So What Is Lace Anyway?

 So What Is Lace Anyway?So What Is Lace Anyway?

What do you think of when you hear the term “Lace”? If you are anything like me you will probably think of something white, intricate and delicate, possibly even frilly. We usually associate lace with things like wedding dresses, christening gowns and ball dresses. Lace fabric and trims are often used for special occasions like these.

A fairly generic definition of lace is “a fine open fabric of cotton or silk, made by looping, twisting, or knitting thread in patterns and used especially for trimming garments.” As you can see, this includes a lot more than the traditional idea of lace. I would like to share with you some personal examples I have at home.

So What Is Lace Anyway? So What Is Lace Anyway?The more traditional items I have are crocheted and tatted. These items were all made by my grandmother, and I inherited them from her. The small round table cloth is crocheted. It was made using a small hook and fine cotton.

So What Is Lace Anyway? So What Is Lace Anyway?The tatted items are a bit older. These items used to be more common when lace was a lot more expensive and less readily available than it is today. People made collars, cuffs, and neck trims which could be transferred from one garment to another. This set is two collar points and a central trim a bit like a cravat.

So What Is Lace Anyway?I have also included a rather basic example of bobbin lace. This is one of the test book marks I made when I started to learn to make bobbin lace. It was made using coloured crochet cotton. You may also remember the needle lace sampler that I started earlier in the year. Unfortunately I have not made much more progress on it as yet, but hope to do some more in our upcoming school holidays.

So What Is Lace Anyway? So What Is Lace Anyway?The last photos are of a shawl I knitted for one of my grandchildren. This is a bit heavier than the other examples, but the border of this shawl still qualifies as lace. I have made a lighter, lacier baby shawl but, unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of it.

I plan to follow up with some more examples of different types of lace soon.

My Crocheted Knockers

My Crocheted Knockers

My Crocheted KnockersMy recent post about “Knitted Knockers” mentioned that there was a crochet pattern available as well as the knitting patterns. A couple of weeks ago I went away for a few days, and I decided to trial the crocheted knockers pattern. The materials required for crochet are slightly more portable than those required for knitting.

This turned out to be a very good decision. I ended up spending eleven hours at the airport as a result of cancelled and then delayed flights. The crochet pattern was in US terms, rather than the UK terms I prefer, so I had plenty of time to work my way through it. (See “The Minefield of Crochet Terminology”.) Once I had my head around how the pattern worked, I managed to start moving ahead quite quickly.

I decided I would try to make several different sizes of the pattern. During my five days away I made one each of a size A, B and C cup knocker. I did find a couple of things in the pattern that I had to be a bit careful with, but by the time I was doing the third one it was becoming more straight forward.

My Crocheted KnockersThe photos I have included show the difference in size between the three unfilled knockers: A is dark pink, B is light pink, C is white. Unfortunately I only had enough filling for one knocker, so I have filled the middle one, the size B. You can see how the stuffing fills out the shape of the knocker. I have also taken photos of the back of them as well to show how the back is left open a bit so the amount of filling can be adjusted as required.

My Crocheted Knockers My Crocheted KnockersI am even more convinced now of the importance of this programme and I will definitely be making more. My next project will be to trial several of the different knitted knocker patterns.

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Yarn Bombing – a Global Phenomenon

Yarn Bombing – a Global Phenomenon

Have you heard of Yarn Bombing yet? Yarn bombing is an activity which is spreading around the world. If you Google yarn bombing you will come up with some amazing images. For me one of the most impressive ones would have to be a train consisting of an engine and four carriages, all of which had been very colourfully covered.

It is thought that yarn bombing began with knitters in Texas in 2005, who used it as a creative way to use up leftover, unfinished projects. The movement has since spread worldwide, and evolved into things like the “stitched story” concept. This uses handmade items to tell a story or illustrate a theme. The first recorded example of this was in August 2009.

Yarn Bombing - a Global Phenomenon
Image courtesy of flikr
Yarn Bombing - a Global Phenomenon
Image courtesy of geograph.org.uk

Yarn bombing may have started off with knitted items, but there are now a large number of crocheted projects as well. The “stitched story” projects can include amigurumi figures in them as part of their narrative process. (See also “The Origin and Popularity of Amigurumi Crochet”.) I have even seen photos of projects done in cross stitch. Yarn is used to create cross stitch patterns on a wire grid which is then hung on a fence or wall.

