March 29 2011 – thisisknit

One of the most satisfying aspects of crochet and knitting is the possibility of getting a project exactly the way you want it. Sometimes that's a matter of following a pattern exactly, with the recommended yarn and even the colour from the photograph. Sometimes the published pattern is the jumping off point for something different. We have two beautiful pieces to show you, both built on the same foundation. They're both heirloom pieces, which can be confidently expected to be treasured by generations. They're astounding feats of knitting, and we're proud to be able to show them to you. The starting point for both of them was the Laminaria pattern, free from Knitty. It's a stunning thing in itself, and much easier to knit than it looks (Estonian lace is like that - it looks difficult, but it's delightfully not). What's particularly exciting about these two projects is how they start from the same place and go in different directions. To celebrate the birth of baby A E, KittyKahBoom took this pattern and doubled it to make a square. The result is a stunning christening shawl. She started with a circular cast on, eliminating the stitches for the selvedge and replacing them with centre stitches. The entire shawl was knit in the round, with every alternate round adding increases. This is stocking stitch lace the no-purl way - since it's knit in the round, the rest rows in between the lace row aren't purled. As the fabric gets larger, the lace becomes more and more ornate, until it reaches this: Baby A E is a very lucky baby indeed. Another very lucky person is C, who got married last weekend (our very best wishes to you both, C!). She has a friend, WittyKnitty, who offered to knit her a wedding shawl, with Laminaria as the starting point once again. Here's the end point: Although large portions of this are straightforward Laminaria, another very lovely Estonian lace shawl was also called up for duty. The Echo Flower Shawl contributed the border and the edging (you can find complete details of the modifications here on the shawl's project page). As written, the original Laminaria has neither nupps nor beads, but with the Echo Flower nupps and a champagne-coloured bead nestling beside each one, isn't the result stunning? Here's the section, common to both shawls, where the lace transitions from a simple 3-out-of-3 pattern to the Blossom pattern: These two pieces of work deserve to last for hundreds of years. They're testament to the skills and generosity of two amazing knitters, and they're articles of great beauty. But you know, there's many, many people like this. We know, because we meet them in the shop every day - people who change the direction of a decrease or add a flounce or use a different colourwork pattern, for the best of all reasons: because they prefer it that way. The chances are you're one of them, and we'd like to hear about it. If you post in the comments below before midnight (Irish time) on the night of Sunday April 3rd telling us about something you modified and how, and we'll enter you in a draw for a copy of Knit Edgings and Trims edited by Kate Haxell.


  • This is Knit Blog: September 16, 2020
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    […] entrusted to us a wonderful piece of lace. We’ve blogged KittyKahBoom’s work before: A E’s christening shawl back in March of last year. Her Mulberry shawl is an Aeolian, and it’s […]

  • emma: September 16, 2020
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    I’m always tinkering with patterns but I’ve never taken on modifications of the complexity shown here – absolutely gorgeous!

    The mod I like most, though it was one of the easiest, was modifying a plain baby hat to fit a toddler (by using heavier yarn) and adding a colour pattern to make it match a jumper I had knit. Very simple but it was one of my first mods so I was inordinately proud of it – and it suited the model very well: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Lellknits/mybootee-babee-chullo-baby-earflap-hat

  • This is Knit: September 16, 2020
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    And the winner is… post number 3 (as selected by random.org)

    Congratulations Deirdre and thanks so much to everyone who entered!

  • This is Knit Blog · For a beautiful wedding: September 16, 2020
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    […] March, we had the opportunity to admire a wonderful piece of knitted lace: the wedding lace that wittyknitty had made for her […]

  • Undermeoxter: September 16, 2020
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    I seem incapable to follow any pattern as written and modify just about everything I make! However, two modifications I’m most pouf of are:
    a) adding a garter stitch band to the bottom of Teca Durham’s “Yoke Vest” to lengthen it & finish off the bottom in a more flattering way. I blogged about how I did it by adapted Elizabeth Zimmermann’s method for edging the Pi shawl http://undermeoxter.wordpress.com/2008/05/20/ez-as-pi/

    b) having knit Debbie Bliss’s “Glenvar” pattern as written and making the most ill-fitting Cardigan ever: http://undermeoxter.wordpress.com/2007/12/04/the-behemoth/
    I re-knit the Cardigan using Barbara Walker’s method for top-down with simultaneously set-in sleeves after a class I attended in This Is Knit. http://undermeoxter.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/sado-maso-knit-stick/
    You can see the successful out-come here: http://undermeoxter.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/it-is-accomplished/

  • Undermeoxter: September 16, 2020
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    And by “pouf” I mean “proud”!!!!(???)!!!

