Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a chicken. (With apologies to Peter Steiner.)

29 May 2007

Alwen in Doilyland

One of the illusions you get in a blog is the illusion of certainty of purpose. Since I usually only talk about things I actually do, I sound like I know exactly what I'm doing.

What you don't usually see is the subconscious part, the dreaming, the playing and the messing around.

In a lot of ways, I feel lucky that I think of knitting as playing. That gives me a lot of freedom. I am not worried about wrecking the yarn or thread -- it's only thread. And unlike tatting, it is incredibly easy to unravel a mistake in knitting.

This little piece illustrates how I became comfortable knitting with fine needles. I had just bought a pair of 4-0 needles from Kathy Kirchner, and I cast on with some size 10 or 20 crochet thread and started playing.

On the left, I messed around a little with a pattern of holes. I didn't know at first about putting a plain row in between, so I moved the hole over every row.

After a few more rows, I started double-knitting a purl-side-out tube. Then I put a slit in one side, and when the piece got long enough, I took it off as a flat piece again.

But only for a few rows. I started to knit it as a tube again, but it got complicated: for a while it was a flat-knitted tube, purled on the back and knitted on the front. Then for a while it was garter stitch with a slit on the front, and on the back, the stitches on the left side were knitted and the stitches on the right side were purled. (This makes the tube curl up and flatten in interesting ways.)

By this time I had heard of knitting the plain row in between lace pattern rows, so I tried it both as garter-stitch lace and as stockinette lace, followed by some diagonal patterns of holes.

I was running out of thread, so I tried a couple of repeats of a fern pattern just as I completely ran out.

Another piece I've been messing with since I got more 4-0 needles was this size 30 shaded purple crochet thread.

The thread started out as a short length of crocheted edging, but I don't crochet other than chains, and it didn't come with the crochet pattern for the edging anyway.

At first I just played around with increasing, ribbing, and the thermal double-knitting pattern I used for my blue scarf.

Lately I was knitting it in the round, and realized I had gotten very comfortable with this size needle and thread. While I probably knitted on the bottom section over the course of a year, I knitted the top rows in a couple of days.

That led me to this weekend's knitting:
The thread is size 30 crochet thread, and the red needles are the 2-0's from the Susan Bates sock set.

I used a photocopy I was given of a 1959 Rachel Schnelling leaflet for the center, but I didn't like any of the patterns beyond the central flower. So I am going to repeat the petal pattern three times on each needle.

I wanted to make a knitted bag that did not look like the unfortunately shaped and colored miser's purse. So this is going to be a flower-bottomed knitted bag, big enough to put my fist into.

(I just typed, "Big enough to put my fish into.")

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Blogger Julie said...

Woohoo! Welcome to doily land!

12:45 PM  
Blogger Bells said...

ah I see Julie has commented. As I was reading this post, I was thinking, oh, this is like what Julie does.

I'm not far behind you Alwen. I'm gonna give it a go!

I really enjoyed seeing your process of playing.

8:38 AM  

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