First of all I have finally managed to finish writing, translating and uploading the two lace patters I had designed for my lace classes.
It all started way back last summer when suddenly I realized that if I wanted to teach a lace knitting class I would have to provide the students with some sort of pattern. I couldn’t take somebody else’s pattern for teaching (well, I would have needed permission), most patterns I like are in English (and I’m teaching these classes in German), plus I had very specific ideas about what to teach.
So I decided to design a pattern. Now, I have designed things before, I did a lot of knitting in the 80s when there weren’t a lot of nice patterns around, and all sweaters were very boxy. Apart from the sweater that had a fancy brioche pattern in three colors there was never anything fancy. (Well, and then the lace sweater, and when I taught myself how to knit entrelac, and gloves.)
I already had a sketch lying around somewhere because back when I made a purple stole for a friend of mine I originally had planned to design a pattern just for her. My problem was, though, that there is no lace yarn to be found at my local yarn store (apart from mohair, and I’m not going to give a beginner mohair which is impossible to unravel). So I had to make something that used sock yarn. And that idea was for a big stole with very thin yarn.
I ordered nice hand dyed semi-solid yarn with bamboo from Drachenwolle, made another sketch and thought, “I’ll do this during summer break.” Summer break came and went and – surprise – I hadn’t worked on my pattern. Fall came around, I found that I was somewhat reluctant to design something without even knowing if there would be enough people interested in a class but then I had to start some time. Finally, I gave in, pulled out a couple of stitch dictionaries and used those instead of doing it all from scratch. I made the prototype in two weeks time, it went really fast and easy. Then came the charting. Not easy and fast at all. I think I changed the charts four times to make them clear and easy to follow.
The lace knitting class provided me with test knitters. I had wanted this class to be the “lace knitting class to end all lace knitting classes”. I set out to teach them everything so that they would be able to knit every lace project they ever wanted to. So this little shawlette is quite complicated. It uses almost every kind of decrease known to knitters, and it has nupps, and stars.
It’s called Estnisches Tüchlein/Estonian Shawlette because that’s what it is. You can download it for free. There’s a German and an English version of the pattern.
My students liked the pattern, and the class even though after week one they were sure they’d never get it. But all of them came back for more, and at the end of our fourth evening everybody was confident they knew everything necessary to finish the shawl. And then they asked me for a follow-up class.
Silly me, I thought I had taught them everything they needed to know to go off on their own but they wanted to come back. So there’s a second lace knitting class this semester. Sadly I can’t use the same pattern as last time because of the students who already did that. So I had to design a new pattern. This time I wanted to teach them two things they hadn’t learned the class before, namely provisional cast-on and doing lace on both right and wrong side rows. And I wanted the pattern to be a bit easier than the first seeing that the first one kicked everybody’s ass.
Well, the thought of me making simple things is really funny. I wrote the pattern, I thought it’d be easy-peasy, then I got bored (as I’m wont to do), and slapped on a border that’s so hard to knit it made my own head hurt. Also, I – again – designed on a deadline, not only was there the beginning of the class looming, I also decided to do it during the ravelympics.
What are the ravelympics, you’ll ask? Unless you’re one of the thousands of people participating. The ravelympics are something that took place on ravelry during the winter olympics. The goal was to find a challenging but doable project, cast on during the opening ceremony and finish before the closing ceremony. I wouldn’t have thought about joining (much) if not for a friend of mine who was team captain for team Germany. And you know how much I love crazy internet challenges and strange, artificial, and arbitrary deadlines.
I tried to stay sensible though, and only planned two projects during that time. Project A was making this roving into socks:
All the pictures are dark and dreary because that’s what the weather was like in February.
My socks were done in time and I got some medals:
And project B was to design and knit that lace scarf, write the pattern and publish it on ravelry.
And I did it! And I have the medals to prove it.
And out of the process you get a free pattern for a lace scarf. The scarf is called Erster Frühling/First Spring for download here. (And I get a very cozy pair of yummy socks. Even though I’m not really taken with the colors. I will have to learn chain plying for my next pair. I already ordered the roving. Because while my sock drawer is so full that I can’t quite close it anymore, I really need some more hand-spun, hand-knit socks that are really, really warm. Just in time for spring.)