Progress on several fronts here. Slow, for sure – but progress.
First, my MMarioKKnits Dragon Stole continues to grow:
Both Long Time Needlework Pal Kathryn and I were convinced we’d seen this beastie before.
Sure enough, blessed by the local resource fairy, and well versed in Siebmacher’s oeuvre, Kathryn managed to dig up the original, from the 1603 edition of Siebmacher’s Shon Neues Modelbuch. I got in touch with MMarioKKnits himself to ask if he used the Siebmacher when he drew up his pattern, or if he remembered some other secondary source that was his inspiration. Many of these designs were re-collected in the mid 1800s, when counted work went through a major renaissance, some of which was inspired by actual Renaissance pattern books. I suspected that one of these mid 1800s collections was the source in question.
MMario confirmed that he indeed started with a mid 1800s work, but he didn’t remember which one. He pointed me at the Antique Pattern Library (more on this below). I’m pretty familiar with their inventory, but wasn’t able to find his secondary source either.
There are some differences between the MMario version and the one from 1603 – as one would expect in a multi-century game of garbled pattern transmission telephone – but the main motif, a hippocampus (not a dragon) is spot on count for count the same. Why do I think it’s a hippocampus? Because these designs were highly thematic, and a mermaid would be more likely to keep company with a mythical sea-steed than a dragon.
I’ve got official permission from MMario to post some quotes from his graph in order to put the changes in context. The black squares are the same in his rendition and the 1603 Siebmacher version. The red squares are from 1603, and are different from his design. The majority of the beastie is the same in both.
This center panel – a dual tailed undine similar to the one used by Starbucks in its logo – can be used as a drop in, inserted right into the MMario piece to make a wider stole.
The other modification is in the tail. MMario’s beast has an elongated tail swirl with a nifty trifoliate tail. But in the original we see instead a smaller, tighter spiral sweep, a large quaternary flower, and the implication of a bridged mirroring putting two hippocampi tail to tail, centered around a second “bounce line.” Please note that I’ve not included the whole dragon repeat in order to keep from stepping on MMario’s pattern toes. You’ll have to visit his design to get the rest of it.
I’m going to attempt to introduce the center mermaid into my Dragon Stole. Wish me luck!
Aside on Antique Pattern Library – this is a non-profit, volunteer effort to scan and preserve out of print documents and ephemera related to needle and domestic arts. They have a huge collection of public domain embroidery, knitting, crochet, tatting, sewing and crafts books and leaflets dating from before 1920. A large proportion are from 1860 through 1910 or so. They even have a couple of early Modelbooks thrown in! As a reference, its invaluable. As an archive of women’s history, even more so. I strongly urge everyone to visit, to sample some of the freely available resources there, and most important – to donate to sustain the collection. It’s no secret that they live hand to mouth. I’d truly love to see them do so a bit longer.
And it’s snuggly!
Not only is Motley officially finished:
I’ve also posted a full pattern for it in the Knitting Patterns section, above. The pattern also includes directions for Hollow Point Edging – a new, quasi-original finish. Complete with a short-rowed turned corner, in both chart and prose.
How did the end of this project go? Quickly and not very quickly at the same time. Knitting this was a breeze. I cast on the week before Thanksgiving, and finished on Friday last, minus a week spent knitting fingerless gloves. That’s a rather large sofa throw in fingering weight in three weeks of evenings. BUT the last two days were a slog:
That’s one evening’s worth of orts from the Dreaded Darning In The Ends phase. No doubt about it – Motley had a lot of ends. I looked into various knit-in as you go methods, but I wasn’t convinced of their durability in a blanket, so I did it the hard way. Still, I had nowhere near as many ends as the look of the blanket presents. Remember, most of my yarns were leftovers from self-stripers. That means color changes without ends. A joy!
One last note – although I usually block my finished pieces, I did NOT block Motley. The reason I didn’t is because of the wide variety of yarn densities and gauges used. I was afraid that while everything is nice and flat now, if I were to block the thing, each fragment would behave differently, leading to cupping, sagging, or differential stretch. So I punted and let it it sit, as is.
I do hope that someone else attempts this one. It’s fast, it’s fun, and if you use up that dratted bag of leftovers that’s taking up space in the back of your closet – it’s practically free.
