Archive for the ‘beads’ Category

A new pattern now available from Ravelry and my website:

A luxurious crescent shawl inspired by the opulence of ancient Egyptian jewelry.
The color scheme of gold and precious stones is echoed in dibadu’s handpainted 100% silk yarn, Seda Encantada.
The yarn is held double; each color comes in two 50g skeins of slightly different colorways, adding depth and richness when held together.
Knit with three colors: 094 red, 116 yellow and 124 blue. The yarn is available from dibadu.de

Some scenes from around Dublin:


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The Irish Lace Museum also has a shop crammed with costumes, bonnets, doilies and shawls – two pieces of knitting stood out – a very fine shetland triangle knit in ultra-gossamer yarn that felt like a mixture of wool and silk (unfortunately very difficult to get a good photograph):

shetland shawl
the border of the shawl:
shetland shawl 2

A starched doily in a fascinating pattern which turns up on Ravelry under different names:

large doily
sheelin museum
near the museum, Florence Court House, is open to the public.
the Chrysler, 1925:
florence court chrysler 1925
a favourite dog:
florence court dog

servants’ quarters:
florence court broom

florence court wall

a spectacular Japanese Maple in the grounds:
red japanese maple

red japanese maple2

red japanese maple3

red japanese maple4

red japanese maple5
florence court walled garden

progress on sari:
sari 3
web in a window that needs to be washed:
window web

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Weathered hoardings:

Second version of new pattern (a third is blocking):

Poppy suffering effects of awful weather:

Howth – a seal swimming out to greet a boat:

spot the dog:

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More Romeo Gigli, and some Alexander McQueen, who worked in Gigli’s studio before studying design in London.
The model in the ads is Kirsten Owen photographed by Paolo Roversi.

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Approximate pronunciation: Ro-MAY-o JEEL-yee
These images are recent photos of brochures which were available in the Romeo Gigli shop in Milan in the early nineties.
Summer 1990:

Winter 1991:

More images

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Test knitters make life much easier for me – in the case of BSM there was no way I could have done a second sample to illustrate the simpler border after all the time I spent on the first one.

Here are the two test knits of the unfringed version, both quite different from mine:

The first is from Alex (Winterstitch on Ravelry) who has done lots of excellent test knitting for me, including Blackbird and Europa. It’s made with Colourmart 100% Extrafine Merino Laceweight which is possibly finer than the Titan Wool Merinos Extra that I used for the original version. The yarn choice seems to have added a shimmering ethereality to this one.

The second, beautifully knit and modelled by Lyn (ladyinlotus on Ravelry), is made with DyeForYarn Tussah Silk Lace, which looks like a slightly heavier yarn, as the garter stitch texture of the border is more apparent. Lyn added extra beads to the border – nine on each point instead of one. (Lyn is notable as one of the few knitters to have completed a Gilded Shoulderette.)

Thank you both for this invaluable help (and for the lovely pictures)! – it’s given me the freedom to get on with other projects in the meantime.

I’ve had a couple of enquiries about the Estonian linen – it’s from a shop called Pronski Longapood in Tallinn (that’s a Ravelry link, it doesn’t seem to have a website). It’s a big department store with a basement full of crafts and a big selection of yarn – the linen was available in a wide range of colours. There were also a couple of smaller shops in Tallinn specialising in linen and flax products which had cones of linen yarn in natural colours. There was a little wooden church on one of the Estonian islands which was insulated with wads of matted flax fibres.

Kerry asked about the Bart and Francis yarns – unfortunately I didn’t actually get to see them that time in London, so I remain intrigued, and hope to see them some day.

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BSM pics

Here are some more photos from the development of the BSM.

The early ones date back to January, and show the start of the knitting of the sample shawl. There was a previous round of swatching to establish the best cast on method, the rate of increasing and positioning of the increases, the rate of zig-zagging of the zig zags and where the zig zags should begin relative to the increases, and which stitches should be knit through the back loop, etc. The charts went through a number of revisions, and the knitting went smoothly once the increases and the zig-zags were synchronised gracefully. Beads were initially added along the increasing edge, but have been removed from the final pattern.

A couple of the photos show the knitting-on of the knitted-on edging – my first time attempting such a feat – and it took a couple of attempts to establish a graceful transition from the corner point into the border chart – once this work was done, the knitting was straightforward, but relatively slow – working the fringe is time-consuming, and as usual I wondered why it’s so difficult for me to keep things simple – but I can’t help trying things out to see what will happen…

Then there was the question of how to approach the blocking – I used sewing thread, one length threaded through the beads on the fringe with a small sewing needle, and a second through the outer yarn overs along the increasing edge. Unfortunately (as mentioned in a previous post) it became clear post-blocking that the beaded fringes were incompatible with their adjacent yarn overs, and it seemed that the pattern would have to be reluctantly added to the scrapheap of failed experiments!  But inspiration intervened in the form of the sewn on extra beading. Again, there was some calculation necessary to establish the number of extra beads necessary to maintain the spacing of the fringes. This turned out to be a very enjoyable task, and a great use for materials left over from previous projects. Also, the unexpected little dashes of colour and the extra weight along the lower edge add significantly to character of the shawl.

It seemed like a good idea to include a simpler option for the knitted-on edge – so a final round of swatching commenced. Two wonderful test knitters are knitting this simpler version at the moment.

The story of this pattern is not entirely typical, but hopefully it conveys some idea of the time and effort – the combination of finding and interpreting a theme, inspiration, research, sketching, choice of materials, swatching, calculations, experimentation, risk-taking, chance, persistence, frogging and knitting – that is compressed into my pattern pdf’s in their final published form.

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BSM is finished – just need to double check the bead quantities, and fine tune the pdf –

I’m delighted that Seascape (below) is approaching 1,000 projects on Ravelry, and I’ve just started work on an interesting new version of it – details to follow…

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This selection includes Bavarian knees from the Hofbräuhaus, a ceiling from the Villa Stuck, Austrian snow scenes, sketches for improved beaded borders (plus me doing the sketches), and a little wool shop in Salzburg. I didn’t find any lace weight yarn in Munich or Salzburg – except for something that’s a bit like Kidsilk Haze – I bought some in red. I also got some blue Indian glass beads at the Ethnographic Museum, like size 8 seed beads but very irregular.

The other highlight of the trip was the Münchner Stadtmuseum with temporary exhibitions of Herlinde Koebl and Roger Ballen.

Thanks for all the comments on the BSM – its official name is Black Swan Mantilla. I’ve decided to go ahead and publish the fringed version, even though it’s a complex project, and goes completely against my resolution to keep things simple! I will include an easier border option.

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