Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Lily of the Valley

A lily of the valley by any other name would still have as many knit-seven-togethers.

OK, that's not quite what Shakespeare wrote.  And probably not anything Herbert Niebling was known to mutter while designing another of his doilies with lily of the valley motifs.

This is Convallaria.  And it's also Maiglockchenflor.  And maybe other names, too, but those are the names of the pattern in the two sources I have for it.  Both of those names translate to lily of the valley, more or less.

It is a fairly complex doily for its size.  There are all of the flowers -- seventy-two k7-tog maneuvers, along with some associated k4-tog, k3-tog, SK2P, and related fun.  There are the lovely asymmetric leaves.  There's all the hexagonal mesh, with all of the double yarnovers and decreases.  There's the characteristic Niebling trait of starting and ending pattern repeats with yarnovers, with nary a mention in the pattern that this could be an issue at the beginning and end of the round.  And there are many, many stitches per round.

It was fun to knit.

Here's a close-up that shows most of one pattern repeat.  There isn't a lot of symmetry in this pattern.  There are three leaves per pattern repeat.  Each one is different.  Same with the flower stalks -- three flower stalks, each one different.  The hexagonal mesh develops differently in each of the spaces between flowers and leaves.

But the results are beautiful.

If you knit the pattern, be careful how you transition from the tops of the flowers to the round that is only hexagonal mesh.  Both the chart and the written version of the pattern had an issue that meant that the hexagonal mesh wouldn't line up properly for the entire pattern repeat.  I had to do a bit of cussing and improvisation at that point.  But all went well enough.

I don't know if there is an in-print source of the Convallaria version of the pattern, which is charted.  I don't know if there are other chart sources or other names for this pattern.  The written version of the pattern, Maiglockchenflor, is in print, in Gloria Penning's Old World Treasures.  You can buy Old World Treasures from Gloria Penning or from any reputable dealer who carries books on lace and doilies.  There are several unattributed Niebling patterns in Old World Treasures as well as many pretty designs by Lillie Meitler.

I wrote about this doily several years ago, as being on my list of doilies I wanted to do someday.  I hadn't remembered that!  Now I can check that off the list.  I don't think I'll knit this again, but I'm glad that I did finally knit it, all seventy-two knit-seven-togethers and all.

Next up, I think, will be something with a lot of symmetry and no knit-seven-togethers.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Back to my roots (doilies!)

It's been a while since I've finished a doily.  A while since I've posted doily pics.  My life has been a bit unsettled for a few years and doilies simply weren't happening.

Things are settling down.  I'm delighted to say that I am again knitting doilies!  Here are the pics and the general report to the blog.

First up was finishing the Azalea doily, which had been languishing for years waiting for me to get it off the needles.  I knit the full centre piece, the largest size in Marianne Kinzel's pattern.  I must admit that this was incredibly, dreadfully boring to knit.  However, as is always true with Kinzel's designs, the results are quite lovely.

Next up were a few small doilies to get my fingers and brain used to them again.  One of them was actually done before the Azalea doily.  It was an impulse doily, a quick little pattern that took about an hour or two.  There's nothing terribly special about it except that it was the one I cast on when I was in the mood for a doily fix.

The other two are from Kunststricken Folge 2, one of the Burda lace knitting specials.  They are both small since I was using a small ball of thread and was paranoid about running out in the last round before the crochet cast-off.  They are both small doilies in multi-piece sets.  I like them well enough to consider doing larger doilies in the sets, especially for the square pattern.

The square one seems Niebling-esque to me.  I like doing his geometric patterns with skeleton-like leaves (petals?  feathers?).  This pattern has that same feel to it, with the flowing ladder stitch motifs that grow and swirl and then are replaced with new ones.

The circular one is OK.  The larger doilies in the set are a lot more interesting.  This one is too small to really develop the motifs that are prominent in the other doilies.

The final doily for this post is a genuine Herbert Niebling pattern.  It's not attributed, but honestly, how could it be anything else?  It has asymmetric leaves, a nodding flower on a curving stem, wrap stitches, hexagonal mesh, and multiple rounds that begin and end with yarnovers.  I found it in an old book about many different types of lacemaking.  This pattern was in the knitted lace section, unattributed, as a Viennese lace cloth.  The pattern was written only, no charts, with UK terminology.

When I looked through other patterns online and in my collection, I decided that this doily is a standalone version of the inner motif of the Helene doily (from Zauberhafte Strickspitzen).

The inner part grows quickly.  The outer part has a fairly stable stitch count.  I was worried it might not block flat, but luckily it blocked out just fine.  The hexagonal mesh that surrounds the stem, flower, and outer leaf seems rather clumsily done.  I don't know if that is in the original charts, wherever they might have been published, or if it was added to fix stitch-count issues when the pattern was written out and proofread.

I am inordinately pleased with myself.  I am happy to be knitting doilies again.  I have the next several patterns picked out, I think -- another smallish Niebling, a couple of Engelns, maybe a non-boring Kinzel or two...

I will try to stay away from patterns that don't excite me.  I give myself permission to abandon anything that isn't fun to knit.  And of course all bets are off if and when real life intrudes again.

Happy knitting to all!