Sunday, 30 September 2007
Tuesday, 25 September 2007
Monday, 24 September 2007
In the meantime a few people in the comments expressed an interest in learning a little more about the genius that is Niebling, so I've pulled together the little bit I've learned over the past few weeks into a Niebling Knit Bits.
Niebling Knit Bits
1) There is very little biographical information on Niebling. Apparently he started knitting when he was about 6, making gloves for soldiers in the war.
2) The charting of lace patterns (rather than writing out the knitting sequence) is often attributed to him.
3) The patterns can be quite complex and have a very different feel to them than the more geometric patterns found in books like Victorian Lace Today and A Gathering of Lace. (Both of which are fab by the way.)(Just different.)
4) His patterns have 'unusual' increase/decrease bursts - which give some of the fluid shapes -- but can mean the knitting pulls or strains. (If you look at pictures of Lyra you'll see that in the 3rd set of leaves.)
5) Many of his patterns appeared in Anna/Burda magazines. They don't appear in many other forms, making them sometimes quite difficult to get hold of. But don't despair - some tips on getting Niebling patterns follow!
6) Lyra appears to be the most popular Niebling pattern -- but there are many beautiful Nieblings to discover. Which is why so many of us are addicted to Niebling Knitting. Some of the links below will take you to Niebling maserpieces throughout blogland.
Many of the patterns are out of print which is why many of us spend a bit of time each week on eBay looking for back issues of Anna/Burda magazines. A search on 'Niebling' usually uncovers some goodies. The good news is that most sellers will highlight a Niebling pattern in any issue they are selling making them easier to find. The bad news of course is that means other Niebling lovers will also be interested.
The magazine with Lyra in it is from June 1986. I'm not sure how much an English copy of the magazine sells for but I paid $38 for the German copy I have. German copies seem to come up every few weeks so don't go crazy with bidding - patience may work for you.
Other magazines with lots of Nieblings can go for more, and magazines with only one 'lesser known' Niebling can be bought for less than $10 on occasion. If you watch the auctions for a couple of weeks you'll see which patterns are 'hot' and what the going price is.
Happily the German magazines come (usually) with a supplement providing instructions for the chart symbols. And if you don't have one - there is an online resource at KnittingFools which provides chart translations for many charting styles including Burda.
A bit of Alta Vista Babel translation and help from some blogland will help with the non-chart instructions (casting on, off and any special instructions).
Lacis has 2 books of Niebling (Niebling school) patterns. (you have to scroll WAAAAAAAY down the page to find them) I haven't seen either so can't comment on them. (But they are on my Christmas list!)
Finally, DoilyHead has 2 leaflets with quite a few patterns that she managed to convince the Burda family to let her publish. I've got both of those (blame Jane) and there are some interesting bits and pieces in there.
EDITED 12 October: I've discovered another source for some of Niebling's gorgeous patterns. Glenda (aka Doilyhead)(I love that name!) - anyway Glenda has some single patterns for sale -- you can check out which patterns she has at her Flickr site.
Glenda refers to herself as a 'Niebling addict enabler' and when you see the patterns you'll know why!
Online Niebling Goldmines
There are two Niebling related Yahoo Groups (I don't belong to either!)(yet) - Niebling Lace Knitters for talking about knitting Nieblings, and Herbert Niebling Patterns whose focus is pestering Burda to publish the dang patterns!
Some Niebling knitting from the wilds of blogland (in no particular order!):
Rosemarie has knit up some beautiful Nieblings and has a great circular start tutorial.
OceanKnitter completed an award winning Lyra last year.
The Lyra Learning Group is just that - a group of knitters led by Rosemarie who tackled Lyra. Some gorgeous versions there as well as a few tips and hints.
Angelfire has quite a few pics of different Nieblings. Click on the small pictures to see the detail. It's well worth it!!
And of course there are Jane, Fleegle and Z's Momma - all welcome commenters on this blog and inspiring Niebling (and other styles of lace) knitters.
Right, that's everything I can think of about Herbie for now. Please feel free to add info/links I've missed in the comments and I'll edit the post to include them.
Saturday, 22 September 2007
This reminds me -- I realised at some point this week that I had entirely miscalculated the number of stitches in Lyra. By my new reckoning it is over 105,000 for the round version, and a little more than that for the square one.
This photo shows one of the corners emerging.
Monday, 17 September 2007
(She's got to do something while those cakes are baking.)
I've sort of stalled on the hat making -- so I'll need to give them some attention this week.
Of course I've stalled because I've been obsessed with knitting the Lyra. It's moving along more quickly than I expected -- at the cost of actually doing anything else. Like laundry, shopping or sleep.
I'm becoming a convert to the German charting style - there are definite advantages, particularly when you have long stretches of plain knitting or a set of stitches to be repeated X times.
I'm also considering abandoning my beloved Addi Lace needles for KnitPick circulars. I used the KnitPicks for the early rounds and switched to the Addi's recently when the KnitPicks were too short. The smoothness of the KnitPicks and the super sharp points are sorely missed - particularly now that I'm attacking the mini cables in the flowers.
