitch pattern itself. I tried several ways, in one case eliminating a yarn over from the stitch pattern rather than working two decreases and a yarn over right at the edge. This is a perfectly legal way to work a decrease in lace provided you can keep track of what you are doing well enough to maintain the pattern itself and make the decreases correctly.

Stay tuned for our regularly scheduled programming: More adventures in Orenburg Lace.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Enmeshed in Lace

This past weekend, subscribers to our free Newsletter were treated to a flip book of the lace patterns from our "Fascinating Lace" workshop . I know many people have been looking for these patterns and we promised to have them up on the site. Technical difficulties have delayed our putting them there, so for those of you who haven't subscribed to the Newsletter (did I mention it's free? You never know what goodies will appear in your inbox with this one!) I'm posting a link to the Flip Book, where you can see the designs. The patterns will be available shortly on our website.

If you're planning on knitting any of them, please find us in our Lace KAL on Ravelry. There's no time limits or pressure, just support and camaraderie. I'm forging ahead with the Orenburg Shawl (more on that soon...) but you're welcome to knit any of the many lace patterns in our spectacular Summer Issue. See you there!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wow, that first step is a doozy! Important safety tip: Pay careful attention to the difference between our standard "K2Tog" symbol, a right triangle in the lower right of the square (seen here next to the circles representing yarn overs) and the design specific symbol (seen as the last stitch in the second row from the bottom.) This is also a right triangle in the lower right of the square, but it is enclosed within another square inside the block. It's easy to see at this magnification, but easy to miss in the heat of knitting!

This yarn is like knitting with a filament of cloud. Of course the color reinforces that impression, but I'm sure it would be just as heavenly in any color you can get your hands on.

Stay tuned for more adventures in Orenburg lace. I'm looking at working 3 charts simultaneously for the next several hundred rows, so I'm off to buy some more row counters.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Summer of Lace

I can't wait to start knitting this shawl. I've always been fascinated with Orenburg lace, but never gotten up the gumption to knit anything. Finally, a perfect Lace storm seems to be brewing around me: the structure is unlike anything I've knit before, the charts are daunting, the yarn, Filatura di Crosa Superior, is exquisite. I'll be documenting my adventure with this lovely pattern in this space and sharing ongoing comments in the LACE KAL in the Verena Group on Ravelry. I hope some of you will join me in knitting this wonderful pattern, or any of the other lace patterns from Verena.

I know that many of you have been looking for the patterns featured in our Fascinating Lace Workshop. They will be available in the Subscriber Bonus area on our website by this weekend.