SUCCESSFUL LACE KNITTING DESIGNER NOTES SERIES
DD: Alice, because you knew Dorothy Reade so well, and because you are the person who talked me into beginning Successful Lace Knitting, I am particularly thrilled to have you include this lovely hand-spun shawl. Can you tell us a little bit about the design?
AS: My shawl is 7 feet long and 2 feet wide, but it only weighs about two and one half ounces. The colors are teal and natural qiviut. I spun the yarn, with a blend of eighty percent qiviut, ten percent silk, and ten percent merino wool. The resulting shawl is so fine that it will pass through a size 6 1/2 ring!
DD: What stitch pattern did you use and why did you choose it?
AS: I used three patterns and combined them. The Trellis pattern because it is so balanced and delicate. The Diamond Ladder compliments the diamond shape, and Floral Mesh is a counterpoint to the geometrics of the other two patterns.
DD: Did you make any changes to the chart, or use different decreases than Dorothy Reade used? If so, please explain the changes you made and your reasons behind them.
AS: The only change I made was to add some knit through the back loop (twisted stitches) to the tops and sides of some additional yarn overs to give sharp definition to the lace holes.
DD: What yarn did you choose for your project? What made this yarn particularly well suited for this project specifically, and for lace knitting in general?
AS: I always use a fine handspun yarn because I like my shawls to be transparent. Qiviut is my fiber of choice. I combed five pouns of qiviut out of a hide my sister sent from Nome, Alaska, and sent it out to be washed and carded.
DD: Do you have any special lace knitting tips related to your project?
AS: I copied the patterns and put them on cardboard and used a stickpin to keep track of what row I was one. This is the first time I used so many color changes in lace knitting. I had seven balls of yarn and my sweet husband, Ron, made me a seven-spindle ball holder… too much fun!
DD: What kind of knitting needles do you prefer for lace knitting and what makes these needles work well for lace?
AS: I like circular needles best and usually use stainless steel needles. But plastic cicular needles were not so slippery on this projects.
DD: Would you like to add any personal comments about designing this project? Perhaps you’d like to comment on any connection between Dorothy Reade’s foundation and your own creative spirit.
AS: Dorothy Reade taught me lace knitting when we both belonged to the Eugene spinners guild. I loved all her patterns and her graphs made it so easy to read and follow! I am so pleased that we are re-publishing Dorothy’s lovely patterns.
DD: Thanks again for sharing so much of your creativity with me, and with all of the readers of Successful Lace Knitting!
Alice Scherp was born in Nome, Alaska, in 1941. Her mom, Alice Scott, worked with the Oomingmak Musk Ox Co-op both as a knitter and one who made corrections in knit items that had mistakes in them! Alice joined the Eugene spinners guild in 1975 and has loved spinning ever since. “There is ALWAYS something new to learn,” she says. Alice also does fur and leather sewing and beadwork, along with her spinning, dyeing yarns, and knitting. She sells her articles through the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage, and through the famouse “Out of the Box” sale at the Valley Fiber Arts Guild in Palmer, Alaska.