Sunday, July 08, 2007

Lacis: 1st Meeting of the Lace Knitters Group

I made another visit to Lacis on Saturday, July 7, to attend the first meeting of the newly formed Lace Knitters Group. My knitting pal Nina and I met at BART and took the train under the Bay, and got off at Ashby Station in Berkeley.

We got there a little early (the group meets at 1:00 pm on the first Saturday of the month), so we detoured to the funky Berkeley Flea Market at the corner of Ashby and Adeline. I picked up a large African basket. Little did I know that I would need it to take home my loot!

We went across the street to Lacis and found that we were surrounded by lace knitting as soon as we walked in the door. I noticed some magnificent examples that had not been displayed when I visited in June. Lace doilies, Shetland shawls, Orenburg shawls, a beautiful baby gown, and so many other lovely things were hung on every available wall.

A large table center called Krokus caught my attention in the front display area. It was mounted vertically on a black backdrop which showed the fine stitch detail. This had to have been knitted with size 100 or finer thread. In the next room, the glass display case had changed its theme. Instead of the beaded bags that I saw in June, lace gloves and hankies and doilies and baby things filled the case.

I was pleased to meet Jules Kliot once again, the wonderful owner of Lacis. I could tell he was excited to see the number of lace knitters walking through the door, chattering and ooo-ing all about the store. His smile is infectious. All of the knitters were greeted by the enthusiastic Mary Frances Wogec, lace aficionado and glorious leader of the Lace Knitters Group. After we sat down and introduced ourselves, the knitters produced examples of their latest work.

I finally met the notorious Lacefreak (Jane) and her sister, and saw some of Jane's extraordinary work. I have enough trouble keeping my mind on one or two lace projects, but Jane seems to have no problem knitting several big, complicated and fabulous lace patterns simultaneously. I mean to say, she can multitask like nobody's business.

Now, I'm not the most experienced lace knitter, but I have a good number of projects under my belt. I have to say that I was most impressed with the quality of work that these ladies and one gentleman brought to the table. Throughout all of our jabbering, Mary Frances was gracious and encouraging, and she even suggested a doily for our first group project.

The book Lavori Artistici a Calza #11 is an Italian magazine with some lovely doilies and other lace projects like baby bonnets, lace curtains and handkerchief edgings. We all agreed to take Mary Frances' suggestion and will be knitting doily #66, from inside the back cover.

She will help us by preparing a translation of the Italian instructions. I purchased the book as well as a ball of DMC Cebelia #30 in a rusty-gold color for my doily. After making my Lyra, I have every type of size 0 needle, so I am all set.

In the photo below is a cone of Aegean Blue Zephyr wool-silk that I already owned, as well as some baby blue beads from Beadissimo in San Francisco. I hope to make the Mystery Stole #3 with those, but I've got a few other projects to finish first. Next to these is my new ball of Cebelia for the doily. Lacis has a fantastic selection of Cebelia and other threads in a multitude of colors. Nina also picked up a cone of Zephyr at Lacis in an ethereal misty green.

The other book I purchased is the one I mentioned in my previous post, Knitted Lace Designs of the Modern Mode, Book 1 by Kazuko Ichida. The book is entirely in Japanese, but Lacis provides a thoughtful explanation and translation pamphlet in English by Mary Frances. All of the designs are charted. After leafing through the advance copy in June, I knew I would eventually come back to purchase the book.

Several Herbert Niebling and Christine Duchrow designs are included, although the individual patterns are not identified in English. I can provide an example here, but I am by no means an expert. The following three doilies appeared in three different publications in three different time periods.

The first photo is from the new Knitted Lace Designs of the Modern Mode, Book 1 and is identified as #25.

Compare it to the doily in the second photo from Burda's first lace special edition magazine of August 1965, which appears to be knitted in a finer thread with an additional tier of flowers.

And finally, the third photo is from the book Strick-Lehrbuch #603/114, published 1983 by Verlag Aenne Burda.

If you are familiar with Niebling's and Duchrow's work, I'm sure you will find many designs that look familiar in the new Lacis book. I found so many of the designs appealing. In particular, these made the list of doilies I would like to someday make. I may have to quit my job to have time to make all of these!

The last thing I purchased was a cleaning agent called "Restoration" that Lacis recommends for cleaning antique linens and lace.

I have a collection of hand embroidered linens that my grandmother embellished for her wedding trousseau in 1917. I also have some lovely doilies, chair sets, tablecloths and bedspreads that could all do with a little freshening. I am hoping that this product will help remove some of the yellowish spots that have appeared on some of them.

Last but not least, as Nina and I left the shop with our loot, I looked at the front window display and saw ... my blog post of June 30 was printed out and posted in Lacis' window.


I was so excited I snapped a photo.


Laritza said...

Sandy! how fun! not only are you right there but also sharing with lovely and talented people. I am a lonesome lace knitter around here. So our names are in print right at the store front! Who would have guessed! we are famous!

KnitSanity said...

I love your blog but have never posted a comment. You are so lucky to live near Lacis.

Thanks for posting pictures of the Kazuko Ichida book. I'm ordering it today.

Jeannette said...

Sandy, that is too funny about you buying a basket at the flea market - Matthew and I were looking at the baskets too - what great prices.

That's great about them posting your blog - we went on 6/30 so it wasn't there yet. Too Bad.

z's momma said...

After reading your post, I went to Lacis and checked out the beautiful knitted lace. I also admired the beautiful Kazuko Ichida book (albeit way beyond my price range). The last time I was in there was to pick up a small crochet hook for MS3 and did not even notice all the beautiful lace pieces hanging everywhere (I was on a mission).

Anyway, I got the magazine for the KAL and hopefully will be able to attend the group tomorrow. Thanks so much for posting about it.