Myra Doily No.49

I wrote about the pattern from Myra’s knitting lessons and mentioned there seemed to be some errors in it. Since I am making a doily for the spinner’s challenge, I wanted to know how much to spin (I am supposed to spin the llama firm, so the yarn is firmer than I would want and do not want to have much extra), so I thought I would make a doily out of something else and then rip it out to see how much yarn it took. This also gave me an opportunity to see where I thought the pattern needed corrections. And also would give me a better idea of where to put the beads.

Years back I bought some yarn for a small project. Recently I have been using the yarn to tie skeins. I thought this yarn would be good to test the doily. Sometime after the original purchase and before it was relegated ties, I apparently did something where the yarn was cut. I knotted lengths together and wound it into a ball. The knots were a surprise when I started knitting.  I believe I used Patons Grace, 100% mercerized cotton, color taupe.

The pattern starts with 4 stitches, one on each needle. You then knit into the front and back of each one for two rounds. The needles kept slipping out of the yarn and I was having issues. I decided I didn’t care and just didn’t worry about the order of the needles since it wouldn’t effect what I was checking. In other words, please don’t pay attention to the center which is quite the mess.

Myra doily being blockedYou can see one of the knots just above 3 o’clock. I blocked it to about 11 or 11.5 inches, but the doily is about 10.25″ in diameter now.

Myra doily

So what changes did I make? I added a row between rows 13 and 15 in the original. The pattern jumped significantly and expected you to have more stitches than were available, Comparing to the original picture, it seemed like this missing row was pictured. However, there were the correct number of holes in the straight lines from the center for what was on the pattern. I believe the original one pictured lacks the last row; the diamond eyelet clusters seem closer to the bound off edge than mine, and the long petals do not end in a point, unlike mine.

In order to get row 13a (the row I inserted) and row 15 to look correct, I had to fiddle a fair amount. There would have been an easy way to get the right number of stitches, but that meant there were 2 stitches in a spot which I think should have only 1 to look right (I tried it and ripped it out). This also meant I needed to drop a k2tog from row 17. The chart below highlights areas that I modified.

myra doily chart, highlighting areas altered

Row 15 seemed to have an extra stitch at the end, and rows 27, 29, 31 and 33 all had an extra stitch before the last yo on each repeat, so I dropped those. Row 21 was also a bit of a mess. The k2tog followed the wrong yo, and they were not positioned consistently with the other eyelet diamonds. I also shifted the first eyelet diamond on rows 27/29/31 over one stitch to try to have the diamonds centered better.

I like DPNs, but part way through I found I was having trouble keeping all the stitches on my needles. I was stretching out the knitting pretty often to check the pattern, which wasn’t helping. It finally dawned on me to try the magic loop for the first time ever. That made the whole process much simpler. It would certainly have been useful at my modified row 15 and I think will help me at the cast on too. I will probably still prefer DPNs for most things, but for this doily, I think magic loop is the way to go.

Myra doily, detail

I have posted the PDF of my revised pattern.

I just ripped out the doily and I need to spin a little more. I have plenty of llama and 10 yards won’t take that long to spin; better to know now rather than later.


Spinner’s Challenge, 2013 edition

This year at the Guild we have undertaken a spinner’s challenge somewhat in the form of poker. We got the idea from a neighboring guild, which adapted it from another guild, out east I believe. We had 5 sets of cards and we had to draw a card from each set. The challenge was to make something by our May meeting (we drew the cards in September). You could return one card and redraw that one. After each person picked, the cards were returned so everyone had a chance to get anything. You only needed to use 4 of the items to succeed.

The categories included color, fiber and finished item (which are pretty self explanatory). The finished item category had a couple of options for several things (scarf or shawl, socks or slippers etc.), although oddly (to me) it lumped hat with scarf/shawl. The other two categories were texture and add-in. I would alter the other two categories which seemed a bit off, and got a bit confusing where silk and angora could both in in the fiber and add-in column. I would make one something very specific about the spun yarn—soft, firm, plied, singles, cabled. I would make the other category something additional to use/do—including thing to add in (beads etc.) and techniques such a bouclé.

Interestingly, the challenge never specified that you needed to spin the yarn (which L cleverly noted). You can blend a color or fiber with other items.  You can also make a small version or something (or only one of something that is typically a pair).

My challenge:

  • Fiber: Llama
  • Color: Purple
  • Texture: Firm
  • Add In: Beads/Sequins
  • Use: Dishcloth/Doily/Rug

This is why I have been working on a doily pattern.

