Thursday, 16 August 2007

Biggest Knitting Challenge of My Life

Alright I'm ready to unveil (sort of) my BKC. I'm 90% convinced that I'm ready to take this on. Unfortunately I can't post any photos here as the pattern hasn't been delivered yet, so there will be a few links, lots of text and some photos of the lovely yarn delivered to my office today because yarn is always nice to look at.

The BKC came about when I began toying with the idea of knitting my mother a lace tablecloth for Christmas. This led to a bit of pattern googling on Sunday afternoon where I stumbled across a pattern called Lyra by a man called Herbert Niebling. I don't think I'd heard about Herbie (if I can be so informal) before, but it didn't take long to discover that the man is a GENIUS when it comes to two sticks, some yarn and the liberal use of YO's. You can see samples of his design on this page . (Click on the photos to see the detail. Really, it's worth a mouse click to see the full glory.)

Now I've knit some lace in my time. Some of it can be seen on this blog. But suddenly, it seemed I hadn't even begun to knit lace. This stuff just seemed a whole other level. Then I stumbled across Rosemarie's blog, and she had knit such beautiful things -- including Lyra. That was it - in a short couple of hours Herbert Niebling, and Lyra specifically, had become an obsession. (And if you read the comments on my previous entry you'll see Rosemarie has kindly agreed to help point me in the right direction. Wahey! An expert on my side.)

I also discovered a Yahoo Group of knitters equally (possibly more) obsessed with knitting Niebling patterns. Wahey again!

Then the bad news. Getting a copy of Niebling patterns is NOT EASY. In fact this Yahoo Group is devoted to knitters trying to convince the owner of the patterns copyright to reprint them.

On there is promise of an upcoming book of lace patterns of the 'Niebling school'. So possibly Nieblings, possibly just good patterns in his style. But I wanted Lyra!!!!

One of the sites mentioned the crazy prices his patterns were getting on eBay and so I knew eBay it was.

Luckily for me - there it was - the holy grail. A copy of Burda magazine (in German)(but you can't have everything, and charts are universal) with Lyra in it! The auction was due to end Sunday night so I put in a bid and crossed my fingers. I was outbid twice so I put in my absolute maximum price, turned off the PC and tried not to think about whether I should increase it a smidge. just in case... I logged on the next morning and I'd won. Yippppeeee!!!

The pattern is on its way and should be with me shortly.

I would love to make this for my mother - I know she'd love it, and in fact, I think she might even cry. Also, it may help her come to terms with the fact that I am never going to finish tatting that tablecloth I started for her 20 years ago. (My mother has kept that 3/4 finished tablecloth in a trunk in her basement and we have a ritual when I visit where she takes it out and half jokingly, half hopefully asks if perhaps this year I'll finish it.)

Of course, that leads to my fear that I'll start Lyra....and never finish. Hmmm...

PS Yarn pictures are from top to bottom

  • Posh Yarn Sophia laceweight, no plans
  • Posh Yarn Silk DK, possibly another Sarcelle or Clapotis or.... similar
  • Posh Yarn Silk DK, (ditto)
  • Posh Yarn Sophia laceweight, possibly a Honey Bee Stole
  • Lorna's Laces Sock yarn, socks
PPS Still no Wyoming visitors. Although I've learned that Wyoming has the smallest population of any State in the US so that may account for it. In any event, I'm determined that I will soon start a campaign to lure Wyoming-ites to this blog. Even if only for a second.


yarndancer said...

Wow! I just went to the page with Niebring's lace on it, and . . . wow. I'm speechless. I'm having enough trouble with the mystery stole. But now I want to persevere so I can even attempt something like that. Well done you, for even thinking about it. Can't wait to see it!

Jane said...

Lucky girl! I've just started my Lyra this month and I too won my pattern on E-Bay. The woman I out-bid eventually also got a copy and I've been in communication with her. She may do it with Zephyr, I'm using a cone of cashmere/silk for ColourMartUK. You will not regret it and I think it's a lot of fun to knit. Congratulations.

Jane said...

Oh, I forgot, there is an older blog that posted lots of examples of Lyra knit in many different types of yarn/thread/needle sizes ( it was called the Lyra Learning Group. I have both of the knitting book from Lacis and they are in Japanese with a translation into English of the symbols. I will try something from that after I finish my Lyra :-)

Rosemarie Buchanan said...

And I'm the Lyra Learning Group Blogger, too! Isn't that great?!! (she said with great humility ;-)

Soo, I'm drooling all over my keyboard looking at the SILK... slurp! I love, love, LOVE silk thread (and if you check out my blog, do a search for Azalea doily-to-shawl, which I also did in silk .. it's an adaptation of Kinzel's Azalea doily, and you might want to check out the post called "Fair Winnings", and see how the Azalea did at the local fair, along with NINE other knitted lace projects of mine ... like I said, NO humility!).

I'm so happy you're starting the Lyra soon. You will LOVE doing it, and you will LOVE the thing when it's done.

I'll be watching with great interest, and probably send you a cheerleading email from time to time!
Rosemarie Buchanan, Vancouver Island, on Canada's Glorious West Coast (can I email you some west coast sand?? ;-)

Adrienne said...

What beautiful yarns!!!!!!

Holly said...

Lyra is stunning. Looking at your previous work, I don't think you'll struggle too much - I know you'll create something gorgeous... and you'll finish.

Gotta go wipe the drool off my keyboard - the new yarn is gorgeous!

Can't wait to watch your progress on Lyra, be sure to post often.

But more important, finish up MS3 so I can have a looksie!

Jane said...

Dear Soo,

Since I have the English translation for this magazine, I would be happy to give you some information on instructions printed in the article that might be helpful if you give me your e-mail address. I am at

Rosemarie Buchanan said...

Jane just stole my thunder! I have the English instructions, too.

When you get your pattern, and before you start knitting, give me a shout and I'll give you a great hint on how to make your hexagonal background stitch nice and tidy ... Niebling loves that stitch (called "Bird's Eye" in the Barbara Walker Treasury, I believe), but depending on your method of execution, you can end up with a nice hexagon, or a messy, stringy-lookin' thing (how's THAT for technical??!!).


sgeddes said...

What a challenge! It is going to be beautiful. I wouldn't even begin to think of attempting something like this - but I'm goign to have fun watching your progress.

FairyNuff said...

drooool I'm in yarn heaven!!!
Some seriously gorgeous yarns you've got the Soo

Janet said...

Hello from Wyoming. Yes, we do have the least population, but here in NE Wyoming (Sheridan, etc.) there's a very active group of fiber people including knitters, quilters, etc. We have a great yarn shop here, so if you're ever in the neighborhood, stop by The Fiber House. I myself have several German magazines and a book by Burda with several of Neibling's patterns. I'm looking forward to doing them in the not too distant future. You're Lyra is magnificent, and much prettier in the white/ecru than the photo with the pattern in the red. Thanks for sharing the project.