treble play
Wednesday October 04th 2006, 3:56 pm
Filed under: Knit

(Oops. Got that bottom twirly part backwards there.)

When I joined the Knitlist in ’98 or so, it was to ask a specific question: did anyone know of a lace design with a musical motif? A treble or bass clef, perhaps? Quarter notes?

I got no responses other than quite a few from fellow musician/knitters saying that if I found one, please tell them where? So I drove an hour up to Berkeley, to Lacis, where Kaethe Kliot had the biggest collection probably anywhere of lace knitting books–and she knew quite well what was in every one of them. When I ran my question past her, she thought hard a moment, then shook her head emphatically no. Then, in growing excitement, she told me, “But you could design one!” (Having no idea what a newbie I was.) She carefully explained to me exactly how one goes about committing a design in one’s head onto a lace chart, not quite believing I didn’t already know how to do that. Everybody knows how to do that.

I don’t do charts. I only barely did lace at all at that point. I was in way over my head and I knew it, so I nodded my head with what I hoped was enthusiasm as she went on. Her assistant chimed in with a few helpful tips. I went home with a lace book in hand–in English, not the German book that she assured me I could follow just as easily, once I figured out the unfamiliar notations; I threw in the towel after she mentioned there were errors in the German one, but that it wouldn’t be hard to recognize them. Get me out of here!

This past February, Rosemary Hill of Designs by Romi had some beautiful shawl pins on display at Stitches West, but I didn’t quite see–what, I wasn’t sure. Recently, she added some hammered metal ones on her website, and it was, alright, now we’re getting somewhere! I sent her a note: Rosemary. Is it possible you could do one of those in a treble clef motif? I thought, if I can’t knit one, maybe I could wear one anyway.

She thought that was a cool idea, and the result is that I, the daughter of an art dealer, am now the proud owner of the first piece of artwork (other than Lisa Souza’s gorgeous yarn) I ever commissioned myself. The first sterling treble clef shawl pin.

I still need to work out that lace design. I still don’t do charts. But nowadays, if I wanted to enough, I could knit that idea to match that pin. Meantime, though, I can now wear my announcement of my love of music along with my knitting. (Um, pardon me while I turn that twirly thing back around the way it belongs…)

Postscript–Kaethe Kliot, of the WWII generation, has since passed away, but Lacis lives on.

Technical info: the yarn is Kidsilk Haze, aka Cracksilk Haze among quite a few knitters (nice stuff), knitted on size 5mm needles. I was once given ten skeins of it in a light dusty purple, and for this particular shawl, I overdyed two skeins’ worth with Jacquard Acid Dye in Crimson.

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What a gorgeous shawl. I am in awe of your ability to just jump in there and dye your yarn! I have some laceweight mohair in a pink that makes me look like death. Maybe I should dye it! The pin looks lovely on the shawl, but you’ve gotta turn that swirly around! 🙂 I’m so glad you like it; it was a pleasure making it for you!

Comment by Romi 10.04.06 @ 7:31 pm

Thank you! I find it a bit easier to dye yarn evenly than a finished project, even though it means the extra work of hanking and then re-balling the yarn. Soak the hanks a good one, and then lower the ends in together rather than one at a time. The color is very even on that shawl, although it’s hard to tell from the photo.

Comment by AlisonH 10.05.06 @ 4:30 pm

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