Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Casting On

I keep telling everyone that my next doily is going to be the Maiglockenflor doily from Gloria Penning's Old World Treasures booklet.

I keep getting distracted by other patterns. In case you don't have Old World Treasures, the photo on the left is not Maiglockenflor.

It's a routine by now. Dithering is part of the process. I look through my patterns, trying to decide what to knit next. I come up with a couple of candidates and make working copies of the charts. I decide what I'm going to knit, and perhaps which one will be next after that.

And then, just before I begin, some other pattern catches my eye. How have I never noticed it before? It's so cute! And here's some thread in a suitable color, about the right amount for the doily.

Grab the needles. Cast on. And I'm off, on some totally unplanned adventure.

I had planned to pause here a moment for a dissertation on doily cast-ons. However, I'm probably the only person who is reading this blog at the moment. I'll wait until some future doily post. If you, my imaginary reader(s), are here now and really care, you can no doubt find some great stuff in the archives of any mailing list that deals with lace knitting.

Anyway. Back to my current adventure.

As you can tell from the photo at the top of this post, it's a smaller version of the doily on the cover of the blue Japanese doily book that Lacis just reprinted (Knitted Lace Designs of the Modern Mode, Bk 1, by Kazuko Ichida). The doily has no name as far as I can tell. I feel fairly comfortable in attributing this pattern to Herbert Niebling and/or his design house. It has a leaf motif that shows up in many of his patterns. The inner flower is also typical of his style, with crossed stitches outlining the petals.

The doily is circular, with 8 pattern repeats per round. It has 72 rounds plus a couple of rounds of crocheting to finish off. The knitting is very soothing and easy. The stitch count is not tediously excessive. It runs fairly close to the standard 4 stitches/round. The only tricky part is all the crossed stitches in the early rounds of the pattern. They were finished while the doily was still on the dpn's. The rest of the pattern uses only basic maneuvers -- knit, twisted knit, yarnover, right-leaning decrease, left-leaning decrease, and double decrease. The intermediate rounds are plain knitting, no twisted knits or double yarnovers or anything like that.

The charting style is Burda/Beyer, which I find very easy to knit from. The text is in German. It's the standard doily construction, no deep understanding necessary.

I had planned that this doily would last me for at least a week. I'm trying very hard to get a sweater knitted for myself before the weather turns too cold. This doily was supposed to be for odd intervals when I was in the mood.

This doily is so quick and fun that it has distracted me from my other projects. I've finished the knitting and will do the cast-off in the next session. It's taken me only a few days.

The cast-off consists of two rounds of crocheting. The first round is pretty standard -- group some stitches into a single crochet, and chain a loop between each group. The second round calls for putting a single crochet into two loops, and chaining some stitches between. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to do the second round of crocheting.

This doily will be a good test of my ability to maintain a blog. I want to take before, during, and after photos of the blocking. Will it happen? We shall see!

Even though I'm distracted, I am making progress on my other projects. I do my self-assigned quota on the sweater, then go do some more doily knitting. I'm also keeping up with my self-assigned quota on my shawl between bouts of doily progress.

I am no longer claiming that Maiglockenflor will be my next doily project. Someday I'll fall madly in lust with it while preparing to cast on a different project. Then it will be on the needles and started before I know it. But for now, I do not think that it will be the next project. I'm not even going to jinx myself by making any plans at all.

I do like my other projects. The shawl is fun. The sweater will be useful. The scarf is pretty. I'll introduce them more fully in later posts.

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