…to decadent Boudoirs

A lovely fall evening to you, my colleagues!  As we continue on with our series of pattern previews – complete with an inside scoop from the designers – let’s make a stop at one of my favorite chapters: Boudoir, where knitting shows its decidedly sensual side.  Let’s start with a gorgeous little number that’s been all the buzz on Ravelry lately…

The Hush Chemise

Designer: Amanda Williams

Yarn: DyeForYarn Lace // Silk/Merino

In the latter half of the 19th century a woman would always wear a chemise under her corset. These were traditionally sewn from fabric, but I thought a knitted version would be lovely.  I wanted a bit of lace at the top and the bottom to make a feminine, playful top. I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather wear a delicate silk/merino yarn. These days we don’t seem to wear corsets quite so often, but in the tradition of innerwear as outerwear, this piece can really shine. I finished the one I did for myself last spring and wore it all summer long with jeans for casual days and a skirt to dress up a bit. I can’t wait to layer it this winter under jackets and cardigans.

A few notes on customizing it to your size. The lace repeat is 23 stitches wide. This means the pattern does not lend itself well to adding or removing stitches. Do be sure to swatch the lace portion to check how it will fit around your shoulders. Likewise check your stockinette gauge to match your bust measurement. This is designed to be close fitting at the bust but relaxed elsewhere. If you are finding yourself between sizes, I recommend changing needle sizes to get a gauge suitable for your sizing.

I ran a cord a through the top eyelets of my personal version to help it stay snug around my shoulders. You can do the same with ribbon or elastic to further enhance the fit. This will work up beautifully in a delicate lace weight yarn to be reminiscent of lingerie, or a fingering weight to be a casual t-shirt style.

Enjoy and please post your projects on Ravelry! I want to see what you do with it and how you wear it

The Trials and Tribulations Chemise and Bloomers

Designer: Aimee Skeers

Yarn: Evermore Studios Swanky Sock (or Prestige Sock)

I love bloomers.  Is that weird?  If so, I don’t actually care.  I love wearing them under full skirts so if an errant breeze rolls in, I don’t have to worry.  They’re adorable, so it’s only natural that I’d write a pattern for them.  I didn’t want to just write a bloomer pattern, though, since part of the fun of bloomers is wearing something over them.  The chemise is intended to be work either as part of the set, or as a top on its own.  Wear it just over a bra if you’re feeling saucy, or over a camisole to make it more work appropriate.  And remember, bloomers are awesome.

…to idyllic Countrysides

Greetings my colleagues!  As I’m sure you heard earlier this week Needles and Artifice has been unleashed upon the world!  Available for you in print and digital format right here at Cooperative Press, or as a download on Ravelry.  Get yours today! (or just admire the lovely pictures)

We here at Mischief Central are eagerly awaiting our very own Box O’ Books, and the first order of business (after oohing and aahing and crying for joy) is signing a whole lovely pile of them for our amazing Kickstarter supporters!  We’ll let you know as soon as they’re on the way.  We’ll also be hard at work putting together the other prizes that included additional treats along with a finished book, with those on their way ASAP as well!  Thanks again SO MUCH for your continued support and patience seeing this project through to fruition!

More news and plans on the horizon, but in the meantime I’d like to showcase two more patterns from the lush and serene Countyside chapter of Needles and Artifice.  Enjoy!

The Mountain Lily Scarf

Designer: Heidi Kunkel

Yarn: Lazy Perry Ranch Baby Alpaca/Silk/Cashmere Extra Fine Lace

This scarf was inspired by the Laminaria shawl by Elizabeth Freeman. I have a strong affinity for knitting lace, and I’ve always preferred floral lace to other more geometric patterns. I had worked nupps many times before, but the Laminaria pattern introduced me to a variation on those: purling each of the increased stitches individually on the following wrong side row. I was hooked from my first try of this “Estonian Star Stitch”, and I knew I wanted to make this stitch the centerpiece of a scarf design… thus, the Mountain Lily scarf was born.

