Nupps, Lace, and Fiber Testing

Every time I see a completed example of this shawl, I say “Ohh I like that!” Or “Beautiful!” Out loud. Every time. So since I’ve embarked on a journey to grow my knitting skills, I decided to make this pattern as my second real lace project. The first was really just a lace border. This one is lace through the whole-she-bang.

The pattern is called Echo Flower Shawl by Jenny Johnson Johnen and is, remarkably, available for Free on Ravelery.

Estonian Lace Shawl
Estonian Lace Shawl

The three pronged flowers are a traditional pattern of Estonian lace. On the edge there is a V-shaped pattern of tight little yarn balls. These are Nupps!

Nupps v. Bobbles

Now, I’ve knit bobbles before on baby blankets and hats that are also little balls. (Like the baptism blanket I made for my nephew!) Bobbles are knit back and forth in the same stitch and pop out on one side of the fabric. They remind me of mini craft pom poms. You can pull at them from the side of the fabric they are on- which is one awesome reason they work so well for kid’s things. They are very tactile.

Nupps sit in the fabric. You can touch them from both sides. They are 5 or 7 or 9 stitches that are added in one stitch and then combined back into one on the next row. They can be a little tricky to pick up all the right strands and the right number of them to purl together on the back side.

I have to admit, as much as they are a pain to keep track of, I love the way the look in the fabric! They add a very architectural dimension.

Blocking for Size

This is only the second project that I’ve ever blocked. Blocking is used to form knitting into a desired shape and to open up the holes in lace. I used a technique called wet blocking on this shawl, where the completed and bound off work is put in a bowl of luke-warm water mixed with a little conditioner. The next step is to rinse the conditioner out, then pin the shawl to shape and let it dry. (See the pins in the first picture!? It wasn’t quite ready yet, but I couldn’t resist snapping a photo while waiting to wear it.)

Pre-blocked, the shawl isn’t quite the right shape…

Pre-blocked lace shawl

The holes are hiding and it is much smaller than it ended up. It stretched about 50% bigger than it started. This is something I will have to keep in mind for when I actually start my wedding dress. It would be terrible if it didn’t fit or if whole skirt had a “train” because it stretched so much!

You can’t reach through the screen to feel this yarn, but it is a delightful blend of wool and silk (30%) which makes it warm, but very squishy. It feels nice next to the skin. This may be a contender for the wedding dress…

Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss Fingering

Glamour Shots

This has become one of my favorite shawls. It debuted at a holiday party and adds color to my wardrobe.

What about you?

What works of art make you comment out loud?

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