Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Another yarn woe with a project. I've joined the Niebling Lace Forum on www.knittedlace.info and we are currently having a knit-along of one of Herbert Niebling's lace patterns. We are able to knit the Niebling pattern of our choice. Herbert Niebling was a a well-known German designer of knitted lace and his patterns were originally pubished by Burda Verlag, a German publishing house. Most of his work was done in the 1940s and 1950s. His patterns are currently not available in a published collection, so those of us who were not fortunate or smart enough to amass the Anna magazines in the 70s and 80s, are paying dearly on E-Bay to collect the patterns. There is also a Yahoo group advocating with Burda Publishing to have Niebling's patterns re-issued as a collection. With this history in mind, I chose the pattern Minettara, a beautiful lace pattern for a circular table cloth from the January 1985 issue of Anna Magazine. Since I had bought some lace weight wool yarn from Blackberry Ridge Farm at the 2006 Michigan Fiber Festival in Allegan, Mich., I decided to use it. Well, now we are to the "argh!" of this post.

The yarn looked beautiful in the skein, a single ply, non-dyed yarn, of appropriate softness for a shawl. Then, I attempted to wind the yarn into a ball, and there, the trouble started. The yarn broke eaily and frequently while winding, making me question the yarn's ability to stand up to the final blocking of the finished cloth. Nevertheless, I decided to start knitting with it. As I was nearing the end of the first repeat, it became abundantly clear that this particular project was not going to happen with this particular yarn. What to do? Knit Picks to the rescue. I've ordered 3 skeins of Alpaca Cloud, hoping that this yarn is of a more substantial nature.

In the meantime, I have "wasted" precious time on this project. But then, maybe not! It gave me a chance to try out the pattern with a lace weight wool rather than the normal doily crochet cotton. This exercise in futility also gave me a better feel for the pattern. From the sample, I believe it will look fabulous with a lace weight yarn and larger needles and will make a beautiful shawl. I am also intrigued by the pattern's construction; Niebling decreases the no. of stitches gradually over several rows towards the end of the first pattern set, which leaves the pattern not exactly round at the end of the 60 rows. Yet the picture in the Anna magazine has the table cloth blocked as a circle. I'm not sure whether or not this will be taken care of as the design progresses or if the type of material I have chosen affects the shape of the shawl. At any rate, I will know the outcome of this experiment when I have finished the shawl. Until then I shall knit on other projects until the new yarn arrives. "Knit on."

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