Lace patterns – what was I thinking?

Things I like: knitting intricate lace with long repeats.

Things I don’t like: writing out said long repeats, charting said long repeats. Checking for errors.

Why did I do a wrap with a 34 stitch repeat over 24 rows in the pattern?

Because I didn’t really think the writing of the pattern through. And because – it’s so pretty, it looks amazing and it isn’t hard to knit, as long as you use the stitch markers as recommended. But writing it out is painful.

Bread and Roses Shawl

In ivory, this beaded shawl is inspired by, and pays homage to the worldwide call for suffrage and equality.  You can find more out here: Bread and Roses Shawl inspiration

This shawl is stunningly elegant and incredibly light while still providing warmth.  It will work in a variety of settings, from an evening out, to cuddling up in a lakeside cabin watching storms roll over.  It would also work beautifully as a shawl for a winter or fall wedding.

Pattern has been sample knitted and tech edited.  Both written and charted instructions are provided.

This is an excellent project for both a confident knitter and someone who wants to expand their repertoire. The shawl builds to a beautiful complex piece of work but each step is carefully laid out and the individual lace patterns are relatively simple.

This shawl is also available as a commissioned work. Please contact me directly – alexandra@kororaknits.ca to discuss further.

Techniques used:  Lace work, crochet hook beading.

Materials required:  800 – 850 yds (730-750m) fingering weight yarn, stitch markers, tapestry needle, 1.00mm crochet hook, approximately 1300 size 6/0 seed beads, US size 6 (4mm) knitting needles (straight or circular)

Deconstructed

beaded lace shawl on mannequin

I just did the math on the bread and roses shawl. So by the numbers:

  • 815 yards or 750 metres of fingering weight yarn
  • 55grams or approximately 1300 size 6/0 Czech seed beads
  • 20 hours development time
  • 30 hours knit time
  • 1.5 hours blocking out time
  • 12 hours drying time

Thoroughly worth it!

Changing seasons

It’s definitely fall now in Vancouver. When I was out for a walk yesterday afternoon I got a lovely photo of this plant as it changes with the season. The colour of the berries and leaf shape were the inspiration for my flowering Victorian lace wrap or rectangular shawl.

Bread and Roses Shawl update

Ivory lace shawl on mannequin

My timeline is holding! The shawl is off the needles and needs to have its ends sewn in and be thoroughly blocked. I’m sharing this photo so people can see how much of a difference blocking makes with something like a lacework shawl. To me it’s the difference between a lovely hand made garment and an ‘oh wow – that is amazing – where did you get it garment.

Bread and Roses Shawl

I have struggled with this shawl. The idea is clear as day in my head, but getting it out on paper and realized in yarn has been more challenging that I thought it would be. The good news is that the problems have been solved and it is now coming together beautifully. The rosebuds look gorgeous and the Czech seed beads are a lovely shade of pink/copper/gold. I’m a bit concerned about the ears of wheat, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

It is my suffrage shawl and it is not going to be ready in time for the NZ elections where one of two women will definitely be Prime Minister (17 October). Nor will it be ready for the British Columbia elections (24 October) but I’m pretty sure it will be ready for me to swish around my shoulders and watch the US elect a women Vice President. They might fall short again, it’s true. But the shawl is reminder to keep fighting for your rights not only for the most basic of things, enough money to buy food and shelter but also that we all deserve beauty, art and inspiration in our lives.

I hope when the pattern is published at the end of October 2020 that this shawl inspires other knitters or brings joy to anyone lucky enough to have it given to them as a gift.

Glorious Inspiration

Bread & Roses (Judy Collins)

I have loved this song and this specific version for as long as I can remember. As I got older the lyrics resonated more and more for me. If there was an anthem just for me and my philosophy on life, this would be a good place to start. It has never failed to move me and I wanted to pay tribute both to the beauty of the song but also the continuing cause of women’s suffrage.

Lawrence Textile Strike

As someone in fiber arts I’m also interested in the association the song has with the Lawrence Textile Strike where thousands of women mill workers took to the streets for better pay and working conditions. Although the strike captured public sympathy and drew attention to the cause, it ultimately was not successful in significantly improving the lot of mill workers. Yarn dyers, and fabric designers are still trying to work out how to make a living wage from fiber arts. Sweatshops in the developing world continue to have horrendous working conditions and give the developed world a false sense of the cost of clothing production. It’s still relevant.

Lyrics

As we go marching, marching
In the beauty of the day
A million darkened kitchens
A thousand mill lofts grey
Are touched with all the radiance
That a sudden sun discloses
For the people hear us singing
Bread and roses, bread and roses

As we go marching, marching
We battle too for men
For they are women’s children
And we mother them again
Our lives shall not be sweated
From birth until life closes
Hearts starve as well as bodies
Give us bread, but give us roses

As we go marching, marching
Unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing
Their ancient call for bread
Smart art and love, and beauty
Their drudging spirits knew
Yes, it is bread we fight for
But we fight for roses, too

As we go marching, marching
We bring the greater days
The rising of the women
Means the rising of the race
No more the drudge and idler
Ten that toil where one reposes
But the sharing of life’s glories
Bread and roses, bread and roses

Our lives shall not be sweated
From birth until life closes
Hearts starve as well as bodies
Bread and roses, bread and roses!

Frosty Evening Wrap

Woman wearing stripy wrap

Just uploaded my first pattern to Ravelry. Thank you all for the very kind comments. I’m so happy people like it. Can’t wait to show more work off.

For anyone wanting to try it – go to my patterns page or directly to Ravelry to download.

It’s a great pattern for any level. I liked doing it while watching TV – I got through a season of Deadwood doing this pattern. It is repetitive and easy enough to do in front of the TV while still being interesting.

I also loved running my hand along the fabric as it knitted up. It has a beautiful texture and the yarn I chose (Provincial Tweed from Knit Picks) has great shine and a silky feel.

Whitewater Wrap

So I made this in June 2020 for my mum. She was going to get it when she came to visit but we’ve now given up and it’s going in the post in a couple of days. The travel thing just isn’t safe right now. At least she gets this beautiful wrap. I wish it was my design but it’s by the very talented Amy van de Laar from www.baroquepurls.com. Its deceptively simple but incredibly effective. My friend G. oohed and aahed over this one and loves the fact that it has a moving pattern. So I’m adding it to the list of things I need to be thinking about and working on. A wrap that has two patterns in either a rectangle or triangle shape. I like the idea of half the wrap being simple garter or stocking stitch like it is here, but I’m also curious about blending two lace patterns. Could end up looking dreadfully muddled if done wrong though.