The road lace traveled

Hello friends, makers, and creators of WordPress. After a 3 month hiatus from blogging, I’m hoping to get a semi-regular posting habit going again. Although I haven’t been as active blog-wise this year, I have been reading and enjoying your posts. Your collective creativity sustained my imagination during my own blogging dry spell, and reading your stories and updates inspires me to come back to making, reflecting, and writing again — the lather, rinse, repeat of creativity (like, in a good way).

One happy update: earlier this summer, I tied the knot with my partner and best friend of 9 years! We enjoyed a sunny day and a simple, symbolic ceremony outside of Chicago on a grassy patch by a lake. We were grateful for fluffy clouds across a blue Midwestern sky and the loving company of close friends and family.

So. While planning, one thing I definitely wanted to do for the day was to wear a handmade garment. Having read about traditions of lace-making in The Book of Haps a year ago, my mind was full of lace-shaped dreams. I love the way lace catches light and drapes and moves and makes shadows. I was also resolved to take my lace skills to the next level. I decided, last Spring, that I’d make myself a shawl.

I chose a sport weight baby blue alpaca (as my LYS-lady said, alpaca’s got a natural “glow”) and selected a pattern that looked challenging but also possible for me: Jessie Dodington’s Dinner in the Eiffel Tower shawl. It’s a beautiful crescent-shaped cover, inspired by the famous tower’s criss-cross lattice structure. I was excited, enthused, pumped on wedding-planning adrenaline, and on my way…

ยฉ Jessie Dodington

But, because mistakes are inevitable…

I realized, early on, that I needed to devise my own way of dealing with lace-making mistakes in order to avoid past (disappointing) experiences of frogging-the-whole-darn-thing. With the later rows reaching 265 stitches, this became all the more important! Since the lattice section of the shawl relied on a pattern that repeated every 7 stitches, I “pre-knit” each row by weaving a line of yarn in between stitches to mark every 7-stitch repeat. This marking method helped me to “see” where each repeat was going to occur before physically knitting the row out. When I did, inevitably, make a mistake, this method also helped me to see where in the knitting the mistake happened, making correcting it 1000 times easier. It was time-consuming, yes, but this method was my own little eureka! moment of lace-knitting; it got me through the project and showed me that, with a little extra planning, more lace-making is possible in the foreseeable future.

As usual, when the shawl first comes off the needles, it’s a crumpled up, non-shawl-looking thing. The structures of lace come alive on the blocking board.


On the blocking board.
Out where lace loves to live: under the sun.

Just revisiting these pictures from earlier this summer fills me with a sense of lace-lover’s magic all over again.

Ok. That is all the news for now. Wishing you a restful weekend and an exciting, productive week!

32 thoughts on “The road lace traveled

  1. Congratulations Shirley, what wonderful news! And this shawl is magnificent. This pattern has caught my eye a long time ago, so nice to see a new version of it. And kudos for finding a method that helped you through the whole process. Lace knitting can be tricky, and you found a way to make it easier for you. Well done!
    I hear you on the blogging side. I’ve been pretty absent from my blog too, it’s not that I don’t have anything to say, but I’m always debating how or when or why, and time flies between posts. I am looking forward to reading more from you in the coming weeks.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Agnรจs, for your kind words! ๐Ÿ™‚ It was good to give myself the challenge, and I feel a lot was learned from it.

      I’ve been doing the same during this break: mentally planning to post, wondering how, and never quite getting around to it until recently, ha! I look forward to catching up on your blog as well and look forward to reading more. I hope that this summer has been productive and relaxing, and that the heat hasn’t been too unbearable. Hoping good things are on your needles! Bisous. ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Thank you, Hannah! Yes – it was fun to find a way to make a knit souvenir of the day. Thanks for reading, and hoping your summer has been fun, relaxing, and full of craft goodness. Looking forward to catching up. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats, Shirley–on a wedding and a beautiful shawl! I love the idea of “pre-knitting” each row and have done that myself so many times!! I need help with the visualization thing and that gets me in the right headspace. I hope you’re having a lovely fall and I’m looking forward to hearing more about your adventures, as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Melissa! I’m happy to hear that the method has been helpful for you, too. Yes – it creates a good headspace for knitting to see things planned out a bit (great minds and what not…๐Ÿ˜„). It was also very absorbing to count the stitches, and ending on the right count for a row always felt like a little reward. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Likewise – I hope you’re having a great fall and enjoyed a restful summer, and that your home organization projects are going smoothly. And, wishing you a smooth transition back to the academic year, of course. Looking forward to catching up. ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Oh oh. This post was well worth waiting for. Your bridal shawl is most beautiful. Congratulations on making such a complicated pattern and thanks for sharing your mistake detecting method.
    Not least, best wishes and jubilations on your marriage

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s wonderful to see you posting again, Shirley! Huge congratulations on your wedding!! I love your shawl. It’s beautiful by itself, but I’m sure it was glorious in the wearing. I wish you and your partner all the very best for a lifetime of happiness. โค๏ธ

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you kindly, Melinda! ๐Ÿ™‚ The shawl will definitely be worn again, especially with the approaching Fall. Hoping that good things are on your needles, and looking forward to catching up with you. Hope, too, that your summer has been a good one! โค๏ธ


  5. Ooooh, congratulations!! I hope that your marriage will be blessed, happy and full of life. That’s wonderful news!

    I love your shawl. It is simply gorgeous. It looks so soft and comforting too. โ™ฅ

    As for blogging, no worries, I think we all need to take a step back sometimes. When that time comes for each blogger is different. But when you need a break, you just do! Sometimes we can regain our creativity after a long-overdue refresh. Remembering our why ๐Ÿ™‚

    Blessings to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Holly, and for stopping by to read. I’m glad you enjoy the shawl – it’s special to have a memorable handmade thing from the day. And you’re right – a break was what I needed to feel enthused about blogging and making again. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, how did I miss this lovely post until now? It’s so good to see you back, Shirley, and with such wonderful news! Congratulations on your marriage, and your shawl is truly stunning! I’ll also be using your tip about pre-knitting to help any students who are tackling tricky patterns, so thanks for that too ๐Ÿ˜Š
    Here’s wishing you a very happy autumn!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Helen, for your kind words.
      How wonderful to know that you are still working with your students. Yes – I find the pre-knitting a good ‘safety net’ for any pattern with repeats on a row. I hope classes are going well, and wish you and your knitting pupils good things on the needles this fall! ๐Ÿงถ


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s