Archive for the ‘Patterns – Lace’ Category

Barton Park: Colinton Angoras, Colinton 2000 Lace Weight

May 14, 2011

I just finished a new design in time for TNNA in June. It is a triangular shawl worked from the back neck down. The shawl was actually inspired by a call for submissions from one of my favorite publishers, who is doing a Jane Austen themed publication. I chose Sense and Sensibility, as we have the movie and I enjoy the story. This is one of her first (maybe the first published) novels. In the movie, the Dashwood sisters wear these beautiful everyday shawls, and so I decided to do a shawl utilizing some very old stitch patterns.

Barton Park, by JoLene Treace

Barton Park

I had participated in the Great Wall of Yarn for TNNA last June, and swatched the design in Colinton 2000 from Colinton Angoras.

Many designers I know help knit swatches for the Great Wall of Yarn, a special display at TNNA (the June trade show). It gives the shop owners and industry attendees an opportunity to see the yarns in the display worked up, and it gives the designers more visibility.

I was delighted when I received Colinton Angoras lace weight to swatch, as I had asked for lace weight yarn. I had not picked a yarn for this design yet. they liked the swatch and the result is that I have found another wonderful company to work with.

The yarn has a beautiful luster, and is springy and lively. It is amazing how it looks when blocked compared to when knit. When the knitting is in progress in any lace, you have to see it pinned out to appreciate it’s’ beauty. The yarn itself felt nice in the hand and was easy to work with. I have other ideas in mind for this yarn, and will of course share them here when they are done.

I pinned it out to 72 inches wide along the top of the shawl, and 33 inches from the top to the bottom point.

Design Process: Forest Park Dresser Scarf

March 17, 2007

Hot of the design table, here is Forest Park…a dresser scarf knit out of Suri Elegance (a laceweight alpaca). This design was submitted to Storey Publishing, for the call for submissions for the second One Skein Wonder book. The design came about from my desire to have a piece of lace for my dresser, that would be antique looking as well as modern.Forest Park Dresser Scarf

I took for my inspiration the works of Frank Lloyd Wright, as seen in Oak Park, Illinois, and River Forest, Illinois. His first home and studio (as an adult, married man) was built in Oak Park, and this home as well as many of his other early works can be seen in this neighborhood.

His early works were not in the Prairie style, but were more in the prevailing style of the day. His work evolved into what we know as Prairie Style. There was a connection between the home and the land it was situated on in Wright’s style. His own home overlooked what was in the time it was built undeveloped prairie.

In choosing a yarn, I wanted something that was delicate and airy, so I knew I would want a true lace weight yarn. I also wanted a luxurious natural fiber. The natural fiber would be necessary as a design element in that it reflected the aesthetic of the Prairie Style that Wright pioneered. Since this was a decidedly elegant and fancy piece, in that it is finery for my dresser, I wanted it to have a bit of an opulent feel. The lace weight Alpaca thus satisfied the need for a natural fiber and the luxurious feel that was wanted. The yarn has a little bit of a fuzz as well, which gives it a different feel than if it had been a slick yarn such as silk. It is at once elegant and casual, and fits in perfectly in my 100+ year old home.

The fuzz gives it a warmth that fits in well here. If I had a sleek modern apartment, I would probably have gone with silk, depending on my furnishings. This will eventually come out in pattern, whether it appears in the new book or not. I have not heard back yet whether it will be included or not. A lot depends on what other items are going to be in the book, as a submission may be beautiful but just not fit with the other items that were chosen. I will let you know when it will be out, but until then you can enjoy the picture.

Design Discussion: Three Flowers

January 31, 2007

Three FlowersThis handknitting pattern has three lace scarves. Much like Elizabeth I, it has stitch patterns that are both easy to get in the rhythm of, yet satisfying in the end result. When I worked on this design, I wanted to offer essentially the next step in lace knitting. Edgings other than garter stitch. Don’t get me wrong, I like garter stitch. I use it quite a bit as I think it a versatile stitch. Really, I think the best edging is one which complements the design the best. Some designs need a simple treatment, and some need something more.

For inspiration, I looked again to nature and thought of what I enoy. I love looking at flowers, and I am essentially a homebody. I live in a wonderful old house (100 years old) and live on 2 acres in the city of Fort Wayne. We have a wonderful property, with lots of wildlife. Birds, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, deer. And some really wonderful old fashioned flowers and wild flowers. Pulmonaria, Lilly of the Valley, Day Lillies, Hostas, Flowering trees, wild berries, Lilacs. We have a large Saucer Magnolia near the front of the house.

So I wanted to pick things which were feminine, old fashioned, yet up to date. I opted for three flowers in my yard as inspiration. The Saucer Magnolia, the Day Lillies, and the wild Violets in the yard.

