Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pineapple Lace

Back in December, two local residents, Mr. & Mrs. W, contacted me about commissioning me to knit a piece of lace that would decorate the top of a new-to-them antique sideboard.  Now, what the heck is a sideboard, you ask?  Well, before they sent me pictures, I had no idea what it was either.  But I quickly learned that it's a very large piece of furniture and this particular sideboard in the W's home is incredibly ornate and very, very old.

Photo courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. W
Photo courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. W
Mr. & Mrs. W are huge supporters of the local arts, so I was really flattered that they thought of me when it came to finding someone to create the piece of lace that they envisioned.  And then as soon as I got over the flattery, I became nearly paralyzed with doubt that I could make something that would be good enough to reside in their home.   You see, their house is adorned with so many amazing pieces of art from local artists as well as artists from elsewhere in Alaska, and I was afraid that my lace just wouldn't measure up.

But I quickly snapped out of it, grew some confidence, and reasoned that if they didn't think that I could do it then they wouldn't have asked. And then I immediately set out to find the perfect yarn to work with for this piece.

After much perusing of all my favorite online yarn haunts, I finally settled on something that was already in my stash (perfect, right?)....Knit Picks Bare sock yarn.  Mrs. W had told me that she wanted something white or off-white, so it was perfect.  And with the added nylon in the yarn, I felt that this would help make the piece more durable.

After settling on the yarn, I grabbed my many stitch dictionaries and settled in for a fun-filled afternoon of looking over the lace sections of the different reference guides and deciding on which stitch patterns to include in the work.  This was my absolute favorite part of the project to date. (I'm assuming that ultimately my favorite part of the project will be unpinning the finished work after blocking, but I don't want to put the cart before the horse at this point!)

I made a few swatches so that I would have something to show Mrs. W when I met with her to go over what she liked and, more importantly, what she didn't like. Mrs. W's family is from Hawaii and she had told me that she liked pineapple shapes, so I had this helpful clue to guide me in the right direction.  I ended up purchasing a pineapple lace book on ebay and this handy guide lead me to what will be the border of the work (shown here in its unblocked glory):

The swatches below were whipped up to show her some possible stitches that could make up the body of the piece.  In addition, I came up with a few different sketches and was ready to include multiple panels of lace and make it super duper fancy.  But, in the end, Mrs. W chose the simple eyelet lace in the lower right corner, with the reasoning that the sideboard is already so ornate that the lace should be simple and understated.  I couldn't agree more!

Basically, the piece is going to be one long rectangle of the eyelet lace and then I'll pick up stitches all around and work the pineapple lace border in the round and finish it off with a crocheted bind off and edging.  I'm excited!

I've cast on for it and am slogging my way through the eyelet lace.  The good thing about this is that it's mindless knitting (yo, k2tog...easy as pie!), and I can always go for that.

Stay tuned for some updates on the sideboard lace over the next few weeks.  I've already gotten a bit of a late start on it, but my aim is to be finished with the body in the next couple weeks.  I've set a goal of 3 inches a day...let's see if I can stick to it!