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doily

Time for tea

When I posted yesterday about my Lerke doily, I hadn’t quite finished another one. But now it’s finished, blocked, dried – and tested!

I’m home by myself today, and usually I’d have my early afternoon cup of tea in one of my lovely stoneware mugs. But as I wanted to photograph the newest doily, I brought out the bone china again. I also cleaned the little silver teaspoons that I didn’t have time to clean for my afternoon tea last week. (I don’t think my old t-shirt and comfy cotton trousers come anywhere near the elegance of the tea set and doily – but no-one can see me!)

Pink cotton hand knitted doily with rose bone china tea set

 

Hand knitted pink cotton doily

This is another pattern from the book Knitted Lace by Sonja Esbensen and Anna Rasmussen – this pattern is ‘Marie’. As with all the doilies I’ve knitted so far, I’ve used fingering-weight cotton instead of the finer cotton recommended in the pattern – which of course makes my doilies bigger, more like table centres. I do have some slightly finer cottolin in my weaving stash, so maybe my next one will use that, as a comparison. My next one? I’m not sure yet – I’m very tempted by a few in the book. And there’s also a Marianne Kinzel book on my shelves, and I also have a couple of Gloria Penning’s lace doily books… between them, they’ll keep me busy for a few years!

Lerke III Doily

I love knitting doilies; they’re interesting projects, easy to carry around, relatively quick to finish, and they are practical as well as beautiful!

I’ve mentioned before the lovely book, Knitted Lace, by Sonja Esbensen and Anna Rasmussen – I knitted the Majbritt doily from it a couple of years ago. So when the fingers started to itch again for another small lace project, out came the book again, and I chose the design Lerke III. This is the largest of three similar designs.

I wanted a large doily to go with one of my tea sets, which is white with pink roses, so I went stash-diving for pink fingering-weight cotton… and discovered that although I had several pinkish balls (ahem!) skeins, they were too apricot, or otherwise Not Right. But I did find some wonderful deep pink cotton and decided to use that.

I love the result:

Deep pink hand-knitted doily

It matches my tea set perfectly:

20140128BrightDoilyTeaCup2

 

Now, our dining table is my main work space at present (the sunroom is too hot during the day), so it’s usually covered in papers, books, laptops etc and we clear just enough space to eat in the evenings. Not a lot of space for a doily! On Thursday, I invited a few friends around for afternoon tea, rushed around cleaning and tidying the visible bits of the house, and set the table with my tea set and yes, my bright pink doily!

Afternoon tea table setting

It was a lovely afternoon with great conversation, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing some of my lovely things in use. The crystal plate with the mini-cheesecakes on was my paternal grandmother’s; the small dishes at the back with the chocolate fudge were my maternal grandmother’s. Now I just need to organise a garden, so that I can someday have fresh-cut flowers on the table, too!

 

 

Majbritt Doily

As I mentioned in my last post, I plan to knit some doilies to go with my new teacup sets. I know some people think doilies are dreadfully old-fashioned and useless, but I’m not one of those people! I love the simple beauty of lace knitting, and to me doilies are both functional and decorative, protecting a table surface as well as being lovely in themselves.

I’ve finished the one I started a couple of weeks back. At 43cm diameter, it’s more of a table centre than a doily, but I’m very happy with it:

Handknitted doily - pattern Majbritt I by Esbensen & Rasmussen

The pattern is Majbritt I (Ravelry link) from the book Handknitted Lace, (Book Depository link) by Sonja Esbensen and Anna Rasmussen, which I bought a couple of months ago and have been itching to knit something from since!

The designs are charted, which I love (hate reading rows upon rows of written directions, especially for lace!)

I had a bit of a panic, though, the other day. After a week of mad work finishing the edits on the latest book, I picked up the doily again for some relaxing knitting. I knitted round 41 and 42 fine (even round are plain rows). I started round 43 – and it Would Not Work. I didn’t have enough stitches, and the pattern didn’t ‘fit’. Something had to be wrong. I spent some time googling for errata, and checking Ravelry to see if anyone else had the same problem. Nothing. Sigh. There has to be a fault with the pattern, right? Sigh again. I’m an experienced knitter. I can look at the picture and work out what it’s supposed to be. Looking at my knitting, the error had to be in the previous round’s instructions. So I tinked back round 43, and round 42… oh, and the other round 42 – oops, how did THAT happen?… and for good measure, round 41 as well.

(Should I mention here that the mad rush to finish the edits had included an all-nighter? And that I am not as young as I used to be?)

Needless to say, there was no error in the pattern. It was perfectly correct. And it is a lovely pattern!

