Fresh off the needles and crochet hook:
The finished result:
Pattern: Pattern #16, "Weintrauben," from Burda Special 198 ("Wine Grapes")
Thread: Cebelia 30 crochet cotton
Needles: 2 mm
This table center (it averages about 21 inches across, so I think it's a little big to be called a doily, yet it's not a tablecloth) was designed by Herbert Niebling, and he's given credit for the design in Burda 198. Sadly, doily designers don't always get credited in publications. Burda 554/5 and 554/6 were uncredited. Either the names of designers are really lost to history, or equally unfortunately, the publishers of doily patterns don't care about giving credit where credit is due when they could do so.
Some of Niebling's designs feature botanical motifs on a hexagonal mesh lace background. Not all of them, but these designs are the ones knitters tend to identify most with Niebling. (Well, the knitters who give a hoot about doilies, anwyay!) Burda 418/50, the nameless doily with the little oak leaves, was designed by Niebling too. Although the leaves are differently shaped, the lobes in the leaves in both 418/50 and Weintrauben are formed in the same way, using [yo, k1-p1 into the same stitch, yo] to make the spaces between the lobes, and [k2tog, k1, s1-k1-psso] followed by k3tog in the next pattern round to finish off each lobe tip.
Weintrauben was a fascinating pattern to knit. It has six large sections, which means that the stitch repeat was huge. My eyes didn't wander from the chart too much—there was no blindly getting into a rhythm of repeating stitches here except in the final rounds of the border. The "grapes" are formed by an ingenious combination of many different types of stitches: make 1, k1tbl, k1-p1 into the same stitch, k6tog (which I executed as sl3-k3tog-psso), and 1x1 crossed stitches (which adds a bit of a 3-d texture to each grape!). On top of it all, the grapes are arranged in a staggered fashion through the "bunch"—each round you are working through different grapes at different stages. In the same round, you may be finishing off the top of one grape located in the center of bunch while working the middles of grapes located at the outside of the bunch.
The hexagonal mesh is not unique to Niebling patterns (see Engeln 17D). It's a basic lace "ground" pattern basically formed by a double yarn over, usually followed by k1-p1 into the double yo in the next round. However, I find knitting k1-k1tbl into the double yo much faster for me (I knit English-style, throwing the yarn with my right index finger). The overall holes are also smaller when k1-k1tbl is used instead of k1-p1, because the k1tbl twists a part of the double yo thread and pulls it in, while k1-p1 wraps itself over and under the double yo thread. I think hexagonal mesh using k1-p1 results in a more open and slightly neater appearance, which I also like, but there is a definite trade off for me in terms of additional time and effort.
I also decided on k1-k1tbl mesh for this pattern because when I examined the photograph in Burda 198 before casting on, it vaguely looked to me like the cloth was pulled a little too taut in the rounds near the top of the grape bunch. If it was in fact taut there, there may have been too few stitches for being that distance from the center. Since the center of the doily is all hex mesh and k1-k1tbl would make the mesh smaller overall, I thought I could maybe avoid any tightness around the top of the grape bunch by ensuring that the whole pattern of grapes would be closer to the center. So, I just made the decision to start knitting the pattern using k1-k1tbl.
Since I was never certain that the original sample was flawed, my cloth may have been fine with k1-p1 mesh after all. In fact, right after taking it off the needles, I was afraid that I had made a huge mistake by possibly overcorrecting the issue (which would have given me a loosely ruffled cloth). To my relief, it easily blocked out flat without any problems.
Even before I had cast on Weintrauben, I had knit up to the 90th round of this cloth, which will be even larger than Weintrauben:
That's a cone of 40/2 linen mounted for easy dispensing on a straight knitting needle in a modified shoe box.
Knowing too much about "doily math" can be a dangerous thing, since according to my calculations I am only 44% done. But other than the thought of having to work a lot of hexagonal mesh using k1-p1 this time, I am looking forward to finishing it. The pattern is not explicitly credited to Niebling, but I can definitely at least say it is in the same style. Huge leaves over mesh. More details when I am done.
Yes, the next big thing on my blog is going to be yet another table center/doily. I realize doilies don't get as much love in the online lace knitting world as shawls, but I'm trying to make up for some of that with my blog here.
12 November 2006
Fresh off the needles and crochet hook: