There are some truly gorgeous vintage lace patterns out there! One of my favorites is the Victorian Lace Blouse, by Michele Rose Orne. Talk about romantic! In keeping with the upcoming holiday, the front of the blouse actually forms a heart shape, Valentine style!
There are so many wonderful sources of vintage lace patterns, from Sarah Dallas’ Vintage Knits:
To Jane Waller and Susan Crawford’s A Stitch in Time:
Such a Debonair Little Jumper
I am drawn to these patterns, like a moth to a flame, but there are two things that hold me back from committing to them.
The first drawback is the complexity of the pattern—look at the Victorian Lace Blouse, for example. Three different lace patterns, grafted together—wow! It does give the perfect Victorian look of the flowery, complex patterns, but what a challenge! If what resulted was a sweater I could wear on a weekly basis, I might go for it. But, let’s face it, even us Vintage fanatics have to admit that there is a time and a place for our retro clothing. This is my second obstacle to doing more lace knitting. For me, the opportunities to wear vintage-inspired lace are limited to gatherings with Jane Austen fans, fellow romance writers, and teas with my wacky girlfriends! And how many lace sweaters do I really need to make for these festivities? My knitting closet sports 11 lace and/or retro-inspired tops already!
In approaching my current lace project for the Sexy Knitter’s Club Knit Along, my goal was to create a garment that had as many uses as possible, as lace knitting is a considerable investment of time and sanity.
By converting this white summer top to black lace, I am able to bump this up from “woman only wear” to also date night with my husband. In addition, by raising the neckline and changing it to a crew-neck style, I may be able to use this as a work garment if I wear a dark top underneath to disguise its sheerness and a blazer buttoned in front on top. Voilà—the sexy night time blouse is converted into a practical work shell with an interesting texture shimmering through the V-front blazer. I’m determined to get as much out of this lace as possible!
One of the particularly clever aspects of this Vogue pattern is the way that the designer confines the complexity of the lace pattern to the neckline, where it achieves maximum effect. The body of the top is actually knit in a simple, one row, six-stitch repeat lace pattern that I could knit with my eyes closed! Talk about minimizing your knitting effort! True, this kind of regular pattern with holes can be a bit boring, but I have encountered a fool-proof way to convert a simple lace pattern like this from drab to sensational. By knitting this DK-weight pattern in an extremely fine, laceweight yarn, the resulting lace has the ethereal, cobwebby quality of an antique piece.
I am totally enamoured with the effect produced by this 2-ply lana oro yarn, knitted on size 6 needles. Scarlett in Gone with the Wind would have had no need to convert her drapes into dresses if she had had this knitting trick up her sleeve! Even better, the simple lace pattern, in 6 stitch repeats, is perfectly suited for the massive waist shaping that I need to superimpose on all my tops to avoid eclipsing my short-waist! Every time I reduced 3 stitches at a time, half of the lace pattern, which by coincidence, worked in two blocks of threes. That way, I could reduce and add in a reasonable number of sets of 3s—still not as many as I wanted, but enough to get reasonable shaping without a noticeable disruption of the pattern.
If only all we lace knitters could get together in one place to show off our creations! Now that would be a festive celebration I’d give anything to attend!!!