Over the last few months I have seen yarn bombing weekends advertised in two different communities in my local area. These have involved people meeting together throughout the weekend at an arranged venue. Individuals can attend for whatever length of time suits them. It is a social gathering of people working together to produce community adornment projects.

Yarn Bombing - a Global PhenomenonA couple of weeks ago I took my camera with me on my morning walk to take photos of some yarn bombing that had appeared on the fence of one of our local primary schools. The weather here has been a bit unfriendly, as we are in the middle of winter, but the colourful webs seem to be lasting fairly well.

I see yarn bombing as a rather fun way to inject a bit of colour into some of our public spaces. Having said that, I also think that the “bombers” need to be sensitive with the areas they choose to decorate, and respectful of local regulations and significant structures.

I would love to hear other people’s opinions on this, so please feel free to leave a comment.

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Knitted Knockers

Knitted Knockers
Image courtesy of Ravelry.com

Knitted Knockers

Several months ago I came across a wonderful initiative called “Knitted Knockers”. As the name suggests, knitted knockers are handmade prosthetics for women who have had to undergo a mastectomy. They are soft, light-weight, fully adjustable, and can be made in a huge range of colours.

Knitted Knockers.org was founded by an amazing lady named Barbara as a result of her own experience with breast cancer. Complications with her initial surgery meant that she couldn’t follow her original treatment plan for immediate reconstruction, which meant she needed to look for an alternative interim solution.

Her doctor showed her a picture of a knitted knocker, and provided her with a pattern. A special friend was able to make one for her quite quickly (she actually made her two) and this is what she says on her website:

“It was FABULOUS! It was light, pretty, soft and fit in my own bra perfectly. I took off my jacket and knew right then that I wanted to make these available to other women going through the same situation. I thought, “what if my doctor had real knitted knockers to give to women rather than only having a photocopied picture on a sheet of paper to show them?””

Knitted Knockers
Image courtesy of Ravelry.com
Knitted Knockers
Image courtesy of Ravelry.com

I highly recommend that you visit Knitted Knockers.org and read Barbara’s story in full on the site. There is also a lovely video you can watch. Barbara has taken her idea and run with it. She is now trying to make knitted knockers available to any women who need them. Through her site she is connecting people in need with people who can donate. There are also a number of patterns available on the site, including crochet as well as knitting, which you can download.

Knitted Knockers
Image courtesy of Ravelry.com
Knitted Knockers
Image courtesy of Craftsy.com

While Barbara began her initiative in the United States, there are knitted knocker groups in many different countries. A quick internet search will allow you to find the group or organisation closest to you. I encourage you to get behind this wonderful movement and become part of an outreach which is making such a meaningful difference in the lives of so many women who are going through such a traumatic time in their lives.

 

See also: “Handcrafting To Support Charities“, “Octopuses (Octopi?) For Premature Babies“, “Two Jumpers and an Octopus“, and “Another Octopus and Some Scarves“.

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Enjoying Today’s Many Knitting Patterns

Enjoying Today’s Many Knitting Patterns

Enjoying Today's Many Knitting Patterns
Image courtesy of AllFreeKnitting.com

Knitting patterns are one of the things that makes knitting such an exciting activity for so many people. Once you master the basic skills of knitting, you have the ability to make countless projects come to life. Knitting patterns are like recipes that can be followed to recreate your favorite dish.

Knitting is more than merely a hobby for many people. Knitting is a way to spend time with others in a relaxing fashion. Many people enjoy getting together to work on their respective knitting projects while enjoying great conversation. Knitting is not only relaxing, but it allows a person to create many essential items. You can create new clothing for yourself or your family or friends. Finding exciting knitting patterns to create items of interest for others is a great way to make it through your Christmas list! Whatever it is you want to knit, there are usually many knitting patterns available to guide you.

If you are a new knitter, then you will pleased to learn that there are literally thousands and thousands of knitting patterns available. Once you have mastered the basics of knitting, you have the ability to create nearly anything. Searching through various knitting patterns can be almost as exciting as knitting itself. You get to see all the potential items you could make, pick out the perfect one, and then get to work bringing it to life.

Once you start looking at knitting patterns, you will discover they exist for virtually everything you could possibly want to create. You will find patterns for purses and bags. You’ll find patterns for cardigans, pants, and sweaters. Hats and scarfs are some of the most common patterns. There are even patterns for creating a wide array of stuffed animals.