New Year, new look

While I planned to post something today – a catch-up post – I didn’t actually plan to give the blog a whole new look. But you know how it goes… the theme I was using needed updating, and so I did the auto-update, and as a result it went all wrong. I could have stuffed around and fixed it (the problem was the widgets, I think), but I’d been planning to do a new theme, and I now have a great little program called Artisteer, so I played around on that and voila! – we have a new design!

So, what have I been up to since last I posted? Not a lot in the way of knitting and crafting, as I’ve been flat out teaching, marking, finishing a book and revising it. I have a number of wips languishing or receiving only occasional attention – two top-down cardigans, a lace shawl, some mittens for Gordon. But I did finish some red socks for my sister for Christmas:
Handknitted red socks

There was also a little Christmas sewing – a roll-up shopping bag for a batty friend who likes bats – the print isn’t really bats, but it looks a little like them so we call it bat camouflage:
Roll-up shopping bag

Shopping bag

I was in a secret santa swap with the local Ravelry crew, and I made an apron for my cheesecake-baker extraordinaire friend, Amanda:
Handsewn apron

They’re not made from yarn or fabric, but I’ve also made quite a lot of these in the past few weeks:
Sourdough crumpets
Sourdough crumpets – delicious toasted and spread with a little butter and honey! I stocked up my parents’ freezer while I was in Canberra for Christmas, and restocked ours yesterday.

Knitting-wise, I’m currently working on a lace doily:
Knitted lace doily in progress

…because I need some lace doilies for the lovely china teacup sets my sister gave me for Christmas:
Hitkari tea setting

Ashdene Kensignton tea setting

And the last thing I should mention is that we have a new puppy – 9 month old Skye, who joined our household two months ago, after we had to euthanise our beautiful, beloved Princess Dog. Skye loves toys…
Skye with her toys

… and is a fibre enthusiast…
stuffing from a cushion pulled out by puppy!
She especially loves the fluffy stuff inside her cushion, and often pulls it all out – it’s one of her favourite games!

So, that’s my catch-up post for this last day of 2011. I hope you like the new blog design – I do! I’m hoping that 2012 is a great year for all my friends – may there be much making of beautiful, practical things, for all of us, and companionship in the making and sharing 🙂

 

More small achievements

I seem to be managing to cross a few things off my to do list lately – not huge things, but some little ones that nevertheless make me feel good! And those I haven’t yet crossed off, I’m making good progress on.

Since I’ll be in hospital for Christmas and won’t be able to visit my parents, I thought I’d knit another lace doily, this time in colours to match the blue and white linen my mother often uses on the table for Christmas dinner. I rummaged around in the stash and found a cone of pale blue cotton I’ve had for years, and cast on for the a second one of the Little Flower Doily (Rav link) from Bad Cat Designs. It took me a little over 24 hours to knit, and here she is blocking this morning:

Little Flower Doily blocking

So, I can be at Christmas dinner in spirit – or under a nice glass plate of Mum’s fruit mince tarts 🙂

The Christmas knitting – the small amount I am doing – seems reasonably under control. The Binary Cable Hat I started knitting for my nephew before his birthday in August didn’t get finished, as I confused myself with how to set the binary code for his name into the cables, and therefore stuffed it up. However, this morning I finally frogged most of what I’d done, back to the first inch, and have restarted again, getting it right this time! So, it’s now progressing well, and I hope to have it finished if not today, then tomorrow. I have another gift for him, but this will get popped in with it when it’s done:

Binary Cable Hat in progress

There’s another gift I’ve half-finished, but since the recipient sometimes read this blog, I won’t mention it 🙂 (But dear recipient, don’t get TOO excited. It’s just something I have owed you for …ahem ….a while. This year you might actually get it. Fingers crossed. But I have something else for you, as well!)

When those two things are done, then the next project will be finishing my All-Lace Brangian shawl, which is about half-done. I realised this morning that if I want to actually finish the Ravelry 10 Shawls in 2010 challenge, then I’m going to have to finish that shawl (my 1oth for the year) in the next week or so, in order to get it blocked, photographed, and uploaded to the group before I leave for hospital on the 10th Dec. It’s only a small shawl, so that should be doable.

And in pattern news, I have updated the Brangian Progressive Yarn Usage table, and added one for the All-Lace Brangian version, which has slightly different row counts and therefore yarn usage. They can both be downloaded as .pdf files from this page.

Small achievements

I finished the doily this afternoon – it’s nice to have a pretty, finished object so quickly! Here she is blocking:

Knitted doily blocking

(Finished just before dinner time, so I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to have my cup of tea!)