Category Archives: Heirloom Lace Doily Placemats

Maine Bound Knitting

Visiting our friends in York, ME has become a mid-July event where we combine great friends, ocean air, good food and knitting. 

As a surprise, I brought my friend Amanda the set of Heirloom Lace Placemats. Unfortunately, I miscalculated my knitting time and was shy of finishing the last placemat. Despite my efforts to knit on the bus, I wasn’t able to finish in time. I still wrapped the blocked mats and plain black napkins as a house warming gift. To further complicate matters, I ran out of black yarn so that I had to rip back a few rows to make the mats match.

While the placemats make a decorative home-related gift, I found that knitting four of the same pattern got boring. I would suggest using related lace patterns in the same color yarn as a variation.

While the weather was uncooperative for a summer weekend at the beach, we used it as an excuse for heading up to Bath, ME to check out Halcyon Yarns. Halcyon Yarns is a great haven for fiber artists. It’s like a clean warehouse chock full of various fibers and related tools. The sales folks are really knowledgeable about the intricacies of knitting. Plus there’s a room filled with books like a small knitting library.

There’s so much wonderful yarn that it’s difficult to decide what to buy. I was swayed by a small producer named Swan’s Island which is a real location off the coast of Maine. My family stayed there for a summer when I was a child. I bought a skien of a blue-green sock yarn to make a shawl with.  Additionally, I bought a couple of books on making gurnseys which were difficult to buy elsewhere. That too was a hard choice but the women who helped me tracked down the books that they thought were best including a small one from the UK.

 

Welcome to Halcyon Yarns - Bath, ME

Welcome to Halcyon Yarns - Bath, ME

Outside Halcyon Yarns

Outside Halcyon Yarns

Knitted Garments on Show at Halcyon Yarns

Knitted Garments on Show at Halcyon Yarns

Swan Island Organic Merino at Halcyon Yarns

Swan Island Organic Merino at Halcyon Yarns

Isles of yarn-eye candy

Isles of yarn-eye candy

To my surprise, we made a stop on the way back at Tess Yarns. For anyone who hasn’t had the joy of experiencing the lush hand dyed colors, I strongly recommend a visit to the shop or a yarn festival. While the price of many of the types of yarns can be rather dear, there are some well priced yarns such as the merino superwash. My biggest challenge is finding enough yarn of the color I want. This trip I kept being attracted to by the same greens I bought at Halcyon. 

 

Tess Designer Yarns -Portland, ME

Tess Designer Yarns -Portland, ME

Welcome to Tess Yarns

Welcome to Tess Yarns-Weren't you here last summer?

 

Color, color & more color abound at Tess Yarns

Color, color & more color abound at Tess Yarns

 

 

 

In the end, I did something that I rarely do. I bought a single skein of a wonderful purple/magenta sock yarn for a small shawl. Despite searching the entire store, three wasn’t another skein to be had. In addition, I bought two other skeins of a blue for another shawl or short sleeve top. (I must confess that I have several other purchases from Tess lurking near the bottom of my stash waiting to be knitted.)

On the way back to York, we stopped for a wonderful lobster roll by the side of the highway out of Portland. It was a cute stand where we were the only patrons (which was no surprise since it was late by the time we finished shopping.)

 

Lobster Roll near the Portland Maine coast

Lobster Roll near the Portland Maine coast

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Heirloom Lace Doily Placements on Long Beach

 

Knitting on Long Beach, NY

Knitting on Long Beach, NY

After being stalled on the train home from Montauk last weekend, my husband wasn’t up for making the trek out to the beach. Instead we went to Long Beach which is about an hour from New York City. This still allows us to get out of the city and experience the sandy beaches of Long Island without the 3+ hour train ride. The downside of Long Beach which is a short few block walk from the train station is that there is no delightful yarn store in the middle of town like Purl by the Sea. 

Since the Heirloom Lace Doily Placemats are a gift, I am on a deadline to finish them. While I set myself lots of deadlines with my knitting, I don’t like to feel pressured to knit something. Life’s too full of pressures to add to them voluntarily! 

Despite this, I’m knitting like a fiend to finish these mats. I think that the second sleeve of sweaters and the second socks are boring…with this set of placemats there are 4 of them!

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor in Chief

Shiri Mor’s Botanica Medallion Sweater from Vogue Knitting

   

Shiri Mors Botanica Medallion on Vogue Knitting Cover

 

Shiri Mor's Botanica Medallion on Vogue Knitting Cover

When I started knitting lace doilies, one of my friends suggested that I check out the pattern on the cover of Vogue Knitting Summer 2009. It’s an unusual pattern by Shiri Mor. It’s more of a vest than a sweater. It consists of a center circle knit in the round like a doily and a separate border knitted with a variety of lace stitches so that it is larger at the outer edge than the inner edge. 

 

Interestingly, the sample is knit in Blue Sky Skinny Dyed Cotton for summer wearing. Given the way that the pattern is knit, it is a strong candidate for a Noro type yarn which would add a wonderful pattern to the center and stripes to the outer circle.