LATE BREAKING UPDATE: The Lattice Wingspan Variant instructions are now available as an easy-to-download PDF, at the Knitting Patterns link, above.
Another Wingspan. I’m trying to codify what I have been doing because I wanted to post it as yet another enhancement to the pattern, hence the multiple iterations. UPDATE: Test knitting complete, pattern corrections are now in!
Before and After (pre-blocking):
This one was knit from Marks & Kattens Fame Trend. Its labeled as a heavy sock yarn to be knit on 3mm needles, at 26 stitches = 10 cm, but it’s really somewhere between sport and DK, with some thick-thin variability. What drew me to it was the very long repeat – evident in the skein. I like the way extra long color gradations play out in this project, and the slow progression from green through olive, warm chocolate and tans played well. Because this yarn is heavier than the original recommended yarns, I used a 5mm needle, instead of the recommended 3.5mm.
I knit my Fame Trend Wingspan starting with a cast-on row of 75 because I wanted my piece longer and more scarf-like than Maylin’s Tri’Coterie shoulderette mini-shawl original. Here are my mods. I was inspired by Lenora’s Angel Wingspan variant, and decided to take the eyelet idea to the extreme, using larger eyelets and lots more of them, plus adjusting stitch count to work better with the project’s natural tendency to “clump” into three-stitch units. I also transposed this to all garter stitch because I liked the way the welts framed the double eyelets.
Again, the basic concept and shape here is Maylin’s. Click on the link above to retrieve her free pattern (free Ravelry sign-in required). You’ll need it to use my supplement, below. And the idea of piercing it with holes came from Lenora. I just took their concepts and ran with them.
If you are using standard fingering weight yarn, use a needle larger than the 3.5mm needle recommended for the original, in order to increase laciness and yield a softer more fluid drape. For my Zauberball Crazy edition of this variant (true fingering weight), I used a US #5 (3.75mm). For the Marks & Kattens Fame Trend I had to go up to a US #8 (5mm) before I got the result I liked.
Rows 1-4: Work as per original instructions, rows 1-4
Row 5: Sl1p, K2, YO, *SS-K1-PSSsO, YO2*, until 6 stitches remain before the marker. Finish last 6 stitches by SS-K1-PSSsO, YO, k3, remove marker. Turn. (If you like any other double decrease may be used instead of the slip-slip-knit one-pass-both-slipped-stitches-over, I’ve experimented with K3tog and SSSK, and both look fine)
Rows 6 and 7: Work as per original instructions, row 3-4, but knit instead of purl – working a K,P in each double yarn over and a K in each single yarn over when you encounter them. Advance the traveling marker as described in the original on each wrong side row, until you work a final wrong side row with only 3 stitches, and have no place to put it.
Row 1: Sl1p, YO, *SS-K1-PSSsO, YO2*, until 6 stitches remain before the marker. Finish last 6 stitches by SS-K1-PSSsO, YO, K3. Turn
Row 2: Sl1p, K2, place non-traveling marker. K3, place traveling marker, knit to end, working a K,P in each double YO, and a single K in each single YO. Cast on 18 stitches.
Row 3 and 5: Work as per triangle 2, row 3 of the original.
Row 4 and 6: Work as per triangle 2, row 4 of the original, but do it in all knit rather than purling.
Repeat rows 1-6 until the traveling marker walks all the way back to the starting edge.
Triangle 3 and all subsequent triangles:
Row 1: Work as per Triangle 2, Row 1 above, until 24 stitches remain before the marker. Finish last 6 stitches by SS-K1-PSSsO, YO, K3. Place a new non-traveling marker, and turn. After you place the non-traveling marker, there should be 18 stitches between it and the previous non-traveling marker.
Row 2: Work as per Triangle 2, Row 2 above.
Continue working Triangle 3 (and subsequent triangles) in the method established for Triangle 2, following the original pattern’s logic. Because my version of the Tri’Coterie pattern is narrower and uses big eyelets, you should get 9-10 triangles out of a 420+ meter skein of fingering weight or sport weight yarn, instead of the pattern’s described eight.
After the completion of a triangle, when you decide your piece is long enough, and you still have about a third of a triangle’s worth of yarn left, it’s time to finish.