The Saucer Magnolia has large, waxy blooms which appear in early spring. The stitch pattern I used has a large repeat, and makes me think of the simple shapes of blooms on the naked branches. The tree leafs out after it blooms. This is a simple stitch pattern with round shapes, and it is not a fussy pattern which fits the Saucer Magnolia. Stately elegance was the feel I was after. It is feminine, too, and I decided a little ruffle would be a nice touch. I did not want to add your typical pointed type edging as I felt that did not give the feel I wanted. I wanted something that made me think of Mint Juleps, and porch swings. The hospitality of the country, with a bit of stately elegance mixed in. The traditional pointed edgings felt too formal for the feel I wanted, and the ruffled edge gave it the feel I wanted. This design is an example of how something can be inspired by an object and yet not be obviously visible. A very abstract approach, as it deals with how something feels, rather than the shape.Magnolia

The Tiger Lilly pattern is an example (as is the final design in the pattern) and example of an overall shape being the main expression of the inspiration.  Day Lillies are a bit exotic. Even the wild Tiger Lillies which we see in the country. There are some at the edge of our property, near a narrow trickle of a creek. In this design, what I focused on was not the bloom, but the seed pods. The stitch pattern echoes the shapes of the seed pods, as well as other parts of the plant. The plant also as long stems, and long leaves. This needed a simple border, as I had picked simple, strong shapes. It simply would not have felt like a Lilly to me if it was too fussy. So I trimmed it in garter stitch, which would fade into the background, much as the foliage fades into the background and plays a supporting role to the flower.

The final design, Sweet Violet, is for the wild violets in my yard…sweet, wild, and cheerful. This stitch pattern is the least abstract of all, as the lace pattern really mimics the 5 petaled Violet. This design, with it’s old fashioned inspiration, needed an appropriate old fashioned edging. One that would support the design and not detract from it. I picked a simple edging that has an angular feel to it, as repetition in design elements ties elements together so they look like they belong.

I know I have talked about this before, but don’t be afraid to choose what you like. I sometimes hear talk about “pushing the envelope” in design. I actually have heard this in relation to the choice of edging treatments in lace. If you are choosing garter stitch because you feel that is the best choice of treatment for what you want to do, say or communicate…there is nothing wrong with that choice. You truly ARE pushing the boundaries of design by not putting an “edging” on every piece of lace because that is how it is finished.

Form follows function, and that is true in good design as well. But there will always be personal choice involved. If your personal vision or inspiration for your project feels like it needs something different, by all means make the choice you feel best for your design. I have used the term organic unity before in reference to design choices, and it is one I strive for myself. That point at which nothing can be added or subtracted to a design without affecting how “complete” the design is. A design can have a simple garter stitch border or an intricate edging and have organic unity…it depends on what the inspiration is, what you want to communicate, how you want it to feel. That is the difference between Art and Craft. Craft chooses garter stitch because it is utilitarian. Art chooses garter stitch because as a design element, it supports the design.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene

Design Discussion: Squirrel Monkey

December 16, 2006

Squirrel MonkeyThis is a woman’s pullover knit with Interlacements Toasty Toes. Finished chest measurements are 36, 40, 44, 48, and 52 inches. This is a nice project for knitters who want something a little different and a little classic at the same time. It features cables and lace, and I am currently looking at sizing it for men. Interlacements has told me that there has been some interest in a men’s garment with this design.

This design is from a collection inspired by animals at our local zoo. I mentioned this collection in the post on Zambesi River (a lace gaban for women). I love looking at the colors and textures of flora and fauna. Often when something catches my eye other things start coming to my mind which influence design choices too. I have often said the imagination is just as valid with design decisions as more objective points of reference. It is our imagination which colors our own inner landscape and helps create meaning.

In the case of this particular design, the inspiration was a small and delicate monkey known as a Squirrel Monkey. This particular monkey has some striking coloring mixed in with your drab browns, which range from bright orange to yellow to cream. This monkey is native to virgin and secondary forests of South America. They are typically one of the most peaceful of the primates.

In this design I decided to focus more on the delicate appearance of this monkey, and the playfulness of monkeys. Here is where the imagination comes in, as I had this picture in my mind of these little monkeys careening about in the forest.

I love combinations that are a little different, and when I saw the stitch pattern in one of the Barbara Walker stitch pattern books, I knew it would be perfect. Cables and lace, that tilt back and forth.  I also knew that I wanted a finer gauge yarn since I wanted to keep the delicate feel, so I decided to look for a yarn that was not any heavier than a DK weight. I saw Interlacements Toasty Toes at Stitches in the Olive colorway and knew it would be perfect for this design. It is a Sport to DK weight yarn, and I loved the varigation of the yarn. It has a little yellow in it, and the variation in the greens is enough to enhance the design rather than detract from the stitch work. It made me think of the leafy canopy these little monkey’s play in. The yarn has excellent stitch definition and a nice soft hand.