 

Enjoying Today's Many Knitting Patterns
Image courtesy of Craftsy.com

Knitting patterns are relatively easy to find. Most fabric stores have an ample supply of knitting patterns. Sometimes these knitting patterns are fairly generic, but once you get a little experience it should be no problem to add on or modify them to create your own unique creation. (See “Using Patterns as a Guide“) The Internet is also an outstanding resource for knitters. There are thousands of free knitting patterns available. Many knitter enjoy sharing their newest pattern with the world. Additionally, there are many quality patterns for sale online at affordable prices.

There are countless  sites with great patterns. Just perform a few searches on whatever knitting patterns you are after and you will see lots of great sites to look through. Two sites I would highly recommend are “Ravelry” and”LoveKnitting“. You could also check out “Annies“, “Knit Picks“,”Craftsy“, or “Leisure Arts“.

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Find More Knitting Articles

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Another Octopus and Some Scarves

Another Octopus and Some Scarves

I have been putting off writing this post because I seem to have mislaid my first octopus. (See “Two Jumpers and an Octopus”.) I wanted to take a photo of both of them together to give a better idea of their similarities and differences, but my crocheted one seems to have found a “safe place” to hang out in. Consequently I have decided that I can’t wait around any longer and am going ahead without it.

I used the knitting pattern from the same website I got the crocheted one from, Prawelewe Art Studio. These patterns are downloadable pdfs and, therefore, are very convenient to use, but you can see my previous post “Octopuses (Octopi?) For Premature Babies” for other options.

It was an interesting exercise to make both versions one after the other. While I am really pleased with the finished version of both, I think I prefer the crocheted one. I found the knitted tentacles to be rather hard on my hands, and I think the crocheted tentacles are more effective. That being said, I think it’s great that there are patterns available that enable both knitters and crocheters to contribute to a really great cause. (See the “Octopus for a Preemie” Facebook page.)

One thing I noted on all the patterns I looked at was that they all recommended the same materials for making them for premature babies. These recommendations are:

  • Yarn – 100% cotton, one mentioned hypoallergenic
  • Stuffing – fibre filling which is washable at 60⁰C

I have recently started on another knitting project which you may be interested in looking at in your own area. We have just officially started winter here (I live in New Zealand) and the weather has definitely become a bit colder. I am very thankful that I am able to live in a warm, comfortable home, and have been thinking about those who are less fortunate.

My project involves knitting scarves to be donated to homeless people in my local area. I will probably look at doing hats and mittens as well, and am planning to enlist help from other people. This help could take the form of donating odd balls of wool to the cause or even knitting them up themselves. For someone living on the street, in their car, or even in a shelter, every bit of warm clothing can help, and every act of kindness can remind them that they are not forgotten.

See also “Handcrafting to Support Charities

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Two Jumpers and an Octopus

Two Jumpers and an Octopus

Two Jumpers and an OctopusI have managed to get a few projects finished off over the last week or so. I have completed two jumpers and an octopus, as well as conducting a small experiment with pattern grids (see “A Comparison of Pattern Grids”).

The two jumpers, more specifically a jumper and a cardigan, were for the same little girl I did the “pink knitting” for (see “Baby Knitting”). She is growing fast, as babies tend to do, and I thought her Mum might appreciate some more jumpers as the winter closes in on us.

Two Jumpers and an Octopus Two Jumpers and an OctopusThe pink jumper (yes, pink again!) was made using a pattern that is a bit of a favourite of mine. I have used it several times before and have always been pleased with the finished garment. In contrast, the pattern I used for the white cardigan was a new one for me. It was a free pattern off the “LoveKnitting” site. Some of the terminology was a little unfamiliar to start off with but I quickly got the hang of it and was very satisfied with the outcome.

Two Jumpers and an OctopusThe octopus was a sample I decided to do to try out one of the patterns I found when writing my “Octopuses (Octopi?) For Premature Babies” post.  I discovered that the crochet patterns I had found on two different websites were actually pretty much the same. I chose to use the one that was written using terms I was the most familiar with and really enjoyed the project.

Two Jumpers and an OctopusI used some left over wool for this octopus as it was only a practice sample. I have noticed that all the patterns I have are very specific about using 100% cotton yarn to make them for babies. They also need to be stuffed with fibre filling which is washable at 60⁰C. I was very pleased with my little practice octopus though, and will go looking for some suitable cotton yarn to make some “real” ones.

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