That's right. This Niebling guy has put cables in lace.
Cables. In lace.
Worlds colliding. Anarchy.
I can only imagine what else he has up his Lyra sleeve.
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
Jane and Rosemarie to the rescue (I sent out a couple of SOS's) - they confirmed the meaning of the abbreviation and I was off again.
I've just finished round 40 and I resent having to put it down. Sleep. Such an inconvenience. (And don't get me started on this working for a living thing.)
I can't stretch it out on this needle for a proper photo - but this one gives the idea. I'm using Lorna's Laces, Helen's Lace yarn (natural colour) with 2.5mm needles.
Yesterday I used my very rusty mathematics skills to estimate that the 179 rounds of Lyra will require around 64,000 stitches. 32,000 of those stitches will be plain knitting. The other 32,000 will be patterned.
Sunday, 9 September 2007
The pattern is a vintage doily brought back to life by Brooklyn Tweed's suggestion of knitting it in chunky yarn.
I blocked it out to 48 inches diameter. If I were to make the pattern again I'd add another foot on to that at least.
Friday, 7 September 2007
Tuesday, 4 September 2007
But fear not fans of orange I've not given up yet! I'm going to try doubling up the yarn. This will give the thickness I'm looking for, and will (I think) help with the variegation of the yarn as the colours will become blended. (That's the theory anyway.)
Thanks so much to everyone for their input....it helps to know others share your pain!
Tonight was a better night. I took my gorgeous goddaughter (is goddaughter one word?) to see
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat. This is perhaps not entirely knitting related but I thought I could include it as my Kaffe Fassett coat has always been fondly referred to as the coat of many colours (and many Joseph songs have been sung while knitting it as a result) AND I did a lot of productive knitting watching Lee Mead win the role of Joseph in BBC's Any Dream Will Do.
In celebrity spotting - Michael Parkinson sat 2 rows in front of us (for North American readers Michael Parkinson is the godfather of the celebrity interview here, anyone who is anyone gets interviewed by Michael Parkinson). G was most impressed when I confirmed that Parkinson had more than likely interviewed Justin Timberlake. I'm sure it was a highlight of Parky's career as well.
The show was a joy. I defy anyone to watch the finale without wishing they were up on that stage - they looked like they were having so much fun.
And finally in the world of socks. The Kaffe Fassett socks are almost done - just need to complete the afterthought heel on the second pair. I've attempted to outline in pictures the process, but for a better outline check out the Knitting Biologists explanation.
The heel can be knit in either toe up or cuff down socks. When you reach where you want the heel to be, simply knit 30 stitches (for a 60 stitch plain sock) onto a piece of smooth contrasting scrap yarn.
Then knit those stitches again with the sock yarn and continue knitting through the cuff or toe of your sock. When you are ready to work the heel you can either remove the contrasting yarn by cutting it and then pick up the stitches, or (if you are cautious like me) pick the stitches up before you cut the contrasting yarn.
I use a smaller needle to pick up the stitches (2mm here, the socks are knit on 2.5mm needles) which makes it easier.
Cut the contrasting yarn (I've used a seam ripper because I can't find my small sharp scissors) (sigh). Remove the bits of contrasting yarn from the stitches and you now have 60 stitches ready to shape into a heel.
Join your sock yarn, and start knitting across your stitches. You can pick up 1 (or more) stitches at each end of the needles if you are worried about holes. I'm a dpn sock knitter, so I'd spread the stitches across four needles.
The good news is that it seems that the standard decreasing used for toes works equally well for heels. Simply decrease 1 stitch at the beginning of needle 1, the end of needle 2, the beginning of needle 3 and the end of needle 4 every second row until you have about 24 stitches left. Here's one I made earlier.
Kitchener the stitches and heh presto an afterthought heel!
(Heel flaps are still my favourite.)
(But these work well for patterned yarn where you don't want to disturb the pattern for the heel.)
Right. It's late now, and I've sung all the Joseph songs so it must be time for bed. Any dream will do.....but one involving a handsome stranger and a lottery win would go down particularly well.
Sunday, 2 September 2007
The bad news is that although I've made some pretty serious knitting progress on the orange blanket/throw I know it isn't really working. In fact I think I realised that quite a while ago (pretty much after the first pattern repeat) but as usual I go into denial about these things and just keep knitting in blind faith that somehow the extra knitting will sort out the problem.
This approach has never once resulted in success. It only ever means more wasted energy and more knitting to frog when I finally do admit the truth. But still, I cling to the hope. As there were so many stitches (over 500 by this time) it was a squashed up blob on my needles and I tried to blame all of my reservations on that. But in my heart....
When I got back from the knitting group I knew it was time to get serious about the orange thing. So I slipped the stitches onto some cable and pinned it out.
I hate being right.
The yarn is too thin for the effect I want, and the variegated orange just doesn't help. The pattern is fighting it and losing.
So, I'll leave it pinned out just in case by some miracle it looks more like I want it to in the morning (it won't) and then I'll frog it tomorrow night.