Tag Archives: lace

Gentle Breezes from design concept to completion

I love to “paint” with color and texture in many media. Probably my favorite media and technique, not too surprisingly, are fine yarns, beads and lace knitting. The rectangular shape of a stole provides the simplest of ‘canvases’ in which to play with design.

It starts with “tell a story”. For example – Picture early morning walks on the beach and looking out over gently breaking waves through the morning haze.

Gentle Breezes Stole
Gentle Breezes Stole

That picture-story is the basis of the design I just released at Sandrasingh.com today for Gentle Breezes. Flashback to how the story unfolded from design concept  through completion of the Gentle Breezes Stole.

My design concepts can hibernate anywhere from a few days to several years (or maybe forever, because I still have LOTS more in the queue. No telling if I will live long enough to see the fruits of them all). Anyway, when Sandra Singh asked me to design something in her single ply Lace yarn, I found that she had a color that was a match made in heaven for the look and feel of that morning walk on the beach looking out over the ocean through a morning haze. Aptly named, the color of this gently variegated gray/blue/green yarn is Ocean Breeze.

Sandrasingh.com Lace yarn in color Ocean Breeze
Sandrasingh.com Lace yarn in color Ocean Breeze

I envisioned using beads to suggest the glint of sunlight off the waves. The yarn is single ply and I was concerned about the strength. So, originally I was thinking I would have to use size 6/0 seed beads, placing them using the crochet hook method on a double strand stitch loops. Fortunately, the yarn has a lot of substance and strength so that I could use the smaller size 8/0 seed beads to give the subtler look I originally was after. The strength of the yarn comes partially from it having a slight felted texture. The smaller beads will be pre-strung on the single strand of yarn and slid into place where needed as the knitting progresses.

The next step in the design process was to select a bead color. I narrow the selection to a few finalists based on bead color availability (I prefer the Miyuki brand) and my experience in selecting bead colors. I don’t think the various colors of the beads show up very well in the photo, but this is how I go about choosing the “winner” from the finalists (in this case there were 9 colors I was considering in the final running). By sliding a few of each bead color onto the yarn and seeing them against the yarn (rather than just isolated in a whole bag of beads of the same color) is more representative of what they will actually look like when incorporated into the knitted fabric.

The bead "finalists" being considered for the design
The bead "finalists" being considered for the design

Out of the 9 bead color finalists, I decided on Turquoise Ceylon #536. Several of the others would have been lovely as well. It’s always a hard choice — I love them all!

For the knitted fabric, I planned that the ends of the stole would be worked separately and done in a wide beaded lace border reminiscent of breaking waves. Then the main area of the stole between the 2 wide border ends would be an unbeaded lace stitch pattern giving the feel of breezes and the gentle swells of the ocean.

Up to this point I had still been toying with titles for the design. I settled on “Gentle Breezes”, as I felt this gave more flexibility in knitters choosing the yarn and bead colors to match the picture story wherever they might imagine of gentle breezes on a morning or evening walk.

The first wide border of Breaking Waves
The 1st wide border of Breaking Waves

I found the Sandrasingh.com yarn really pleasant to work with. Even though it is a single ply, it is not kinky at all. And I’ve not had any trouble, either, in it holding up to being strung with the beads. The slightly felted texture of the yarn not only gives it strength, but a wonderful softness plus a lot of volume for its weight.

The 2nd border continues into the main area pattern
The 2nd border continues into the main area pattern

The knitting proceeded quickly. Of course, in these photos of knitting in progress, the lace knitting has not yet been blocked, so it still looks crumpled and messy. Once blocked, the design elements will “pop” and look crisper/more distinct. In this picture of knitting in progress, the 1st border (in the upper part of the picture) is just lying under the 2nd piece. The two pieces will be grafted together later for an invisible join.

Knitting in progress
Knitting in progress

After completing the knitting and grafting the 2 pieces together, the stole is tension blocked.

Blocking the stole
Blocking the stole

I never tire of that magic moment when lace is blocked out to show all of its airy beauty. The completely dried stole is then released from the blocking wires and pins, and my senses are further delighted in the wonderful drape and hand of the sheer knitted fabric.

The sheer beauty and drape of the completed stole
The sheer beauty and drape of the completed stole

And the story has a happy ending — or is it just the beginning? I hope you might be inspired to “paint” your own picture story using my Gentle Breezes pattern as a jumping off point in creative knitting art.

Beaded detail of "Breaking Waves"
Beaded detail of "Breaking Waves" in the border ends of the Gentle Breezes Stole

 

 

love these Hiya Hiya interchangeable knitting needles

I’m trying out the Hiya Hiya interchangeable knitting needles (and a few other cute goodies). Want to see?

Hiya Hiya interchangeable needles and notions

These here are the steel needles with 5″ tips, but they also come with 4″ tips or in bamboo). They are WONDERFUL. To start with, I love the elegant silk brocade case. You can’t help but feel these are really special needles. The case is very functional with well-designed pockets for the multiple-sized cables and tips. Most of all, I love the design of the tips, the secure join of needle tips to cables, and the smoothness of both the needles and the joins. The cable is so flexible; it doesn’t fight me at all.

Hiya Hiya interchangeable knitting needles with 5" tips

Using a silk yarn is the ultimate test in smoothness of circular needle cables and these Hiya Hiya’s have a perfect score as far as I am concerned. Oh, and aren’t these little yarn-ball markers just the cutest thing?  They came in a little red squeeze-opening “dumpling” case I photographed lying here beside my in-progress knitting.

Silk Lace Cross in progress in Hiya Hiya knitting needles

p.s. The project in progress shown on the needles is the  ornate scalloped edge #A98 Lace Cross pattern design, now available from HeartStrings. The yarn shown is Tilli Tomas Demi Plié silk color Atmosphere.

Lace Cross – my newest HeartStrings pattern

I wanted to share with you, my friends, a little announcement about Lace Cross, my latest HeartStrings pattern. This ornate cross can be used as a bookmark, communion gift, mounted and framed, or a thoughtful Christian token of friendship.

Lace Crosses (unbeaded to left, beaded version to right)
Lace Crosses (unbeaded to left, beaded version to right)

Right now, it is available as pdf or hard-copy pattern. I am thinking of offering as a kit, too. But first I’ll see if there is interest in kits or just the pattern where people can select their own yarn and (optional) beads.

These crosses work up very quickly. They are knitted as a wide lace strip and then shaped using an interesting seamless construction. The pattern includes both the basic set of instructions for the version without the beads, and also a beaded cast on version.

I’ll be announcing this new pattern in the upcoming November dealer newsletter, but wanted to give everyone a heads up earlier than that  for the gift-making and gift-giving season that we’re already getting into.

2-color Lace Cross
Lace Cross (cast on row and shape-as-you-go bind off in contrast color)