Saturday, January 6, 2007

New Beginnings

I couldn't wait. My daughter's sweater is almost but not completely finished, but I went ahead and started on my next project--lace! The yarn and pattern have been sitting and waiting for over a month and I have been itching to give lace a try since I saw those beautiful photos of River posted on Mind of Winter. The pattern is by Sharon Miller from Rowan No. 38 and the yarn I am using is Rowan Kidsilk Haze, color 582 Trance. Both the yarn and the pattern book were purchased from, otherwise known as Sakonnet Purls. I highly recommend this place because of the good service I received and the good prices (and also because they happen to be in Rhode Island, my home state). They are having a sale right now, so check them out.

Since this will be my first attempt at lace, I intend to follow the instructions to the letter using the 10.5 needles and doing all 11 repeats as called for. We'll see how it goes... I have blocking wires on order from Knit Picks and I am using their Options needles which seem to be perfect for this kind of project. They are very pointy which makes knitting 2 or 3 stitches together so much easier. At first I had trouble with the tips coming unscrewed from the cable as I worked, but I found that if you use their little tool to make the join really tight, they stay put.

Knitting with the KSH is like knitting with gossamer or a spider's web, it is so fine and filmy. The mohair "glow" and the blue color give the result the look of a cloud. I chose blue because it is supposed to be a river, right?

My grandfather on my mother's side was a lacemaker. He emigrated to this country from Nottingham, England at the beginning of the 20th century to work in the lace mills of New England. I never knew him because he died of tuberculosis when my mother was only 14. They say that the carbon which was used to clean and lubricate the machinery (they didn't want to use oil that might stain the lace) damaged his lungs and allowed the TB to set in. He spent the last three years of his life in a sanitorium because that was the law for TB patients at the time.

My mother taught me to knit and crochet and sew. I remember the sewing lessons vividly because she suddenly announced one summer that she was going to give me and my best friend lessons together. Almost everything I wore, at least all the "best" dresses were homemade by her or me up until I got married and moved to California. She even made my wedding dress. When my children were little I was still sewing some of my own clothes. I crocheted and knitted lots of things for my little ones, especially my daughter. But then I turned more serious attention to the violin and put away all that needlecraft. There just wasn't time for it.

I have returned to knitting now after a lapse of 30 years. Everything seems new to me. There are new yarns to try, new techniques, new patterns. It's high fashion now and that's great! It's a new month, a new year, and time for new beginnings for me.


  1. They say that breathing in lint makes people more susceptible to TB. That's why so many people in the garment business came down with TB. National Jewish Respiratory hospital in Denver was founded to help all the Jewish immigrants who fell ill in the sweatshops of the northeast.