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.)

31 March 2009

Blue Post

Although it snowed again Sunday, it's hard for me to feel blue when the Eastern bluebirds, Sialia sialis, show up in the snow and alternate between tearing at the weathered sumac berries and hunting insects.

Although they are small birds, I often think they hunt like a tiny little hawk, sitting on a perch, flying down to the ground to catch a bug, then flying back up to the perch to consume it and look for the next one.

Male and female both used our chainlink fence and the sumac bushes to perch and hunt for nearly an hour Sunday while it snowed.

I was cruising along on Christel following the chart, and then I looked at the directions.

I can't read German, but I can puzzle out a few words of knitting German, and I saw something about Doppelumschlägen (double yarnover). The only problem was, I couldn't find any double yarnovers in the chart.

Did I ever mention I love the internet? I asked both the Niebling Yahoo group and the Ravelry Niebling group, and between the two I found that there is exactly ONE double yarnover in the chart, in Round 45.

Like a lot of Niebling knitting designs, this one does some puzzling things, namely reducing the stitch count from 37 stitches per repeat in round 41 down to 31 stitches in round 47. Circumference going down . . . as radius goes up.

Nieblings are known for binding or ruffling in odd ways. I have a hard time believing that someone who could design things that look like this was unaware of the effects of stitch count.

So was this deliberate? Stretching a certain part of the circle is going to make that part more open. Ruffling, when you block, is going to give you more density. It could have been deliberate, and as I knit along, I burn to know.

But. Too late! Can't ask him. When we get that Historic Knit time machine, he has to go on the list of stops we're making.

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28 March 2009


A year ago, I first heard about a German lace knitting designer named Herbert Niebling and started trying to get hold of legal copies of his patterns.

This ugly-duckling octagon is a doily pattern called "Christel", from a collection of his designs calle Kunststricken Große und kleine Decken, available from Lacis.

I know - I meant to re-knit Leberblümchen, but I got sidetracked.

The thread is one of the vintage balls I showed last year, hanging in a net. 400 yards of ACE perle knitting cotton in grubby pale blue (grubby plainly visible under the Ott light).

I started this on four needles, but I don't like how some sections get squished when I knit an eight-section doily on four.

So I knit most of the dragon skin bag off of my 00 knitting needles and onto my 00 circular.

Poor dragon-skin! Every time I touch it, it seems like something happens: a dog munches it, my husband gets asked to deploy.

I'm starting to feel like I should have an exorcism or something for it.

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22 March 2009

The Magic of Blocking

Unblocked knitted lace often reminds me of sea slugs or nudibranchs.Here is the bluest nudibranch I could find so you can see what I mean. (Lots of pictures - the one I was looking at is right on the top of the page.)

After I blocked this to 16 points, I looked at the photo in the booklet and saw they had blocked it to 32. Now what am I going to do with a 24x14-inch woolly Leberblümchen?

I'm not sure. At one point I thought about running long circular needles through it, blocking it to a smooth oval, and wearing it as a hood/kerchief/thingie.

I knew that Leberblümchen meant liver-flower (hepatica), so I went looking online for photos of the German hepatica, and learned that the Hepatica triloba that grew in the woods where I grew up is the same as Hepatica nobilis.

This link is to a gallery showing some of the variability in color (I've seen them from white to pinkish to this lavender-blue) and number of petals.

And here is someone's gorgeous close-up of hepatica flowers.

Now I'm feeling terrifically homesick for the place I grew up, which doesn't exist as I remember it any more.

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19 March 2009

I Love Herding Dogs

One of my favorite things to do at the Michigan Fiber Festival is to go and watch the herding dog demos. So naturally I love this.

This video has only been up for a couple of days:

I'm hoping one or the other of my brothers will show it to my mom!

I'm down to the last two rows of Chart C, and should finish Leberblümchen later today or tomorrow.


18 March 2009


This is all very interesting. What you do to make Leberblümchen oval is, knit back and forth on one end, following the chart, until you have decreased down to one stitch.

If you have Kunststricken: Große und kleine Decken, Leberblümchen is on page 5 of the booklet, charts 25 A B & C.

The first part of Chart A (and all of Chart C) is pretty straightforward.

The second part of Chart A is tricky. You knit the section between the dark lines twice, then the section following the dark lines twice. Then you do that again.

This gives you eight petals that are not quite the same, arranged 1-1-2-2-1-1-2-2 around the center. When you knit Chart B (I've just finished one repeat of B in the first photo), you use the "1" petal stitches at each end and knit back and forth, leaving the "2" stitches on a holder (or in my case, waiting around on a dpn).

Okay, actually I see from the photo that I was knitting in the spaces between the petals. But anyway!

After you've done this down-to-one-stitch thing twice, in order to knit along the sides, you make a yarnover and pick up the back of a slipped stitch. What a coincidence - I just picked up all those slipped stitches on the latest spa cloth.

And then it looks like this:

Still Life with Double Pointed Knitting Needles

I might go back and knit another of these with white or at least pale-colored thread, because I find it's true what the lacemakers say, "The color wears the lace." (I love that phrase, and I'm so stealing it.)

Meanwhile, I'm learning a lot about this pattern. I'm about halfway through the border (chart C) rows.

Here's a sure sign of spring, despite the complete lack of green anywhere: the dredge is out in the channel today.


15 March 2009

Stuff I Have Not Shown You

The sharp-shinned hawk (I'm about 65% sure it was sharp-shinned) came back. And ate. I didn't get a sharper photo, but you probably didn't want to see any closer anyhow.

The way I got my knitting mojo back the last time it pegged out was by knitting some boring, uncomplicated dishcloths.
I finally remembered that, so I got out an old project, almost finished, and finally cast it off. It was the small double-knitted square on the bottom left made of crochet cotton on US size 1 needles (2.5 mm).

Then I went through Mary Thomas and tried what she calls "Rib-Welt Fabrics", with alternating squares of 1-1 rib and garter stitch. (Bottom right above.)

(These are what I call "spa washcloths", after an eleven-dollar washcloth I saw in a catalog once.)

By then I was interested in knitting again, and I knitted the edge on the green background to the left.

I knitted around the corner, just like an Orenberg shawl (the going around the corner: the border itself is from the old dishcloth my husband rescued from the armory).

Then I knitted the bottom edge, turned the second corner, and picked up stitches to knit from edge to edge (the cloth on the needle at the top). The pattern in the center is Mary Thomas's "Diagonal Rib and Check Combined" from page 41 of her Book of Knitting Patterns.

Once I've knitted it nearly square, I'll turn the corner at one edge, and knit on a sideways border like the Pi shawl's, then turn one final corner and graft 8 stitches.

And apparently that broke the dam, because Friday I joined a knit-along for Herbert Niebling's "Leberblümchen" from Kunststricken: Große und kleine Decken.
I'm always knitting with thread on tiny needles, so I decided to break out of that rut and use yarn and US 5 (3.75 mm) needles. It's so . . . large. It grows so fast!

And I'm not sure how easy this yarn will be to block. There may be wailing and gnashing of teeth. We'll see.

Meanwhile, all I have to do is figure out how I'm supposed to knit the two separate end sections to make this come out oval. (And decide if I'm going to jazz around with it or knit it as written.)

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07 March 2009

Where Else Are You Going to Hear About It?

The Cologne archive collapsed Tuesday.

Such a loss.

Edited to add direct links to a couple of articles.

Cologne City Archive Collapses

Update on the Collapsed Cologne Archive

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