Other challenges in the group include:

  • Fiber: Silk
  • Color: Orange [note: this person does not like orange]
  • Texture: Soft
  • Add In: Alpaca
  • Use: Needlework/Jewelry
  • Fiber: Cotton
  • Color: Green
  • Texture: Crocheted
  • Add In: Beads/Sequins
  • Use: Socks/slippers
  • Fiber: Silk
  • Color: White
  • Texture: Woven
  • Add In: Tassel
  • Use: Socks/slippers
  • Fiber: Angora
  • Color: Grey
  • Texture: Crochet
  • Add In: Mohair
  • Use: Bag/Purse
  • Fiber: Mohair
  • Color: Purple
  • Texture: Woven
  • Add In: Tassel
  • Use: Dishcloth/Doily/Rug
  • Fiber: Wool
  • Color: Yellow
  • Texture: Woven (or maybe the word was fine)
  • Add In: Buttons
  • Use: Sweater/Vest

I will unfortunately be out of town and will miss seeing them all at the May meeting. I did see the woven, tasseled sock at the April meeting.

Myra’s No. 49. Design for a Pincushion

I need to make a doily for the spinner’s challenge. This means I needed to find a pattern for a doily. The University of Southampton has digitized many of Richard Rutt’s books (that would the Rutt of the History of Hand Knitting), which is super fun. The collection is here. The first book listed is Myra’s knitting lessons. No.1. Ccontaining the rudiments of knitting and various useful patterns for this work (the double c is in the metadata). Myra comes from Myra and Son, the company which published the book. The book has no date on it; The University of Southampton has c1800 which is clearly too early—it probably comes from a vague date of 18?? in the cataloging record. The text refers to vulcanite needles, so must date after 1839.¹ The entire book is available as a secure PDF. I have no idea why they made it secure, but it means I can’t copy the out of copyright text.

There are two doilies in the book. I decided to make “No. 49. Design for a Pincushion.”

Myra no.49 doilyThe pattern is of course not written quite like a modern pattern and it isn’t charted. I retyped the pattern, and made a non-secured PDF, along with some other relevant content from the original.  I then put it into modern abbreviations and charted it (PDF). I am glad I did that because it became quite clear there were problems with the pattern. To begin with, the pattern has you make two points on each needle. It calls for 4 needles and says “3rd row.—Knit 1, make 1, knit 2, make 1, knit 1. Repeat on the other two needles.” A quick look at the picture will show the pattern requires five needles, with the pattern being repeated on the other three needles.

Below is the chart. You can see that various rows do not have the right number of stitches on them so it needs a bit of help.

Myra No.49 doily chartI will save the alterations I made to the original for a separate post.

1. The History of Knitting Pin Gauges  By Sheila William. Melrose Press, 2006. Page 5.

Needing some blue

After the pink texel, I switched my spinning to tussah silk in an intentionally challenging colorway (Mardi Gras colors). From the beginning I had thought I would ply it with purple, which then shifted in my mind to the purple llama for my spinner’s challenge. As I was spinning the silk, I decided blue would be a better option for plying. It also started reminding me of iris and springtime, which is an improvement on Mardi Gras. Below, some of it spun on a bobbin, predrafted, and not drafted (but split lengthwise).

tussah silk spun and unspun

A couple year ago, I bought some fiber at a spinners’ fiber sale/swap. I had been wanting to try some superwash BFL. I found 4.5 oz. in a colorway I wouldn’t have picked, but the price was good for trying it out. I figured I could probably do something for DJ with it.

red aqua BFL superwash

It occurred to me that I would like it better if I overdyed it blue. Since I didn’t have any blue appropriate for plying with the tussah silk, but I did have 1 oz of white bombyx silk/merino combed top, this meant pulling out the dyepot this past weekend. Of course, I also lack any blue dye for protein fibers and I do not have good option for protein fiber dyes in town. At our local art supply store, I found one that would work on protein fibers, from iDye (a brand I have never heard of, and picked one of the two blues (brilliant blue), with no real idea what color I was choosing. I used about 1/8 of the packet for the 5.5 oz of wool/silk fiber.

The BFL came out quite dark, but I like it.

red aqua BFL superwash after over dyeing blue

The merino-silk is a much lighter blue, and has a purple haze to the outside. The inside of the roving is blue only.

merino-silk dyed blue

The roving felted some in the dye pot, so I spent some time opening it up.

opening up blue merino-silkAnd predrafted.

predrafted blue merino-silk

A bit of spinning

I finally finished spinning the pink Texel. It took far longer than it ought to because I wasn’t enjoying it. I had to keep picking out short cuts and vegetation. The resulting yarn is quite nice, but the spinning went slowly. But to be honest, most of the slowness really was because I was choosing to do other things.

