Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Perfunctory January Post (with doily photo)

As I wrote in my very first week of blogging, this blog would go dormant when Real Life got too busy.

It's been busy.

Some of the busy-ness may be of mild interest to others. However, I think I'm going to keep this blog mostly concentrated on my fiber interests for now.

I have finished one sock since the last post, and started on its mate. I don't have any photos of it yet. It looks like a sock, in case anyone was wondering. A photo of it in progress was in my last post to this blog.

I've also done a bit of spinning. Fuzzy brown singles on a bobbin do not make for interesting photos, even if I had any.

Here's a photo of a doily I knit a while back. It's a Marianne Kinzel design. I'm sure many of you will recognize it. It's the center portion of Kinzel's Sunray pattern, from the First Book of Modern Lace Knitting.

I was looking for a pattern that would look like a chrysanthemum, with several layers of overlapping petals. This is not it. However, it is very cute. It was fun enough to knit, tedious like many Kinzel patterns but not overwhelmingly so. (Unlike the Azalea doily, which is still sitting undone on my needles because it's so boring to knit.) I like the way Kinzel uses constant stitch counts in places to make the motifs spread out a bit as the doily grows.

This was also an experiment in seeing how the center would look as a standalone doily. I think it's a success. Dunno if I'll ever want to do the entire Sunray pattern. Probably not. If I'm going to do a large doily, it's going to have to be by some other designer. Kinzel patterns are lovely and straightforward to knit, but they tend to be rather tedious. I can take that for several dozen rounds of knitting, but not for several hundred.

I've thought about taking this center motif and modifying it a bit. The innermost part is very simple, just some eyelet rounds until the stitch count is where one wants it to be. The next part, the ladder motif, is also simple and easily modified. One can do fewer rounds or more, depending on how many stitches you have compared to the diameter.

The outer leaves are interesting. How many overlapping layers can one do? The leaves on each level could (and should) be taller and wider so accommodate the extra circumference. The leaves would have to grow even after the previous level had finished, in order to add more stitches to the overall pattern. The leaves could be changed to petals by changing the placement of the increases and possibly the decreases.

Someday, I'll write some thoughts about Marianne Kinzel's design methods. Her designs are an aesthetic success. And yet, they are simple in construction, especially compared to many of Niebling's more famous designs. Her lifetime output is not as prolific as his is, but she didn't publish any clunkers. Niebling's work is uneven, ranging from clumsy or undistinguished designs to the amazingly complex and gorgeous works we all drool after. It's possible that Kinzel published a lot more than I'm aware of, of course, and that some of it is clunky. However, even the simplest doilies of hers that I've seen are graceful and well-proportioned.


fleegle said...

It's pretty, but looks intensely dull to knit. I would love to read any analysis of any designer you would care to write about.

January's been a low-blogging month for me, as well.

Sherilan said...

I am enjoying your blog, since I just started getting interesting in doily knitting. Your work is beautiful. Perhaps something dull is a good starting place for me. I liked your idea of knitting a small doily with a variety of thread and needle sizes to find out what I like best. May give that a try this summer. I will read back over your archives for new doily knitter pattern suggestion. I am also curious about designers. Thanks for sharing your work.

Glynda Black said...

Don't you just love Kinzel's designs? I have knitted several of them, and they are so comforting. You know the pattern is right, and she gives you two ways to work it: text and chart. This is a really pretty doily. Thanks for sharing. Glynda