Finding my niche

The last couple of days have been rest days, pretty much. With the Citron finished, and the new needle tips not yet here for re-knitting the Evenstar, I have been doing some low-key knitting. I cast on a hat, prompted by the heavy snow fall. It’s just a practical number in Aran weight yarn. I thought large needles and thick wool would be just the job after all those teeny weeny stitches but, you know what, I have hated every minute of it. I think I am settled into a laceweight niche now, and disinclined to leave it. I love the softness of pure fibre laceweight yarns. I like the ease with which they pass through my fingers, and the easy way in which such a lightweight project is handled. And, yes, I do love the complexity of lace.

My hat has large cables in it. They are difficult to manipulate. The yarn is harsh and is making my skin sore. I am longing to get back to the teeny weeny stitches.

It’s quite odd, really. All my life I have thought myself incapable of fine work – I lack the attention to detail and my hands fumble. I have no finesse. I don’t do small stuff. Truly, I do not. That’s what my brain tells me, but here I have the evidence before my eyes as shawl after shawl trips off my needles.

So, I thought I might try some things that I have avoided all my life, much as they intrigue me. First up? Marquetry!

Both my father and his father before him dabbled in marquetry. The walls of my childhood home, and that of my grandparents, bore the fruits of their labours. I was fascinated, totally by both the finished article and in watching my dad at work. I can recall sitting by his side, watching him craft a picture of a ploughman at his till, with his horse before him. I can remember running my hands along the furrows of the field and marvelling that they were smooth, although they looked so ridged. I wondered as he spent endless hours polishing the finished article to a soft sheen, and wondered again when feeling for the completely indiscernible joints.

My work will never be as good, but I would like to try the hobby out, in order to understand it and to evoke something of that childhood interest. I am going to begin with a kit (just bought it via eBay) in order to introduce myself to the skills and methods necessary. If I can take to it – my aim is to take photographs, pass them through Photoshop to simplify them, and generate my cutting patterns from there. I have no interest in reproducing famous paintings, or reassembling kits, or producing clichés – abstracts and abstractions from my other “art” are what appeal to me. And the woods, of course, my lifelong passion for the grain. I think marquetry may just be a way for me to collect examples of beautiful veneers. But it will be good to carry on a family tradition.

The Citron shawl is on the blocking mats – a 24″ radius was achieved. Just right for one row of mats 🙂

All pinned out

I found an unplanned hole!


Mr L is re-hanging the door on his train room so that we shall have no lockout incidents. I think he and A achieved a consensus today on what the layout is to be but further plotting, with the aid of beer, will commence this evening. I need to arrange some food for the boys. Got to dash!


  1. February 21, 2010

    I’m with you, I like fingering weight and finer, I can knit with bigger stuff but I reach for the thinner yarns out of preference anytime!

    • Lisa
      February 22, 2010

      Your laceweight stuff is beautiful! 😀

      • February 22, 2010

        Thank you, Lisa. I confess that my fingers are currently itching to do something fine, white, and crisp. It must be a reaction to my brown aran hat project!

    • February 22, 2010

      Katie: I’m with you, I like fingering weight and finer, I can knit with bigger stuff but I reach for the thinner yarns out of preference anytime!  

      It’s funny, because I clearly recall a time when I fled in horror from the very idea of laceweight! That said, I favoured 4ply over DK or thicker and would knit aran patterns in 4ply in my youth. That’s a lot of cables…

      I wonder if there is a Rav group dedicated to sourcing vintage patterns? There’s an aran style 4ply sweater pattern from the 70s I would very much like to have hold of again. It came from a magazine – Woman, or Woman’s Own

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