When I first thought about doing the top, I wanted to combine several colors. I wanted to use the watery blues and greens that have been showcased in Eileen Fisher’s windows on Fifth Avenue this spring.

Due to the fact that I’ve been on a yarn diet (of course, those of you who are regular readers know that I allow myself yarn treats and occasional splurges like MDSW and Webs Tent Sale.)  Therefore I decided to use some Tahki Cotton Classic from my stash. The 4 1/2 balls of white Tahki Cotton Classic (or 432+ yards) that I got at a yarn swap  wasn’t enough to make the top.  Combined with one or two other colors, it was a good start.

Tahki Cotton Classic in White, Aqua and Blue-Green

Tahki Cotton Classic in White, Aqua and Blue-Green

After studying the Botanica Medallion pattern, I realized that it was difficult to adapt to multiple colors in the way that a vintage doily might be. Therefore, I bought 5 skeins of aqua at Purl By the Sea (or 540 yards) in Montauk.

Flower Medallion of Shiri Mor's Vogue Cardi

Flower Medallion of Shiri Mor's Vogue Cardi

32 rows of Botanica Medallion in Tahki Cotton Classic

32 rows of Botanica Medallion in Tahki Cotton Classic

While it’s a rare event that I get gauge (of course, I was using needles that were 2 sizes smaller), I set out to knit the  medallion centerpiece of the sweater. After knitting about 34 rows of the 54 rows needed, I realized that, while my gauge was on target, the piece even after blocking was way too small to work for me.

Given that the centerpiece of the Botanica Medallion consists of close stocking knit and reverse stocking knit, I chose not to increase the needle size to make the piece larger. Also, I am using 100% cotton which should be knitted tightly for garments. Therefore, I decided to look for another doily to use in lieu of the flower / starfish pattern medallion of Mor’s piece. 

Having made several different doilies, I estimate that I will need a pattern with about 70 rows. Although a pattern which allows me the flexibility to add more rows to reach my goal is optimal. Further, it’s important to take blocking into consideration. For example, my Heirloom Doily Placemats grew from 15″ to 17″ in diameter when they were blocked. I assume that the piece will grow about 10-20% due to blocking the lace (which is different from non-lace blocking.)

While some of you dear readers might be upset at this change, I am thrilled since it will allow me to use a variety of colors and to have a unique design at the center. I am thinking about making the border striped but I am not sure that I will like the color changes. I will need to test knit them.

P.S. For those NYC based knitters, Shiri Mor is teaching a class focused on making the Botanica Medallion at Knitty City.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns-Editor-in-Chief

Heirloom Lace Doily Placemats

Heirloom Lace Doily Placement for Breakfast 

 

Heirloom Lace Doily Placement for Breakfast

 

Heirloom Lace Doily Placemat in Cesari Wool

Heirloom Lace Doily Placemat in Cesari Wool

My Heirloom Lace Doily Placement project is half done! I am using a free heirloom lace pattern that I came across on Ravelry. I choice Liz Snella’s  pattern since it had natural breaks for color changes; also it has text and charts which are helpful.  

For color changes, there are areas where there are 3-4 rows of knitting which works well in the finished project. 

The one issue I have with the pattern is that a K3Tog is used where a slip 1 K2Tog PSSO would give a much nicer line which would be a good design feature.

While I am generally not one to make utilitarian projects or knitted items that require more than one, of late, I have been on a lace doily kick. My mind likes the way that the knitting goes round and round while the pattern slowly emerges.

I give a tip of my hat to Kay and Ann of Mason Dixon Knits for their exploration of ways to use your knitting to decorate your home and spread your love. With this project, I’m accomplishing both. 

I tried the Two Color Lace Doily which is another free lace pattern and knitted one and a half doilies but I found the pattern boring for what I wanted to do. When I tried modifying the pattern, I didn’t like it so I frogged it and started a new pattern.

In knitting, it’s important to know when to frog your work. I think that it’s better to frog something that you’re not happy with rather than let the unfinished piece nag you from the depths of your knitting bag. What do you think?

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Sunset on a Knitting-filled Fire Island Vacation

Good bye Fair Harbor Vacation

Good bye Fair Harbor Vacation

 

The end of vacations is always bitter sweet, especially summer ones on Fair Harbor’s car-free beach. While the weather wasn’t sunny and bright every day, it allowed us space to re-charge our batteries and get away from the everyday routine. 

One great advantage of vacation knitting is that you have a tangible reminder of your joy-filled hours of sitting by the beach adding stitch after stitch to your projects.  As I mentioned earlier, I like to have a few different projects to keep me busy and depending on other factors some may not be appropriate. For example, I brought the Black Malabrigo Fountain Pen Shawl which I’m making out of Malabrigo sock yarn. It was too thin to knit in the oceanside wind. (So much for finishing it on vacation!)

Some of the sunsets we experienced during our vacation. Sunsets in Fair Harbor are spectacular even if the weather has been poor. The third sunset occurred miraculously between thunderstorms.

