Monday, April 30, 2012

Lovely Lace Laundering

I'm sure I've made no secret of my love of knitting lace.  However, thanks to Pinterest, I've recently been reacquainted with my love of other lace (all things lace, really).  When my mom took me to look at fabric as  kid, I was always drawn to the lace, be it eyelet or Venice style lace.

So, while I was surfing Pinterest and looking at skirts (because I've recently developed a desire to wear a skirt occasionally (this is a shocker to those that see me regularly because I have only worn skirts outside my apartment maybe once or twice a year for the past ten years (and only when visiting GiGi (Dude, this is four nested parentheticals! Score!)))), I rediscovered lace (I think we've talked about this before).  Now I want to put lace on everything.  I'm not going to (I'm still not sure why not, but GiGi said no), but I've been drooling over it anyway (my poor keyboard).

As a result, I purchased a 2lb assorted grab bag of discontinued or remnant lace from LaceHeaven (Yes, that is where I want to go when I die, why do you ask?) (It was one of only three they were selling, but there are also a lot of lots of lace on Ebay.  Go look, I'll wait.  Nice, right?)  The only drawback to it being leftovers was that much of the lace was stained with age and needed to be laundered.  (Don't tell anyone, but my inner fiber geek said "yay!")

So for the past week, whenever I've had a spare moment, I've been washing lace.  I've mostly been using Oxyclean because it really does power out the stains. 

I'm including a short tutorial in case you also ever have to wash lace.

Note: You'll want to try this on a small piece before you do the entire amount to test how the lace will hold up to cleaning and if you like the final result.

How to launder lace (using Oxyclean)
1) Add Oxyclean to water.  I used 3/4 cup to 2 gallons of water.  Stir to dissolve completely.

2) Place lace into the water.  Stir again to thoroughly soak the lace in the solution.  It should get really sudsy.

3) Soak for one hour.  (I recommend knitting while you wait, but if you've got something else you need to do... I'm sorry.)  Check after an hour.  If the stains appear to be gone, continue with step 4, otherwise let it soak some more.  (If not all of the stains have been removed after a couple of hours of soaking, they may not be coming out.  I recommend dyeing.  It's also a great deal of fun, plus what are you going to do with all of that white lace.)

4) Rinse thoroughly. I soaked the lace in the bathroom sink, but then used the bathtub to rinse.

5) Wrap in a towel and squeeze to remove the excess water. 

6) Long strands can be placed on a hanger to dry, but I recommend placing any appliques on a flat surface to dry. (I used the cardboard cutting board that I block shawls on.)

7) It usually takes about 8-10 hours for them to dry completely (probably less, but I like to be sure it's completely dry).

8) Giggle happily and wrap yourself in the beautiful, clean lace while doing a happy dance.  (This step is optional, but I don't know how you'll avoid it.)

The difference between the clean and dirty lace is quite dramatic.

Now to put lace on everything (::whistles:: Here Winnie!),

P.S. Song of the week: Somebody that I used to know, Gotye.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring flowers

Spring is fully upon us.  Every time I walk anywhere in the city, I try to take the time to enjoy the beautiful flowers in bloom.  I recently got the to spend some time in the garden that surrounds the American Museum of Natural History. 

The sun was shining.

The flowers were beautiful.

I couldn't ask for a better place to knit.

(Madtosh lace in Fig held double.)

Happy Spring,

Monday, April 2, 2012

Crescent City Shawlette

I grew up in southeast Louisiana in a town close to New Orleans.  I've always loved the city for it's culture, music, and historic feel. (But sadly couldn't eat much of the food given that I'm allergic to seafood.) So when I decided to try my hand at designing a crescent shaped shawl I had to name it after the city that will always be close to my heart, the Crescent City.

Meet the Crescent City Shawlette.

Photos above from

It is being offered as a kit (!!!) in two colors: red (for red hot jazz) and blue (for rhythm and blues).  The pattern is also for sale on its own as a pdf.

It's worked with two strands held together, one strand of Gloss Fingering (red: Cranberry, blue: Winter Night) and one strand of Aloft (red: Cranberry, blue: Celestial.)  The Gloss gives it substance while the Aloft gives it a soft, lovely halo. 

The crescent shape helps it stay over the shoulders, so it won't keep slipping off when worn.  Plus I really love the little curl at the ends.

I made mine in Stroll Tonal Sock in Lullaby and Aloft in Fairy Tale.

Now if only I can keep GiGi from talking me out of it,