19 November 2006

Erich Engeln 7F

Pattern: "F" from Erich Engeln leaflet #7
Thread: Cordonnet 60 crochet cotton
Needles: 1.5 mm

This doily is my first one using thread and needles this fine. I chose this design because not knowing how well I'd do with size 60 thread, I didn't want to get too tripped up by the stitch-making (it mostly uses only yos and the usual left, right, and double decreases). It was also designed with three possible stopping rounds, so if I decided I couldn't stand knitting it, I could have bailed out early with a tiny doily featuring only the center star. I ended up knitting the full pattern.

With my other projects on 2 mm needles, I usually have no problems at all starting with a circular cast-on on 6-inch bamboo dpns, which are light and easy for me to manuever. However, the 1.5 mm needles I have are 8-inch metal double points and two 24-inch circulars (Inox "greys"). Starting this doily on the long, heavy dpns was tricky. During the earliest rounds, none of the needles would stay in place in the stitches by themselves, so I had to hold onto all of them. Every time I switched dpns, I had to put the entire work down and carefully pick it up again in the new orientation. Eventually there were enough stitches on the needles to keep things together, but then I just put the work on two circs because the needles still felt heavy and awkward. I would probably just cast on directly onto the two circs next time—I only grabbed the dpns first this time because I hadn't anticipated the problems.

To my knowledge, there are only two companies that produce 1.5 mm circular needles: Inox and Addi. I don't have the Addi version to compare, but I can say that the Inox ones are pretty good. I don't love the cables of regular-sized grey Inox needles, but in the 1.5 mm needles, the plastic cable is extra thin and quite flexible.

Once I was knitting the project with the circular needles, it really didn't feel much different from knitting with my usual Cebelia 30 thread. The Cebelia 30 felt, surprisingly, a little bit "fat" when I switched back and forth between knitting this doily and the final rounds of Weintrauben, but otherwise my ability to make and see the stitches was pretty much the same.

Of course, this piece is smaller than others I've knit with about the same number of rounds. This pattern was 76 rounds and the finished doily is less than 9 inches across.

However, I am very fond of the fineness of this doily compared to my usual Cebelia 30 doilies and could see Cordonnet 60 becoming my new favorite thread, except I'd hate not being able to use my favorite needle types with it (Crystal Palace bamboo dpns and Knitpicks circulars)! I plan to try knitting a small doily with the rest of my first ball of Cordonnet 60 using 2 mm needles instead, as an experiment in gauge and stitch size. Maybe I can still have my cake and eat it too. The stitches in this doily are somewhat densely packed and could have been more open; Cordonnet 60 might just work better with a larger needle for me.

I also currently have size 80 and size 100 Cordonnet thread and even finer needles on order. Although at some point I might have to use dpns throughout the project because circulars smaller than 1.5 mm don't exist, the smaller dpns will at least be lighter than the 1.5 mm dpns. And, based on this experiment with size 60/1.5 mm, it looks like I might be able to use 1.5 mm circulars with size 80 thread if not size 100.

1 comment:

BJ said...

It's beautiful!

When I knit doilies, I always use dpn's. I tie the end of the yarn to a heavy button so that I don't confuse it with the working yarn. It also helps to anchor the stitches.