Texel 2 plyI now have about 550 yards (162 g) of 2 ply.

Texel, close-up

In order to ply, I had t tie a 2nd leader onto a bobbin because I had some silk still hanging out from the beaded yarn of two years ago. I also had silk on the drop spindle from last winter when I didn’t want to carry my wheel to the Spinners group. The next project was supposed to be the purple llama which I need to spin and then knit into a doily with beads for the May challenge.

unpun silk

Instead, I have decided to finish off the silk. I started by emptying the drop spindle onto the bobbin, joining the ends. Spinning this is a nice change from the somewhat trashy Texel. I am considering plying it with the purple llama.

silk with llama

I need to think about this. I had originally thought about spinning this with purple (the color is itself a bit of a challenge), but I’m not sure the llama is right.

Textured Yarn

This week we had a great program at Spinners on textured yarns. The presenter had many nice examples, showing her learning process. Like most of us, she is accustomed to making a smooth, fairly thin yarn. These yarns require time to learn because you need to work differently, moving slowly, and typically near the orifice to not add too much twist. She warned us to be sure to break frequently, especially since we will be working in unfamiliar positions. I really liked her sample of the thick and thin yarn; the reverse stockinette showed it off well (the stockinette side was a bit of a dud).

The following are the resources she has used (most of which are available in our local library):

  • Anderson, Sarah. The Spinners Book of Yarn Designs. North Adams, MA : Storey Publishing, 2012. Comes with 64 reference cards. ISBN: 9781603427388 Public library owns.Guild members said it was very useful, but library copy lacks cards.
  • Boeger, Lexi. Intertwined. Beverly, Mass. : Quarry Books, 2008. ISBN: 9781592533749 Public library owns. [I looked at this book and wow, it really isn’t for me.]
  • Boggs, Jacey. “Coils: Adding to Your Art Yarn Repetoire” Spin-Off Winter 2009, p.44.
  • Boggs, Jacey. Spin Art. Loveland, CO : Interweave Press, 2011. ISBN: 9781596683624. Comes with DVD.
  • King, Amy. Spin Control. Loveland, CO : Interweave, 2009. ISBN: 9781596681057 Guild & public library owns.
  • MacKenzie, Judith. The Intentional Spinner. Loveland, Colo. : Interweave Press, 2009. ISBN: 9781596680807 Guild & public library owns.
  • North, Symeon. Get Spun. Loveland, CO : Interweave Press, 2010. ISBN: 9781596680647 Public library owns.
  • Spin Artiste – a monthly publication focusing on making unusual and artisanal yarns
  • Namaste Farms: Tailspinning a closer look – YouTube video
  • Funhouse Fibers – Blog and videos

It might be fun to try some of these techniques in the future. I am always left with the basic question of what to do with textured yarns after they are spun, but gaining new skills is always useful.

DPLA and Basque Spinning

Yesterday the Digital Public Library of America launched. It is a great collection of freely accessible images and texts from all over the country. Hopefully more collections (including ours) will be added soon. Of course, I had to do some searches right away. One of my default searches is “spinning” so I tried that and found a picture of a type of wheel I hadn’t seen before.

There are two pictures of a Basque woman seated at a wheel, which she is turning by hand. There is little information about the pictures, which come from University of Nevada, Reno, by way of the Mountain West Digital Library. There is very little information about these pictures, so I don’t know when or where they were taken.

A woman spinning wool into yarn, Basque Library, University of Nevada, Reno,,2428

The pictures are the same, but flipped. I wonder which is the correct orientation – the black & white or the color one? I am guessing the color photo where she is cranking with her left hand and holding the wool with her right. However, I could be quite wrong since I think when woolen wheels are typically operated with the right hand (as was the spindle), so that one could continue to draft the fibers with the left hand. I have now changed my mind. I think the color one has been flipped, in part because the UNR collection gives this the title “Basque Slide Show: Sheep raising is important. The wool is collected each spring. A woman spinning wool” which makes me think the color one comes from an online exhibit where someone flipped the image to look better. Although the black and white picture is cropped (and of course it would be easy to convert a color picture to b/w with an image editor), which makes me flip my decision. Hmmmm.

Basque Slide Show: Sheep raising is important. The wool is collected each spring. A woman spinning wool, Basque Library, University of Nevada, Reno,,3308