On knitting lace

The project highlighted in our post entitled Knitting Lace is now done. Joanna has been working on this wedding shawl for our daughter Celia; its structure is based on traditional Estonian lace patterns and is made from nearly ¾ of a mile of 2-ply, lace weight, hand-spun yarn made from the fleece of a three-year old Shetland ewe.

For knitters, lace presents its own challenges and rewards. For one thing, it is less forgiving than other knits. If you drop a stitch or accidentally omit an increase or decrease in plain knitting and don’t notice it for a few rows, it is still pretty easy to fix. Mistakes in lace are often very difficult to fix after-the-fact, which usually leads to backtracking, ripping out down to the mistake and knitting it over. On the other hand, mistakes in lace are usually easy to catch within a couple of rows, when the pattern doesn’t align properly.

While being knitted, a lace fabric is generally a bunchy, unprepossessing object. It doesn’t really bloom until it has been blocked,  dampened, and pinned to dry in its finished shape. Then suddenly the pattern appears in all its intricacy.

Shetland wool is ideal for lace knitting. Its long-staple makes it possible to spin it very finely into a nice, even, lace-weight yarn, and the resulting fabric, whether knitted or woven, has high luster and surprising softness. It is no accident that the legendary ring shawls, so fine they can be passed through a wedding ring, were traditionally knit with Shetland wool.

The gallery below is comprised of a number of  images showing the finished shawl . Hovering an image will reveal its title; clicking an image will take you to a carousel view and you can then move forward and back as you choose. ESC will bring you back to the gallery view.

I will close with a note concerning the images which appear on this Pairodox Farm blog. All photos are taken using point-n-shoot cameras (Nikon’s COOLPIX p7000 and Sony’s DSC HX9V); post processing is done using Gimp V2.6.

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