Row 1: Repeat Triangle 1, Row 5 above across the entire backbone of the piece, removing all markers as you encounter them.
Rows 2-4: Sl1p, knit to end. AT THE END OF EACH ROW OF GARTER STITCH REASSESS YOUR REMAINING YARN. Depending on available yardage, needle size and gauge, I’ve been able to knit at least one row of garter stitch prior to the bind-off row. You will need approximately 4 times total project width for that final bind-off row. The Marks & Kattens had enough for me to work four rows of garter prior to bind-off. Noro Taiyo had enough for two rows of garter prior to binding off.
Bind off loosely. Because of the big eyelets, damp block this piece to within an inch of its life to make them spread. Try to do it following the design’s natural helix for best effect.
Hope someone else is tempted by this project in my variant or in the original. It’s dramatic, quick, and not as difficult as all those abbreviations make it look. It’s a great one-skein holiday gift project that uses yarns that are tempting/beautiful in the ball, but are a true challenge to use effectively. And like the best of those, is as addictive as potato chips.
Next post will muse on the changing nature of the on-line knitting community, with sincere appreciation to some old coteries who helped me think it through, and who wrote to me to express support. Stay tuned!
Added several more rescued patterns from wiseNeedle to the Knitting Pattern link above, including:
- Firefighters’ Socks
- Impossible Socks
- Pine Tree Toe Up Socks
- Jelly Bean Toe Up Socks
- Ch’ullu Hat
- Knot-a-Hat Earwarmer Band
- Spring Lightning Lacy Scarf
Will continue to plug away. Reminder – please, if you are thinking of linking to these, please link to the source page rather than the individual PDF. I can’t guarantee that the PDF links won’t change.
Ported over patterns for
- Kombu Scarf
- Justin’s Octagon Crib Counterpane
- Mountain Laurel Crib Counterpane
- Kids’ “Chain Mail” Coif and Hauberk
- Simple Toe-Up Socks in Four Sizes
Click at “Knitting Patterns” link at top of this page to view.
Stay tuned! More are coming.
UPDATE: THE UNICORN PATTERN BELOW IS NOW AVAILABLE AS AN EASY DOWNLOAD PDF AT THE EMBROIDERY PATTERNS LINK, ABOVE.
Holiday over, we slowly revert to standard routine here at String Central. However, that doesn’t mean we have nothing to show off.
First, Smaller Daughter – her class built models of castles, manor farms, and cathedrals as part of their Middle Ages history unit. You can’t see the details she lavished on hers – the working drawbridge, the flower garden, the well (with working bucket), the stables, or the forces manning the towers, but now you know they’re there:
Slytherin? Well, we are Salazars, after all… And there’s the inevitable Castle Uprising Aftermath:
Too bad the teachers don’t grade them on general post-project carnage.
Not less for being presented second, Elder Daughter has been taken with double sided double knitting. She has been adding double knit squares bearing mythical creatures to her Barbara Walker Learn to Knit sampler afghan. Here’s a graph for her next square, an original unicorn, based loosely on a Siebmacher yale (heraldic goat):
Apple. Tree. Lack of distance between the two is noted. With considerable pride, I might add.
And finally in spite of the welcome and happy chaos of a house crammed full of family, turkey, and way too many pies – I did manage to move a bit forward on the great blackwork sampler:
The dark band with the frilly edging will be in TNCM2. The one just below it was in my first 1974 booklet. I recently rediscovered that I had graphed it from my all time favorite source. It’s the pattern I used for my double sided double running stitch logic lesson back in August, 2010. You can find the lesson (and the pattern) here.
Taa daah! I present our finished crowdsource pattern page! 39 different and distinct patterns, from Twerp’s Starbee to Pam’s Knot, designed by you – readers of String!
To round out our count we have:
- 32 – Gum Blossom #1. From Susan Davis, posting all the way from Australia
- 33 – Death’s Head. Susan continues our piratical sub-theme. The eye patch and nose are done off-count.
- 34 – Doodle. Also Susan’s. The tightly packed stitches at the arms’ ends will present like satin stitch.
- 35 – Gum Blossom #2. Susan again, sharing flowers from Oz with the rest of us.
- 36 – Gum Blossom #3. More Susan. Very sweet!
- 37 – Gum Blossom #4. Susan’s final flower.