  • Alifeofherown: September 16, 2020
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    Wow after reading this mods what I did pales into insignificance! I’ve just finished my first adult garment. I knit Iced by Carol Feller. It’s a Cardigan/ jacket that’s knit in a bulky cotton but I wanted to knit it in thinner wool. It felt like a great adventure to be knitting swatches and working out the maths and it was great to see it work out well. I’m in awe of all the designers out there who design for multiple sizes! I just don’t know how you do it!

  • Siobhan: September 16, 2020
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    Any modifications I have made are nothing compared to these. Recently I modified the Pansy hat to knit it in the round rather than flat, as despite completing the finishing class at TIK I still prefer not to seam! It was a fun knit and practically instant gratification after cast off!

  • una: September 16, 2020
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    One of my favourite heavily modded projects is a jumper based on Teva Durham’s Yoke Vest: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/una/yoke-vest

    I loved the simplicity of her design, and the concept of using the fashioning elements of paired increases and decreases as defining decorative details. However, the collar and the lack of sleeves wouldn’t really work for what I wanted. So, with a yarn sub and a little maths, off I went.

    Length: A chunky jumper should not show my belly. I added a 4 row seed stitch border, and about 6-8 rows before the waist decreases. I also did a few additional rows between the increase for the bust and the decreases in the yoke to compensate for the loss of ease of movement when the sleeves were added.

    Sleeves: The biggest modification. Long, very fitted sleeves, knitted from the cuff up, mirroring the paired increases of the waist shaping on the inner forearm. I cast on what seemed a stupidly small number of stitches, but I trusted the maths and they turned out perfectly.

    Neckline: Instead of a split V with a collar, I wanted a high round neckline. I changed the shaping and added a seed stitch border that buttons on one side.

    Modifying the pattern heavily meant that I ended up with a garment that combined the instantly appealing aesthetic of Durham’s design with my own requirements of a jumper. It’s a flattering, comfortable fit and immediately became a staple of my winter wardrobe. One of the joys of knitting is that with the help of swatching, sums, and a little imagination, we can have the garments that exist in our minds, but not in the shops.

  • eimearee: September 16, 2020
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    Fabulous knits; I am quite the green eyed monster!

    My own modifications; for the King of Confidence pattern I realised after swatching that my handspun yarn was a bit too colourful for the textured stitch pattern in the yoke with YOs & other fancy things; I also had to make adjustments for 2 handspun yarns instead of the recommended 3, & a couple of little changes for a better fit.

    Original here http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/king-of-confidence
    Mine here; http://playingwithfibre.blogspot.com/2010/04/handspun-yoke-cardigan.html

    And now I’m hatching plans to do another version in finer yarn with some LHogan hand dyed fibre… eventually.

  • Deirdre: September 16, 2020
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    The first was a fairly minor mod: Betty’s Tee I did it in several colours and then filled in the v on the neck.
    Second one also fairly minor: Siesta Tee split the bottom so it would fit over my hips, added longer sleeves and an edging on the sleeve
    the last one I’m going to link to is Rogue I took the cable from the hood, inverted it and made it into the edging on the cardigan (I should have added in a few stitches as well), and I also eliminated the hood and made it into a collared neckline (Should have kept going for a few more stitches on that too. Still even if it needs a little more work (the hemming has gone a little funny due to irons and the content in the yarn and needs work) I am very proud that I managed to do those cables on the fly from the right way up pattern!

  • Jillonne: September 16, 2020
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    I made a scarf and it didn’t have a hat or mittens to go with…..so I took the pattern in the scarf and made a hat to match the scarf. My future daugher in law loved them….I knitted them for her birthday gift. Was so much fun for me. Never tried to change a pattern or use it in a new way love to knit!

  • Fiona: September 16, 2020
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    Ok, my mod is not in the same league AT ALL, I’m completely humbled by these feats of knitting, but I made a hat for my Mum as a birthday present recently.

    I used the Rosa Hat (http://www.soulemama.com/soulemama/2011/01/the-rosa.html) as a starting point, and modified it to a beanie shape instead of a slouch since that’s what she would prefer.

    I also made it work for dk weight since she’d prefer a thinner hat and that’s what I had in my stash. Read the full mods here:

    Thanks for the giveaway, the book looks great :)

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