Sunday, December 02, 2007

Why lace in the depth of the winter?

It was the very first cold day some time ago when I was going out for a walk with the dogs. The temperature was way down, it must have been something around –14°C or so and after milder fall days it felt a bit too cold. As I was getting ready for this arctic adventure I finalized my dressing up wrapping a large lace shawl around my neck and partly my face. Lace is just the right fabric for this task; it is light and not too harsh on your face yet airy and warm. This lace shawl was the one and I wear it daily around the house. In the mornings when it is difficult to get up from under covers, I reach for this piece, when I sit in front of the computer, it is this one to keep me cosy and it follows me around most of the day.

Why I find this shawl so appealing is a mystery to me. This is certainly not the most beautiful shawl I have knit. The colour (off in this photo, the colour is called Moorit I think) – first of all – is plain and simple but easy and comfy and not demanding or showy. The yarn is hand spun Shetland and I did not do a very good job in spinning and it is showing some wear. There was a time when I thought that Shetland was my wool and if I were to choose one to spin for the rest of my life, I would have chosen Shetland then. I did not have any shawl pattern but the stitch pattern must be one of the most used ones. This shawl is very similar to many on the market but I was not following any written instructions, I was trying to figure out how to do the increases and add an edging by myself. And the shawl is very big. But this is the shawl I use all the time. She isn’t any kind of prima Donna nor is she the centrepiece of my wardrobe but a faithful and quiet and trusty companion. There is nothing - neither spectacular nor luxurious - in her and I don’t feel that I need to save her (as stupid as it might sound) for better days or occasions.

But realizing how important this shawl had become to my everyday well being made me want to start on lace again and I picked up my Icelandic ufo with the alpaca yarn. Light and airy and so very thin alpaca feels a bit strange and difficult now and this brings me to my dilemma with the next shawl. Should I use fingering weight all wool yarn or should I consider something more luxurious? When I look at the shawl in my lap, I think that the fingering wool would be the right choice, but I have some very lovely delicate beauties that just might be a good choice after all… Then again, I live in the country and seldom go anywhere.

The edging of the Icelandic shawl was a surprise to me. I thought I was knitting again the green little shawl I showed you yesterday until I actually started the edging according to the copy of the pattern I had stored with the shawl in a plastic bag. The shawl I seem to be knitting is this one! This shows just how long time ago was the last time I put any rows on this shawl. Really I’m quite happy with this surprise because the recipient is going to love the frill factor this shawl has. The edging rows are long and with all the work around at the moment the edging just might take a bit longer than I thought.

Now let’s see if I manage to upload a little video clip of my other walking companion and inspiration for the new lace era…(Now that I wrote lace era down, I’m sure my mind will come up with a sweater pattern with plain stockinette…)


Thank you for your support and nice comments and tips for knitting books and yarn!

(The baby knits book I showed some time ago does have some charts but ability to understand few French words - ability that I totally lack - would be very helpful.)


  1. How wonderful to have such an enthusiastic companion! It looks like he(she?)'s trying to swim in the snow.

  2. Look at Tiina's tail go! That is one happy puppy! She is such a love.

  3. Astrid20:42

    What a pretty Advent calendar you have! Your companion clearly just loves to be out in the snow. I'm also knitting lace and enjoying a snowy day -- but for us near Seattle, the snow isn't suppposed to last until tomorrow. It'll be a treat to have a little snippet of Lene everyday this month!

  4. Lene, I've been lurking for quite a while, enjoying your blog but being my usual not-much-of-a-commenter self, but today you've found the easiest way to get me out of lurkdom! The last sentence of your post made it... If you need any help with these French patterns, please let me know: I'd be more than happy to help you!
    kimianak [at] gmail [dot] com

  5. Oh, thank you for sharing the clip of Tiina! So funny, I have seen dogs roll in grass, dirt and even sand, but never snow! (might be because we don't get snow here- huh?)