- 38 – Snails. Mine. I can’t resist working these snails into every project I can. Your initials can be swapped into the center oval instead of the flowers.
- 39 – Celtic Knot. Last but far from least, from Pam, who ties our totally insane collection up with a nice, final knot.
So there you have it – one full page of crowdsourced contributions. This was fun! If folks want, I’ll start another of these. Let me know. Also if you stitch up something using one or more of these fillings, please send me a picture to post here, so we can all share the joy.
Although it is in the periodic nature of comets to come and go, I owe apologies to The Person Who Wishes to Remain Anonymous for inadvertently omitting her tribute to the Bayeux Tapestry from the crowdsource project updates. The inbox management blunder that made that mistake has been taken out and shot.
This week brought five additions to the project, including the belated comet:
- 27. Comet – a tribute to Halley’s Comet as it appeared in the Bayeux Tapestry – Anonymous (with apologies!)
- 28. Mesmer-Flower – A mind bending cross-style flower from from Alexandra Rule
- 29. Anchor – A continuation of our maritime sub-theme also from Alexandra Rule
- 30. Bumblebee – We need more insects if we want to pay homage to the spirit of historical era stitching. This one is from Laura Kathleen Brashear.
- 31. Strawberry – Another for the traditional motif sub-theme, again from Laura Kathleen Brashear.
I’m having way too much fun with these. You can see that we’ve still got room for eight more full-diamond designs, and for about five more that are symmetrical and that can be represented in the half-diamond boxes at top and bottom.
With some overlap among categories, our sub-themes so far seem to be piratical/nautical (1, 16, 20, 21, 3, 29), science fiction (26, 23, 24, 11), sweetness-and-light (31, 22, 6, 10, 18, 13, 4), traditional (31, 30, 26, 5, 6, 3, 25, 13, 7, 16, 9, 12, 14, 10, 12), astronomic (27, 20, 31, 11), beasties-and-bugs (30, 19, 16, 6, 17, 3, 2, 16), and floral-fruits (26, 5, 25, 13, 7, 9, 12, 14, 10, 8). This leaves poor ennui (15) sitting in the corner and sulking, unless you think that by virtue of “Meh” being a popular Think-Geek t-shirt, he belongs in with SF.
If anyone has started stitching something using these, I’d love to hear about it.
First, thanks this week to our crowdsource design contributors – the patient Jane Wyant, and (as always) Long Time Needlework Pal Kathryn Goodwyn:
- #25 – Grapes – Kathryn’s own needlework sigil, offered up to our collection. (Kathryn’s deep love of grape motifs is legendary).
- #26 – TARDIS – From Jane Wyant, a Whovian tiny inter-dimensional call box should we wish to stitch in two places at the same time.
We’ve still got a few open diamonds. With some repositioning I think I can fit in seven more motifs. Feel free to send yours along.
On my own blackwork sampler, progress is being made. My Lipperheide panel is proceeding apace.
I am not going to have room for the entire repeat. There’s a head of one of the four winds (possibly Boreas), and a horn tooting satyr that will have to wait their turn on a future piece. Unless Kathryn gets there first.
After I finish out this strip to the left hand edge of the stitched area I will fill in a narrower band below the sprigged chimney pots. Then I’ll edge across the entire bottom with something nice and dark – probably worked voided style. I haven’t picked out the designs for either of those strips yet, but as folk following here know, I enjoy bungee jump style stitching. Once the dark area is done that will leave only the top. Believe it or not, the part you see stitched here is only about 65% of my total piece. I’m not sure what I’ll do up there, but that’s still down the road.
A few more submissions this week. It’s not too late if you want to play along!
All of these are from anonymous donors.
#20 – A very aggressive sun.
#21 – A mustachioed moon.
#22 – A spiral mint candy.
#23 – Tiny robot!
#24 – Frankenstein’s Monster/
The sun, moon, robot and monster are from someone who doodled these up on the floor of a recent science fiction/comics convention that shall also remain nameless. The candy comes from someone who was charmed by the ladybugs, unicorn and the bunny, and was inspired to continue the counter theme of sweetness and light. (As opposed to poison, pirates, and ennui).
I welcome more input – traditional flowers, non-specific geometrics, animal, vegetable, domestic, wild, fantasy or reality.