The Take Flight Bonnet

Designer: Jen Schripsema

Yarn: JulieSpins Cable Sport/DK SW Merino

Because I lack impulse control when it comes to haircuts, my hair seems to be perpetually in “that awkward growing out length” and I struggle to find flattering hats. Beanies look terrible and slouchy hats often leave my ears out in the cold. One day when browsing hat patterns in Ravelry, I thought to myself, “There’s no reason why bonnets should be exclusively a baby garment.” To prevent the style from looking too twee or feminine, I used a traditionally masculine herringbone stitch pattern and added metal buckles. Think less “Little House on the Prairie” and more modern Amelia Earhart.

From Paris With Lace, pt 4: The Sierpinski Gasket Shawl

Original photo of Miss Julia Sett wearing her shawl

Greetings my colleagues!  I hope you enjoyed our little side trip last week to share the amazing photos in the works for our book!   Things are really coming along now, and I can’t wait to show more teasers along the way.  Though those patterns are under wraps for now, as promised I have a special treat for you today!  One of our collaborative designers Amanda Williams has worked her magic yet again to re-create Miss Julia Sett’s lace shawl.  I’ll let her describe the project in her own words, and leave you to enjoy the wonderful finished product!  I’m sure Julia would be proud to know her cunning and creative design has reached a far larger audience than her original letters to Miss Alyssa.

Dear Archivist,

Thank you for the opportunity to recreate another of the Ladies items from the trunk. I enjoyed the Lace Gear last year, and this shawl was as much of a treat. Using Miss Julia’s notes and letters was a big help, as was having the original shawl itself. It was interesting to see she had issues running out of yarn; she wanted to create a true interpretation of the Sierpinski gasket which, with our charting, would look like this (click for full size view):

I did some calculations for that. It appears she would have needed at least 2100 yds of laceweight yarn to complete her shawl. Instead she created this variant, which is just as lovely and appears to use approximately 1100 yds.

When I wrote up the pattern, I charted the first section of triangles only, and provided a diagram and directions for the placement of that chart within the larger pattern. I thought that many of your readers would prefer a quicker, snuggly knit as we head into winter and gift giving season, and this smaller size works up beautifully in a soft, bulky yarn.

For your readers looking for a classic, elegant lace weight shawl they can substitute either of the full diagrams above in place of the one in the pattern.  The yarn in Julia’s original shawl is a spot-on match for Silk Hand Dyed Knitting Yarn – Lace Weight from Sunnyside Ellen (3 1/2 oz (100g), 1100yds (990m) 100% Silk in lace weight), which I would highly recommend for this project.  You can use 1 skein for the smaller version or 2 skeins for the large version.

Thank you again for the opportunity to bring a little history to life – I can’t wait to see what you find next!
Enjoy!
-Amanda

From Paris With Lace, pt 3

Good day to you, my colleagues.  I have for you today the third installment of our latest adventure: In Part 1 Miss Alyssa Rynne found some artistic inspiration in Paris, along with some gorgeous lace yarn to send to Miss Julia Sett.  In Part 2 Julia replied with her plans for a most ingenious shawl, if she could get her knitting machine to cooporate.  Now let us continue the tale with a journal entry of Julia’s, where she is puzzling over that very thing.

From the Journal of Julia Sett:

I have been most fortunate with the operational guidance of the automated knitting machine. It was a bit tricky to begin with – the hooks were not moving smoothly and some would not engage at all. It turns out a moth had gotten into the mechanism and caused the issue. Once I had tracked down the bug and removed it, everything worked much better. I must say I’m not sorry to see that moth meet its demise; they are vile wool-eating creatures.
While the instructions did not work correctly at the first go I was quite pleased to be able to adjust and have it work from then out. I am using a method similar to what I use myself, whereby the machine “reads” the previous row to determine what operations to perform next.
I have finished several iterations of the triangular repeat. It feels about half done and yet I know I will need three times the yarn already used if I do another full iteration. Though I believe I might instead be able to repeat a smaller iteration alternated with two solid triangles for a total of five in that row. Much as the last row contained three triangles, one of which was solid.  We shall adjust our figures tomorrow to be sure.

Ah, the mind of a knitting mathematician is interesting place, that’s for certain.  However, this isn’t the first time I’ve tried to follow along as my knitter friends explained their on-the-fly pattern rewrites and clever solutions when faced with too little yarn.  We know that won’t stop Julia for long, and I’ll have the final exciting installment for you shortly.  You won’t want to miss it!

