Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Mommes Lysedug

The above photo is a close-up of the Mommes Lysedug doily pattern, does as a lap blanket or small circular shawl. The pattern is available here at Nurhanne's yarnover website. It is a design by Christine Duchrow. The basic motif and charts can be found in Volume III of the Lacis compilation of her work.

I did take a photo of the shawl on my bed. As you can tell, it is not a great photo. I was standing at an angle, the bed is not flat, and so on. The shawl/doily/blanket really is circular, I promise!

I knit this shawl from sport-weight yarn, Jaggerspun 3/8 Heather, to be exact. It was a lot of fun. I only had the text version of the pattern at the time I knit it. It was accurate and easy to follow. I think I found one very minor error which also turned out to be in the Duchrow charts for the pattern.

Since this is a Duchrow pattern, there are quirks that strike the modern doily knitter as being a bit odd. In particular, there's a section where there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for the decrease directions in the motifs. I never did get that straightened out to my satisfaction. I ended up knitting it as directed, and it worked out well enough.

Duchrow's doily designs were mostly intended to be knit with very fine thread. Decrease directions don't really matter when the thread is fine enough. A lot of her designs are a bit arbitrary about decrease directions as a result. I change decrease directions as needed according to my moods. It's not all that important most of the time. I try to stay consistent within a pattern, but don't worry too much beyond that.

This doily upsizes quite well. The 110-round pattern ended up giving me a doily close to 4 feet in diameter. It is a warm lap blanket and a small but quite adequate shawl. It drapes down to my elbow level, and it can be pinned in the front so that it stays on without effort.

As a lap blanket, it is quite successful. It works especially well for cuddling small children who are napping or who do not feel well. It would work as a baby blanket for similar reasons. (I won't get into the whole issue of whether eyelets are dangerous for babies.)

I've included two photos of the shawl on a local 10-yr-old. I've shown the back view and the side view. Two cats are in the photo for scale.

The shawl took about 8 ounces of yarn, almost exactly. I had 2 yards left (out of 740 yards) when I finished. I modified the crochet cast-off to use less yarn, which did indeed turn out to be necessary.

I used this for several years before I ever got around to blocking it.

More thoughts:

I like Jaggerspun Heather. I should buy more and use it for shawls or sweaters or lap afghans. It comes in a couple of different weights, not just sport weight.

Circular shawls are not the most practical shawl shape in existence. However, they work well enough. Since they are fun to knit, I put up with the impracticality.

This is a good size pattern for small shawls or lap blankets. Even with a short attention span, I can get it done before I get bored. Duchrow has plenty of other patterns that are similar in size and complexity.

Christine Duchrow uses an interesting stitch pattern in this doily. It's a (yarnover, slip 1, k2, pass slipped stitch over). It's offset on each pattern round. You can see it in the top photo, the closeup. It's quite decorative and fun to do. I've seen similar patterns under the name of Mrs. Hunter's pattern and a couple of other variants. It's a fairly uncommon stitch pattern for doilies, especially the ones I've seen from this time period. Herbert Niebling sometimes uses it, too.

Although the basic motifs for this doily are in the Lacis compilation, this exact pattern is not. Apparently, Duchrow's patterns were published in several different variations as well as several different languages. (The original for this was in Danish.) One version of a particular pattern pamphlet might contain slightly different doilies from another version. That intrigues me. Why was this done? What does it say about the European doily publishing business during the time these were being printed and sold? One of Duchrow's designing strengths was her ability to use a small set of motifs to create a variety of different but related doilies. How many more variations exist besides the ones in the Lacis book plus these other few that I'm aware of?

I'm sure I had more thoughts, but they seem to have abandoned me for the moment.

Sweater Progress

My plain gray sweater is almost finished. Getting past the decision point did turn out to get me past my knitting block. It's gone quickly since then. I hope I got the raglan yoke calculations right on my first try. If not, I'll have to rip and re-do some of it.

My yarn paranoia stood me in good stead. I'll probably have enough yarn left over to do another entire sweater. It will be somewhat different, since it would be rather silly to knit two identical play gray sweaters.

Should I do a fancy cabled vest? Although it's enticing, I don't wear vests.

Therefore, I'll probably do another sweater. Do I have enough yarn to add a cable panel? It's iffy. (yarn paranoia...) I could do some kind of stitch pattern. Or, most likely, I'd add some stranded color patterns at the neck, cuff, and bottom edges.

Should I do another gray sweater immediately? Or should I do a sweater out of some different yarn?

One of the fun things about getting towards the end of one project is dreaming about the next.

Mary Walker Phillips

Rest in peace.

Her book on Creative Knitting contained many interesting and influential ideas, even if the wall hangings look a bit dated for modern tastes. Her descriptions of eastern, western, and combined knitting techniques are quite informative. Her book on Knitting Counterpanes is one of the definitive books on this style of knitting and the patterns typically used for them.

She wrote other books on knitting, and she also wrote about macrame and knotting. She was an accomplished weaver and artist. According to Wikipedia, she was born on November 23, 1923. She died on Saturday, November 3, 2007.


fleegle said...

I love your doily shawl! I have been mentally toying with the idea of knitting half-circles and 3/4 circles instead of the entire round thing...then I run into the purling concept and sort of wimp out.

Another gray sweater! You clearly have more patience than I do. I can't remember the last time I knitted anything gray.

I go for a cabled vest...if you have enough yarn, you can then proceed on to the sleeves.l

Elizabeth said...

yarnover, slip 1, k2, pass slipped stitch over

Ok, this I've not run across (obviously I don't knit many doilies). You're slipping 1, knitting two, then passing the slipped stitch over the two knitted stitches, leaving a yo and two stitches on the needles?

The Doily Underground said...


The stitch pattern of (yo, slip 1, k2, pass slipped stitch over) seems very peculiar the first time you run into it. It really is correct as written. Yes, you start with 3 stitches. Then you decrease one of them, but add a yarnover to compensate. You are indeed left with the yarnover and two knit stitches on the needle.


A gray sweater seems like an endlessly boring proposition, but it truly hasn't been. I don't think it would have been any different if I'd chosen a more exciting color. It helps that I'm using my own handspun, and that I'm knitting this with the goal of getting an actual sweater to wear.


Y'all have inspired my next blog post. It's a bit rambling, but all of your comments gave me something to think about and thus write about. I'm still thinking about some of the ideas your comments inspired. Thank you!