    I am also loving lace these days and have a much used and not so pretty shawl that I wear around the house constantly. The other thing that I like about lace is that it IS something that is appropriate in most climates! I am going to knit lace in India. Yes, I shall. Thanks for sharing Lene!

  6. I have been enjoying your blog for a while now, and want to say how lovely your everyday lace shawl is. We are in the middle of a snow storm here, and I find lace is so comforting to wear.
    There was a lovely icelandic shawl in Piecework several years ago, and your new work reminds me of it.

  7. caroline01:44

    Lene, there is a book called Knitting Languages by Margaret Heathman that is published by Schoolhouse Press, Meg Swansen's and formerly Elizabeth Zimmerman's business. It has just about everything you might need. Unfortunately it doesn't have Finnish. It does have Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and English in addition to French and other European languages. I've found it helpful. p.s. it even has English (England) to English (American)! good luck with the patterns...

  8. Beautiful lace! and I love the sound of your faithful shawl.
    Very pretty Advent calendar.
    I watched the video six times and could watch it more, she's such a beauty!

  9. My faithful shawl is the Prairie Shawl from Folk Shawls, and it is also my companion and is worn with pyjamas, etc.
    Our dogs do the same thing in snow, but because they have longer hair and our snow is wetter, they get lots of snowballs on their legs, tummy and faces. They have to go to the laundry tub and be freed of snowballs, but oh what fun they have in the snow! You can almost see your dog smiling!
    I just bought 'Knitted Kimonos' and I can see two kimonos I want to knit!

  10. Who needs a sled when you have a furry belly? She looks like she's having so much fun!

  11. I've been feeling the need to knit lace lately, does seem funny when it's so cold outside! I still have to finish one more Christmas present, though, before I can knit up some lace.

    Your everyday shawl is lovely, and Tiina is such a sweetie! Dogs are always so happy about snow, I love to watch them running around in it. :)

  12. Your pup is sun to watch.

    I notice your snow is so crisp and dry compared to ours.

    When I see your lace I see how much practice I need. It is so beautiful.

  13. I just love your blog and had to say that all those shawls are beautiful. The everyday shawl is really what it's all about, knitting at its best. Love your dog too, he looks so happy playing in the snow, all we get here in the far south of England is rain; not nearly so much fun!

  14. Ha, Tiina is so happy! We're getting our first real snow today, and Rudy was doing just the same thing!
    I look forward to whatever lace you decide on - your shawls are so inspiring!

  15. Hello Lene, your walking companion is beautiful and very cute. i love your lace shawl, i've never tried lace before so i think i shall have to try knitting something in the new year as i am busy knitting Christmas gifts.

  16. Priscilla18:55

    Lene, thank you for the beautiful post: your Advent calendar, lace projects, and the wonderful sight and sound of Tina in the snow.

  17. Tiina is hilarious. I showed that video to my son and he kept asking "More? More!" (okay, it was mostly demanding...)
    I love that shawl. It looks so cozy and warm, and yet still beautiful. (I'm all about the homey beauty when it gets cold and dark.)

  18. It's nice to see someone so thoroughly happy with snow.

  19. I love the little pictures from your Advent calendar. What a lovely way to start each post in December.

    Tina is having way too much fun in the snow.

  20. Looks like Tiina really loves the snow. My walking companion tries to pick up all 4 feet at once; she truly dislikes cold feet.

  21. Anne04:33

    What a happy dog!! Is she a Shiba Inu?

  22. Tina is so lovely! I love it when she puts her head in the snow! Thank you for making my day!

  23. Renee03:52

    Your video clip is hilarious! Our teens had to run into the kitchen to see whatever crazy thing their mother was watching. They laughed themselves silly enjoying your dog's romp. lol

  24. Anonymous18:22

    Your knitting and all hand work is beautiful. Wondering about your "shawl wearing", do you wear wool sweaters under your shawl or just a shawl instead of a sweater? Where I live (not cold compared to your climate), I always need a sweater to be comfortable. I wonder if a shawl "gets in your way" as you go about your day.
    Thank you, Merry Christmas.