I don’t know about you, but the Knit Picks show-stopping advanced lace collections are the ones I personally always look forward to the most*, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in this year’s Lavish Lace. As much as I’ve been working to broaden my knitting skills (Socks! Fair Isle! Dyeing!), I still consider myself a lace knitter at heart, and it’s precisely these kinds of patterns that got me hooked in the first place.
I’m particularly excited about this collection because we’ve tried something slightly different than before. In years past, we would usually look for designs based on the most interesting and impressive lace designs with an emphasis on accessories, particularly shawls. While you’ll find plenty of those in Lavish Lace, we made a special effort to include lace garments! So, in addition to a few smaller dazzling bursts of stitchwork with maximum wow per inch (wpi?) and a number of classic wrappables as colossaly cozy as they are sensationally stunning, there are even more ways to drape yourself in lovely and lissome Lavish Lace.
Although the Coronet Stole is probably the simplest project in the collection, that is in no way a bad thing. The modern geometric lace design features interesting stitchwork with significant repeats using nothing more complicated than double decreases. Without shaping, this is a great bridging project for anyone looking for the next level of lace, but not quite ready to dive into more complicated stitches and techniques.
For the much more complicated Diamas and Gathering Feathers pattern, the one word you need is: nupps. Lots of nupps. 5- and 7-stitch nupps. Stacked nupps. So many nupps. Whether you’re a novice nupp-ster, a nupp-master looking to polish your nupp-tual know-how, or just like saying “nupp” a lot, either of these projects will please you. The nupps play a central role in Diamas, combined with delicate openwork and dramatically-shaped edging in slippery silk, while Gathering Feathers uses the nupps more subtly and in combination with a lot more. With probably the most complex stitchwork in the whole collection across its 9 charts, this small and mighty project does tend to smaller repeats, good for those that prefers to concentrate on their stitches, with everything from Star Stitches to Make 7’s, without getting lost in enormous charts with large repeats.
BIG Shawls and Wraps
If you DO enjoy enormous charts with large repeats (like me**), you won’t want to miss the Salem Shawl and Cymopoleia (pronounced: Key-muh-poh-lee-ah)! While neither include stitches more complicated than isolated double decreases, the artistic large-scale motifs of these dramatic designs demand assiduous attention to detail. With Salem’s large repeats of 58 stitches and 115 rows or Cymmie’s small motifs repeated dozens of times, the results are theatrical wraps with appeal well beyond “knitter cool” that will impress every time you wear them. Remember your Chart Keeper!
Between Opal Dawn and the Lyrata Stole, if you’re interested in a rectangular wrap as large as you could possibly want, you have two fairly different options. Lyrata features fairly straightforward lace with nicely open stitches to compliment the fluffy mohair halo of Aloft, but introduces some really interesting edge techniques that produce gentle scalloping at both edges in addition to the ends. Meanwhile Opal Dawn brings us back to nupps in a big way, combining with several textural laces stitches and even some light cabling to really bring out the gorgeous hand of baby alpaca held double (combine your favorite hues for even richer depth of color).
With all of the lace to concentrate on, it’s not surprising that the Ripple Tee and the Lotus Lace Cardigan feature simple shapes and lines. Added with cast on stitches and simple increases respectively, the sleeves of both are knit along with the body, worked over with lace motifs intricate but small, which makes Wrong Side pattern stitches in both easier to handle.
At opposite ends of the spectrum, the Ornamental Parasols includes the most complicated shaping of the collection, while Diamond & Roses features the most complex lace of the garments, and possibly the book as a whole. The airy and light D & R is the only pattern of the book to feature Orenburg-style lace, with a garter-stitch base rather than stockinette and pattern stitches on every row, with no rest rows. Along with the traditional Orenburg diamond medallion motifs, this pattern both begins and ends with lace edging, with the body picked up from the cast on border at the hem and the sleeves finished with an applied edge.
Altogether, I think this collection has turned out to be our broadest and most versatile lace collection yet. As much as I love lace, I do find myself wondering what I’ll do with yet another beautifully intricate. . .and largely impractical piece. With shawls small enough for accessorizing and large enough for acclimatizing, as well as garments wearable from the bistro to the boudoir, Lavish Lace manages to balance considerations both practical and aesthetic.
*Well, I guess not *always* always, since there is ONE other soon-to-be-released collection that I, as a male knitter, am looking forward to more. But that’s all I’ll say for now. . .
**Full Disclosure: I’ll probably be making either the Salem Shawl or the Cymopoleia for myself at some point.
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