Sunday, January 16, 2011
Orenburg Honeycomb Lace Scarf
I'm not quite finished with the scarf. It's longer than I am tall, but I still have half a skein of yarn left! Soon I'll call it quits anyway, then finish it. I'll give it a bit of blocking even though it looks quite good without any at all.
My inspiration for this was a pattern in the May/June 2010 issue of Piecework. The article is called, "An Orenburg Honeycomb Lace Scarf to Knit" by Galina Khmeleva.
She writes, "I discovered a lovely Honeycomb scarf for sale that a former student had knitted; I was so impressed with it that I purchased it for display purposes. The resulting demand for the written pattern for this scarf was enormous, so I immediately got to work to produce it."
The scarf in Piecework is more of a rectangular wrap than a scarf. Its finished dimensions are approximately 20" x 70", and then fringe is added to make it even longer! It is, of course, gorgeous. The pattern is pure Orenburg honeycomb stitch, as described in the article and in her books on Orenberg lace, with a border of garter stitch. It is made from a fine merino/silk laceweight yarn. The pattern is given in chart form only.
I wanted something a bit more humble. Thus, I went back to the basic version implied by Galin Khmeleva's words -- that image of the honeycomb lace scarf knit by a student trying to understand this basic motif of the Orenburg lace-knitting vocabulary.
Here is my version. As usual, I am rather vague about many of the details. My scarf is knit in the honeycomb pattern motif with a narrow border of garter stitch. I will provide the theory; you decide how to apply it to your yarn and your own personal scarf preferences.
My yarn is a very fuzzy mohair blend, 70% kid mohair and 30% acrylic. It runs 167 meters (183 yds) per 50 grams. It's about sock weight or slightly thicker for those of you who care about these things. By the time I give up, I'll have used about one and a half balls of yarn. My scarf will be about 7.5 to 8 inches wide and probably close to 6 feet long. The stitch pattern is remarkably open -- the scarf is more air than yarn! I love the fuzz of the mohair and how it looks with the pale aura of frizziness over the holes.
So, pick your yarn. Pick a needle size that's a few sizes larger than you would normally use for that weight of yarn. I won't tell you my needle size because I am a loose knitter and my needle choice won't necessarily be the same as yours. The first few inches of the scarf can serve as your gauge swatch. If your lace is too tight or too loose, if your scarf is too narrow or too wide, then unravel and start again.
I chose garter stitch for my border. I'm using 3 stitches on each side, and 6 rows (3 ridges) at the beginning and the end. You, of course, may make your border wider or narrower, or may choose seed stitch or something else besides garter stitch. For the selvedges, I am slipping the first stitch of each row as if to purl, with the yarn in front.
The openwork portion of the scarf consists of the Orenburg version of honeycomb lace. This is a garter-based lace stitch and looks pretty much the same on both sides. I've mostly seen it charted rather than written out. That's fine. When I started knitting it, though, I realized that the written version seems so much easier to follow than the charted version!
Orenburg honeycomb lace motif (over a multiple of four stitches)
rows 1 and 2: *k2, yo, k2tog*
rows 3 and 4: k4, *yo, k2tog, k2*
That's it! Rows 3 and 4 are just like 1 and 2, except that they are offset by 2 stitches. If you'd like, you can think of rows 3 and 4 as: k2, *k2, yo, k2tog*, k2. (I don't know if that helps you understand or just confuses you. If you're confused, simply forget I mentioned it, and just do the pattern above.)
If you can count to 4, you can knit this pattern. You do need to keep track of which row you are on, which is sometimes harder than you might think.
For your scarf, you will need a multiple of four stitches, plus the border stitches on each side. For my scarf, I chose 20 stitches for the center and 3 stitches on each side, for a total of 26 stitches. Hmmm, that means I'm getting about 4 stitches per inch before any blocking, not that it matters.
Orenburg Honeycomb Lace Scarf Pattern
Cast on 26 stitches. Knit 6 rows then start the pattern.
Rows 1 and 2: slip first stitch as if to purl with yarn in front, k2, *k2, yo, k2tog*, end k3.
Rows 3 and 4: slip first stitch as if to purl with yarn in front, k2, k4, *yo, k2tog, k2*, end k3.
When your scarf is long enough or you're just about out of yarn, k 6 rows and bind off. Block it if you'd like, then wear it.
I'll probably add a photo of the finished scarf after it's completed and blocked.