Fair Harbor Bay Sunset

Fair Harbor Bay Sunset

Sunset on Fair Harbor with Sailboats

Sunset on Fair Harbor with Sailboats

Post-storm Sunset in Fair Harbor June 2009

Post-storm Sunset in Fair Harbor June 2009

Here’s the progress that I made during our Fire Island stay:

– Black Malabrigo Fountain Pen Shawl – Using  Malabrigo Sock Yarn bought at The Point NYC.  Source: Interweave Spring 2009. Finished 6 out of 10 repeats. Although given how the yarn is being used, I may add 1 or 2 repeats (if I have the stamina.) This pattern is relatively easy with only one nupp per 16 row pattern. It borders on being boring.

– Carnation Pink Nightsong Shawl – Using cobweb weight cashmere yarn from Silk City Fibers and a free online pattern. The pattern is interesting in that there is no center spine. It is probably better done with a single YO in the center but I decided to keep mine consistent. I like the way that the patterns expand and squeeze in. If the yarn wasn’t so TINY, I would probably be done with it. It hurts my eyes to do.

– Hemlock Ring Blankie – Using the pattern by Brooklyn Tweed, I am having fun with this project (although it out grew the needles while I was on vacation!) It turned out to be the perfect yarn for the weather. Thick enough to with stand the wind. I had fun changing colors. I finished 6 out of the Feather and Fan repeats. I think that it will look good once it’s done. It lays flat (unlike the sample in The Point).

– Heirloom Doily Placemats– I finished 1 1/3 of the Liz Snella Heirloom lace pattern using Cesari Wool. I think that this wool will hold up for this use. I find it rough on my hands. Also, since it’s not a very processed wool, there are bits of stuff that haven’t been cleaned out of the wool. (The plus for those who want to wear the yarn is that it has lanolin which helps for rain protection. (I also finished 1 1/3 of the Two Color Lace Doily which I frogged.)

-Green Mitered Tank Top – Out of a 100% cotton with a slub (which is great for those of us whose knit stitch isn’t perfect!) It’s a hospital green that seems to be in all of the windows along Fifth Avenue this spring/summer. The pattern is a Norah Gaughan from the Vogue Knit Summer 2009. It’s an under rated pattern since it is great for all types of figures. I finished the main knitting portion (I didn’t do any sewing, etc. on vacation.) I was very proud of myself for making the increases in the front following the mitered corner to look like darts. 

– Long Sleeve Linen in Grey, Beige , White – I think that I finished the front of this long sleeved ribbed sweater and plotted out the sleeves. It’s been taking WAY to long to finish but I’ve lost interest and keep plodding along. 

Do you keep track of your vacation knitting? Do you find that it gives you special joy? Please let me know in the comments section.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

 

 

Not Your Grandmother’s Antique Lace Doilies

Cestari Wool on Fair Harbor 

Cestari Wool on Fair Harbor

Of late, I have been drawn to old fashioned lace doilies. It’s not that I have a burning need for lace doilies or that I am redecorating every flat surface of my apartment with perfectly round circles of tiny little stitches of white knitting cotton. Rather it’s the way that the patterns emerge as you knit round and round. It’s the wonderful selection displayed on Ravelry and how others have used these designs in other areas such as baby blankets and shawls. 

As a result, I have spent more than my fair share of time looking at the work of other Ravelers who have shared their work online and patterns posted on free sites. While many of these patterns don’t have charts to accompany them, many of the patterns use only a small number of stitches which is relatively easy to chart. 

Using some wonderfully colored magenta, lavender and black wool from a small VA producer named Cestari that I acquired from a friend during a yarn swap, I am making a friend a set of 4 placemats since the wool feels itchy. It’s interesting that the wool still retains its lanolin which may be affecting my hands. I am using size 8 needles, double points at the center and then my Denises. The problem with the Denises is that there is a tendency for them to open. Fortunately, the wool grips itself so that I haven’t had dropped stitches!

Two Color Lace Doily in process

Two Color Lace Doily in process

Based on the lace doily in lavender that I made my friend Amanda, I decided that I would need about 60 rows to make a circular placemat. After looking through the lace doily patterns on Ravelry, I decided to make the two color lace pattern. I tried two times and found that the pattern didn’t lend itself to being adapted for my purposes, so I frogged two half complete versions. While the idea of using a pattern that was made for two colors was good, I found the pattern didn’t hold my interest. Also, it was ripply which I didn’t like either!

Heirloom Lace Doily - Do Over

Heirloom Lace Doily - Do Over

Heirloom Lace Doily on Fair Harbor Beach

Heirloom Lace Doily on Fair Harbor Beach

Instead, I decided to switch to the Liz Snella’s Heirloom Lace Doily. At the center, it’s similar to the Hemlock Ring Doily and Blanket. Since it has a couple of places where there are 4 rows of knit stitch, it’s good for switching colors. Also, it’s got both written instructions and charts. Being on vacation without access to a printer, I bookmarked the pattern on my computer so that I could use it.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief