Laelia

I finished my Laelia cardigan almost a month ago but haven’t been able to get photos taken until today.

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When I first bought this yarn, I pictured it as a zesty, spring-y splash of citrus orange to liven up a summer sweater; something silky and lacey to slip over a sundress and wear with orange heels.   And even though it is most definitely a summer sweater, and will look great next summer over a cute dress, I can’t help but think it looks pretty nice against the brilliant fall foliage here at the back of my house.

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The pattern is by Hanna Maciejewska and the yarn is the luscious Merino Silk Fingering by The Uncommon Thread.  I can highly recommend both pattern and yarn.  The two together make for a very serendipitous pairing.

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(I have a terrible cold; thus the somewhat pained expression on my face.  Or it could be that I am all smiled out after jumping and whooping for joy today – Go, Trudeau!)  You can see how beautifully this yarn showcases the lace pattern.  I made two changes to the pattern.  First, as I’ve adopted from many other Ravellers, I’ve had the two cascading lace patterns “meet” at the back of the sweater.  In the pattern, they are separated by a laddered lace detail; this is done to accomodate the many sizes.  You need to do some fiddling with the numbers to make this work, and it won’t be appropriate with every size.  Second, I’ve knit the sleeves without any lace.

I had both bad and good timing with this one.  Bad timing because I finished it just as the cold weather is settling in, and it will have to sit in a drawer until the spring comes.  Good timing because no sooner had I finished it, then I developed hand and wrist problems which have prevented me from knitting.

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Lace knitting and knitted lace

I am starting a new job this week.  The rush to finish up everything at the old job, and the stress about starting up something new, means that my attentions have not been on knitting lately.  Nevertheless, I’ve managed to accomplish a bit.  I finished up the knitting on my Laelia cardigan (designed by Hanna Maciejewska) and gave it a wash. I had hoped to bring you modelled shots of the cardigan this past weekend, but that was not to be.  I still have the finishing to go (ending off threads in lace!!!) and because of the delicacy of the fabric, I need to do this in a bright morning light when I have plenty of time to concentrate.  This may not happen right away.

The yarn, Merino Silk Fingering by The Uncommon Thread, reacted beautifully to being washed, and the lace opened up without being stretched or pinned into place.  Here is a sneak peak:

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I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the lace in this one.  I adore the way the lace patterns keep extending across the front and back of the cardigan to meet up at the back. (This, by the way, is a variation of the pattern, in which there is a separate laddered lace pattern between the repeats at the back.  I had to fiddle just a bit with the stitch count to get it to work out this way.  This isn’t possible with every size.)   I think the “cascade” of lace that is produced is really pretty.  But the lace pattern itself has always struck me as a bit fiddly.  First of all, it combines both lace knitting and knitted lace.  The former (and, to me at least, most common) consists of a lace pattern where every other row (usually the purl row) is knitted plain (or purled plain, as the case may be).  Knitted lace, on the other hand, incorporates yarn overs and decreases on every row of the fabric – front and back.  The lace pattern used in Laelia is a 20 row repeat of which 8 rows are knitted lace and the other 12 are lace knitting.  This is a bit difficult to get used to, especially if you are not accustomed to incorporating a lace pattern on the purl row, where it is difficult to “read” the knitting. I found that I always kept the chart at hand, never feeling as if I had truly internalized the pattern, despite the many repeats.

The other fiddly bit has to do with the visual impact of the lace, which is a bit of an optical illusion. Hanna says on the Ravelry project page “Laelia is a beautiful subtropical orchid with petals that fan out into stars.”  I found when knitting it that sometimes your mind sees the orchid shapes and sometimes not, depending on whether your eye is drawn to the petals, which are shaped by the decreases, or to the holes in the fabric, which are shaped by the yarn overs.  Now that I’ve washed it, and the lace has opened up, I can see better what Hanna had in mind.  It is definitely growing on me (perhaps because I am done with all the work of knitting it).

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Hopefully, I will be able to bring you some modelled shots of this soon, especially as it is by now definitely autumn here, which means that I am yet again a season behind in my knitting.  Alas.

In addition to the Laelia cardigan, I cast on for a new project.  This one is intended to be a gift, and so it’s a surprise.  After the fingering weight lace, all of this stockinette in DK weight is growing rapidly.  One little photo shouldn’t give away the surprise:

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I’ll tell you about the new job in another post, once I have settled in and have a chance to relax.