This baby blanket was a double bed knit on a Passap machine, inspired by the woven patterns found in early American coverlets. Blue, red, and white are in use. Because of the knitting technique as colors knit one at a time the alternate colors “bleed through”, giving the illusion of more or even different colors.
After hand washing the piece, blocking wires and pins were used to help it retain desired shape while drying. Its final measurements in inches are 20W by 68L, its weight 3.25 oz. Steaming alone helped stabilize stitches for corrections and is often enough for many pieces in terms of blocking, but flattened the surface excessively in this case. Texture returned and became more apparent with the use of the former method. In the image below the center, pivoting point of the mirrored pattern is evident.
The first half of the shawl as it appears on the machine in the process of being knit after several false starts. Gaping holes were typical of potential stitch “drops”. Yarn was knit at loose tension for the effect, in turn resulting in gate peg issues at intervals, but tolerated the lace transfers and hook up problems without breaking, an absolute necessity in a piece such as this. Studio brand ribber comb provided the best source of even weight.
MacKnit was a very short lived American machine knitting magazine (1980s). In Number 5, beginning on page 40, Susanna published a lace shawl pattern that included several transfer lace types. Garment shaping was achieved through an intriguing series of triangles joined during the knitting of them. Using her lace graphs, so far I have the resulting swatches below. There are 2 errors I need to sort out; the fabric is intriguing. The top pattern rows become the triangular edging. The yarn that finally “worked” for me was the Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk blend from Webs.
The swatches were very quickly steamed. Lace is one of those fabrics that actually require “real” blocking for best results. Some hand-tooling is mixed in the repeats, stitch formation needs to be constantly checked. Will sort out problem areas, then see where that takes me while keeping any first project as simple as possible.
Winter inventory was completed long ago. I live in the northeast which has had a notoriously snowy winter. Many an hour has been spent in snow removal, few hours knitting anything “new”. I have completed some hand knitting projects, and as one, I attempted re-knitting a lace shawl successfully completed multiple times before. Having trouble tracking its complicated pattern, I journeyed back to taking “another look” at machine knit lace. Multiple transfer lace on the machine can be slow, tedious, and requires patience in the original setup, as one must have yarn that tolerates transfer across fixed metal parts without breaking and the “perfect” weight to allow stitches to knit off properly. Though I like designing my own stitch patterns this is not anything I am ready to do in lace.
The first foray in my explorations resulted from a discussion on a knitting yahoo group I belong to with regards to a lace chart published at redlipstick.net (website was later deleted).
Below are images of the resulting fabric:
purl side knit side
While procrastinating returning to production knitting for the spring season I found myself inspired by Judy Perez’s Fiesta ornaments and have made my first attempts at metal embossing, adding them as elements in my postcard sized fabric collages, which in turn combine knits, needle felting, needlework techniques, and objects from a stash of accumulated “stuff’. Here are 2 of the results:
These are my first two attempts at needle felting on random swatches remaining from machine knit experiments. Both pieces measure “postcard” 4X6 inches. The scale restriction requires thinking in a new way for me, and provides a different way to play with my yarn stash and found objects. It is not clear if any of these techniques will be incorporated into my clothing and accessories, or simply be an end in themselves. Collage lace with some of the same fibers is also on my list of “must try”.