You will notice how the design has simple garter stitch bands. There are some that don’t care for garter stitch, but it is a stitch that I really like. In this case, it provides a nice non-rolling band to a garment that has a lot going on already between the varigated yarn and the busy stitch pattern. Part of good design is knowing when to stop with the detail, so that not every part of the design commands the same amount of attention. Not every piece of knitting needs to have a lot of detail. The important thing in choosing how much detail you are going to add lies in what you want for your knitting. That is the most important factor of all, what you like and what has meaning for you.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene

Design Discussion: Charlotte

November 5, 2006

Charlotte This stole was knit out of 2/8 Organic Fingering Weight from Black Water Abbey. The name of the pattern is Charlotte. The stitch patterns are traditional Shetland Lace patterns, and it is worked on a garter stitch ground with a garter stitch border.

The impetus for this design was to introduce knitters who have not done a lot of lace to more traditional types of lace. There is a scarf and a stole in this pattern, and one can start with the scarf and become familiar with working in pattern on both odd and even rows in a more simple version of the stole, and then move on to the stole.

When designing this stole, one of the traditional stitch patterns used had the word spider in the title. So I of course thought of Charlotte’s Web, a delightful children’s book. There have been many analogies between knitting lace and spider webs, so it seemed fitting to name it Charlotte.

This design to me pushes the boundaries as far as what is expected. What is expected is an edging, rather than a simple garter stitch border. In this situation I did not want an edging as I wanted to keep it simple. You, however, may add one if you wish. Sometimes less is more, to me. And I have said before, that form follows function. This is knit out of a weight of yarn that would have been a hap shawl (an everyday shawl). I would perhaps put an edging on it if I was knitting it out of a fine lace weight. But the fingering weight works well with the simple clean lines the garter stitch border gives it. I simply don’t think it needs an edging.

There is a point in any piece of art, where the design has achieved what is called organic unity. It is at that point that nothing can be taken away, design wise, without adversely affecting the composition. It is also at the point where anything that is added is superfluous. This is the point of balance that I strive for.

When making these choices for yourself, only you can decide whether what you are knitting needs “more”. Don’t be afraid to add simple edgings to pieces like this, if you want one. They are simple to learn.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene

The Design Process: Fox Island

October 24, 2006

Fox Island Ladies Lace VestThis lace knitting pattern is for ladies finished chest width 19, 21, 23, 25, 27 inches. It has average ease, and is 22, 22.5, 23, 23.5, 24 inches inches long. The sample garment was knit with Black Water Abbey 2/8 organic Fingering Weight yarn.

Fox Island was actually inspired by a nature reserve near my home in Fort Wayne. The stitch pattern was chosen because it looks like little fox heads lined up, peaking out at you. You don’t see them right away but they’re there, watching and waiting.

This is an example where the stitch pattern itself led to the inspiration of the design. It works that way sometimes, where I am trying a stitch pattern in a swatch and I look at it and one thought or feeling leads to another. Thoughts and feelings about things, as well as our own imagination, are powerful inspirations and a good starting point for a design.

As it has a very natural inspiration, the qualities of the yarn it was knit with were perfect in representing the inspiration. That is not to say that you could not use any other fingering weight yarn you wish…it would be wonderful in a fingering weight cashmere too. For my interpretation, my repeating the story back to you, it set the mood for how I wanted to express it.

As always, if you like it and would prefer a different finish (different yarn) by all means choose something you love to knit it with.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene

Design Discussion: Zambesi River

October 15, 2006

Zambesi RiverI have a project that has been on the back burner for some time. It is an idea for a book, and I have perhaps 30 different designs for handknitting. Fairisle, texture, lace. Men, Women, and Children.

All of the designs are inspired by animals at our local zoo, ranked in the top 10 zoo’s in the country and also an award winning world class children’s zoo. You won’t know the inspiration is a particular animal (see the discussion on Through the Woods Cardigan), although seeing a picture of the garment with a picture of the animal which inspired the design, well most of the time even husbands who don’t knit and are left brained can see it (ask me how I know).

Zambesi River is a design that I decided not to include in that collection, although I wanted to do a pattern with it. The woman in the picture is my mother. What is behind the design are Zebras. The Zambesi River is part of the natural habitat for the breed of Zebra at our zoo.

This animal is so strongly geometrical. How can you keep the stripes without being a stereotype? When dealing with a subject like this, figureing out how to keep it from being a cliche is no easy matter.

ZebraThe first thing I did was choose the yarn. I wanted it to have a little more of a rustic feel, yet still have an elegant drape. While I truly believe this would be beautiful in any yarn, for the initial garment I knew Marilyn King (Black Water Abbey Yarns) would have the perfect yarn in her new fingering weight yarn, 2/8 weight organic. It had the drape I wanted without being either over-processed or something like silk. This is, after all, an animal in the veldt. And, this is in a natural color, an organic yarn, and is not black and white (that would have been too strong a cliche).

Next, I picked a lace pattern that made me think of the Zebras as it is also strongly geometrically marked in stripes, and in the yarn it was knit with it has a a wonderful Safari feel. I love it. It has the garter stitch border done in a contrasting color using intarsia techniques, although if you do not do intarsia, you can do the whole thing in one color. The intarsia method gives it a little more sophistication, another layer of detail. And, the garter stitch though a humble stitch, is the perfect foil for the stitch pattern.

This one is carried by most of my vendors.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene