Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Knitting Reblog: Lace Bolero by Kelly Maher

For Christmas, among other things, I was sent a hank of wool from Routt County, Colorado by my mother.  It was so colourful, and so local to her area, that I wanted to make something entirely from it in one go to show it off, rather than do many mittens with it as she had intended.  A quick search on Ravelry turned up this pattern for a bolero or shrug - bolero is to cardigan as fingerless gloves are to normal gloves I reckon.

It took a lot of blocking to get it not to stretch quite so hugely across my shoulders, but I'm satisfied with the effect; the blocking also made it felt a little, softening the fibres.  N.B. 'Blocking' is the process of making a piece the right shape, evening out the stitches and stopping all-stocking-stitch pieces from curling at the edges as they do naturally.  Hand-wash the knitting in warm, soapy water; rinse it out; squeeze out as much of the water as you can, then lay it on a towel on a flat surface.  Stretch, weigh down and/or pin as necessary into the correct shape, and allow to dry completely.

The lace pattern is particularly easy and beautiful, and I hope to learn more about how lace works as I do more projects.  Yarnovers, which create a single loop of wool and leave a hole in the finished article, puzzled me at first but my grandmother was able to show me what the 'back' of a stitch was.  Another useful skill gained from this pattern was the maths for working out inches-to-stitches - this was the first thing I've knitted where I bothered to do a 'swatch' first to work out my gague, but it was worth doing as my yarn was significantly thinner than recommended.  I think I could still probably have made it smaller, as is usual with my clothes, but we live and learn.

Skills I couldn't pick up included the mini-cable row to transition between the lace and second set of ribbing rows, so I just missed that out.  I also didn't switch back to smaller needles for the second rib set because I'd left them at my dad's place, but it doesn't seem to have made too much difference.

It's nice not to have a huge amount of wool left over from this project; with stuff so cheap at Kemps Wool Shop I always over-buy and end up with masses and masses hanging about.  No worries - one of these days I will be arsed to make a jumper out of my leftovers, and then I will probably not have enough.

N.B. Photography for this post, and hopefully all future posts, was taken by the boyfriend for me with my own cheapo point-and-click digital Nikon, so I can stop stealing things from google image results and abusing the photography skills and generosity of my stepmother now.    Look out for much more photo-ridden and hopefully more helpful posts in future, and I'll probably go back and update a couple of things from the archives as well!

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