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What will you make of it?

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The new year stretches out before us like a long, loose hank. I wonder how it will unwind? What will you knit with the yarn you’ve been given? Will you enjoy every stitch? Will you try something new? Will you be brave enough to frog your mistakes? I hope so.

All my love and best wishes for a tangle-free 2013! :)


P.S. I did a little sprucing up at Laylock; it was long overdue. I hope you’ll ♥ it!

1st January, 2013  // Inspiration, Laylock // tags: , , .

Shawl Styling

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umbel shawl

lilac chucks

I’m trying to make the most of the last days of summer warmth by wearing dresses. I found this dress on sale in New Look; it reminds me of The Great Gatsby & mint juleps, or perhaps 50s rock ‘n’ roll & mint ice cream. At any rate, I love the pastel trend, and I couldn’t resist this pair of lilac converse-style shoes to match my Umbel Shawl, even though there are probably more sensible colours for shoes…

A pretty dress with casual shoes is my favourite combination, because a) it looks like I haven’t tried too hard and b) I feel readier for adventures involving running, climbing and bouncing.

mint roses

And it just so happens that I was gifted these tiny mint-green rose earrings. Perfect match!

And here’s my classic LBD combination. This dress has a low back, so a light shawl is just the thing to take along in the evening.

umbel shawl

I think colour plays a big part in making your shawl look dressy or casual-chic. Lavender is a great colour because it complements most skin tones and hair colours, and it has an understated elegance. You may notice that the shawl looks quite vibrant against the mint green, whereas the black dress washes it out a little, making it appear nearer grey – more appropriate for evening wear.

mint green dress

I hope this gives you a few ideas for styling your shawls. If anyone is interested, I could write more about shawl styling, perhaps with some autumn hues. Let me know in the comments!

P.S. My Umbel isn’t looking quite as crisp because it’s been squished in a suitcase. Still not too shabby though, is it? I folded it at the points and laid it flat across the top of the case.

19th September, 2012  // Inspiration // tags: , , .

Liebling Niebling

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This post is part of Knitting & Crochet Blog Week. You can read all of last year’s posts here.

I’ve talked about a few of my knitting heroes before: Mary Thomas, Mrs. Beeton, the Turkish lady whose name I can’t remember, and many of my favourite designers fall into this category as well. But Herbert Niebling is in a class of knitting brilliance all his own. He truly groks stitches; he can make a piece of string dance in achingly graceful floral patterns, seemingly effortlessly.

If you haven’t heard of him, I urge you to look through some of the projects for his patterns on Ravelry. There’s also a very active Group dedicated to him (and that’s not what it’s called, Dolores).

Despite his recent popularity and his evident knitting genius, there’s hardly any information on the internet about Herbert (Richard) Niebling, not even the stub of a Wikipedia article. The best source of information I’ve been able to find is a brilliant 2-page article in Piecework May/June 2010 by Mary Frances Wogec. She’s also the designer of the beautiful Niebling-inspired lace bag on the cover.
“As the composer writes down the notes that he hears, in the same way I write down the stitches that I see.” – Herbert Niebling
A brief overview, from the aforementioned article: Niebling was born in Averlak in 1903 and learnt to knit as a young boy. He began knitting lace patterns from leaflets that were in publication at the time, and went on to study at the Hamburg Kunstgewerbeschule. After the war he settled in Freiburg, (which happens to be the only German city I’ve visited) and began publishing lace patterns inspired by the flowers in his garden.

But how does a designer go from knitting doilies from a leaflet, to being “The Grand Master of Lace Knitting”? It seems we’ll never know, but I find it difficult not to romanticise the life of a man who could so perfectly command motif, shape and symmetry in such a difficult medium. Did he see patterns in his everyday life? What did he knit his wife as a wedding gift? Did he dip his toes in the bächle on warm summer days? Did he ever dare eat a Black Forest Gateau on one of his tablecloths? These are the questions I’d like to ask him.

While I’ve never knit a Niebling design, I often flip through the Lacis book for inspiration and examine and swatch elements of his designs. I particularly yearn to wrap myself in a wispy Lyra one day, as those who share my love of His Dark Materials (and by association Ancient Greek and astronomy) will understand. Most of all though, I yearn to one day understand lace half as well as he did.

25th April, 2012  // Inspiration // tags: , , , , .
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