Friday, February 27, 2009

A question for lace knitters

I haven't tried any serious lace knitting since the Rowan shawl I did
about a year and a half ago.  I've wanted to, I just haven't found the
right kind of time (for me) to sit and concentrate like that.

Then...the current issue of Interweave Knits arrived and finally I found one I have determined to do:  The Fountain Pen Shawl by Susan Pierce Lawrence.  The repetition of the same pattern appeals to me right now, and I have a stash of lace weight yarn from Aracaunia I'd like to use up. Fountain-Pen-Shawl-3

My question for those of you with lots of lace experience:  will it matter if I use a yarn that was, in theory, designed for sock knitters?  Meaning it is a blend of wool and nylon...not machine washable...but the blend concerns me.  Over lunch the other day, as several of us were debating this, we wondered whether that would be a problem in blocking out and maintaining the newly blocked size after knitting.

Kay, are you out there?  You helped me so much with the Rowan shawl, maybe you have the answer to this.  Or anyone else?  I'd be so appreciative.


(P.S.  Photo courtesy of Interweave


sandy said...

you go girl! The very idea of lace knitting sends me screeching into the Jordan Valley Hills! Not a pretty picture--but I will live vicariously through you ok? :0) San & the sheep

Kay in New Mexico said...

Here I am!
I've used superwash sock yarns a lot for shawls, with great success. After blocking, they do tend to sort of "suck back in" a little -- I can't think of a better way to say it. Koigu not nearly so much as the others, but it does need to be aggressively blocked. I have not worked with wool/nylon that is NOT superwash. Patterns with a lot of stockinette, as opposed to a lot of openwork, tend to suck in more.
For laceweight, all the ones I've worked with are neither superwash nor blended with a synthetic. Shawls don't usually get dirty so often that superwash capability is important, unlike socks! (I throw socks in the washer and dryer -- they are just utilitarian things, and I don't make fancy ones.)
A problem with superwash fingering for shawls is that sometimes the edges tend to curl up a bit, even after blocking. I have altered patterns to take care of this. If you want to know how I do it, let me know -- this comment is already getting pretty long!
End note -- make lots of lace shawls out of lots of different kinds of fibers, and see what you like and see how different yarns behave, and make some mistakes that you have to fix (very educational!).

StephanieG said...

How about a test swatch using the stitch pattern for this shawl. Block it and see how it behaves.
Good luck and please blog about your progress!