From Paris With Lace, pt 2

Hello my colleagues!  Time to continue with Part 2 of our most interesting exchange between Miss Alyssa Rynne and Miss Julia Sett.  The lovely silk yarn Alyssa sent off (in last weeks installment) made it safely to Julia and served as some ingenious inspiration.  Fortunately, her letter was in excellent condition and able to be scanned, so you can enjoy it in its original format.

As you recall, Miss Sett has been pursuing the idea of automated knitting for some time, so I find it quite exciting to read about her progress; even if it happened over 100 years ago, it feels as though I’m along for the journey!  As I admitted before, I had a hard time following a few of her concepts, but on seeing this lovely little sketch, the idea of “self-similar, self-referential figures” suddenly clicked (sometimes even us brainy folks need a picture).  We’ll see what continued progress Julia made with her wonderful shawl pattern next week!

From Paris With Lace, pt 1

A most lovely day to you, my colleagues!  We’ve all been so hard at work on the book, but I realized I must tear myself away for a moment and give you all a little treat.  I’m thrilled to share with you another lovely exchange between unlikely friends – and most entertaining pen-pals – Miss Alyssa Rynne and Miss Julia Sett.  But when a knitting mathematician and a glamorous international… diplomat put their heads together… well, you’ll have to stay tuned to see what brilliance ensues.

Darling Julia,
It was such a treat to catch up with you and the rest of our Ladies at the symposium. As always your intellect and innovative ideas sparked my own imagination. The samples you brought were stunning! My goodness! To think such fine, delicate pieces were created by an automated machine. You truly must be congratulated on your new invention.
After leaving the symposium I took advantage of being abroad and went home to Shanghai via Paris. It has been too long since I was there. The city has always been a magical place, but this new age of technology has brought new life and vibrancy to it. The recent World’s fair must have been quite something. This new tower of Monsieur Eiffel is a stunning testament to our ability to create inspiring works. I cannot imagine a better way to enter the city than via the dirigible dock they have at the top. I took care of some business while I was there and did manage to dine with that American entrepreneur. His conversation may be trying, but as always we ate well and I did indeed glean the requested information.  After that I did need a bit of fun. My contacts in Paris told me that a place called the Moulin Rouge is quite the place to encounter artists and other freethinkers. They were not wrong. It is indeed in a red mill and the people who frequent it are quite stimulating. I think I danced all night. I was also fortunate enough to be invited to the studios of some of the artists. The art I saw in progress at the Bateau Lavoir was shocking. The subjects are so different that what I’m accustomed to seeing and their way of portraying those subjects… I’m without words. I have no idea if the world is ready for this. Heavens, I’m not sure I’m ready for it, and yet those images haunt my thoughts in ways traditional paintings do not.
Before I forget, I am enclosing some silk yarn I found in Paris. It made me think of your automated knitting machine immediately. Perhaps it would be suitable for a shawl or other large piece.  I just know that the fineness of the yarn and the color reminded me of you. Please do enjoy dear sister and may the time between our meetings be shorter this time.
-Alyssa
LTFK

I will have the next installment along for you shortly!  In the meantime, enjoy these last fleeting days of summer and, if you’re at all like me, dream of Paris.

The Scent of a Lady, pt 3

Greetings once again my colleagues!  I just finished up a very exciting meeting about the Ladies of Mischief book project – lots of excellent progress!  I can’t wait for you all to see it. I have a feeling things are going to start moving very quickly from here on out!

But in the meantime, I have something special to share with you today.  Without any further ado, I’m pleased to present the final installment in the tale of Miss Alyssa Rynne’s perfume.  As you may recall in the previous installment, I mentioned a gorgeous bottle containing the last of Alyssa’s perfume.  Well, it wasn’t specifically the bottle that was so lovely, it was what the bottle was wearing, as it were.  Another dear knitting friend of mine, Valerie DiPietro, was able to decipher and re-create Alyssa’s beautiful lace bottle cozy, which I’m delighted to bring to you now.  Truly, what dignified Lady would use a bottle without one?  Enjoy!

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