About a week before leaving home for my holiday in Australia, I decided that I needed something lacey to wear. It had to be something contemporary that I could do quickly and take with me to finish off. After some thought I decided to do a scarf in a thick thread, with not too many bobbins and easy to do. I looked at all the scarf patterns that I have and nothing seemed to fit the bill so, as I have been doing a lot of chaotic ground recently and it grows quickly, it seemed to be the thing to do. Now for the thread. None of my lace threads seemed to be thick enough and I did not have time to go and buy something new, so I scratched all through my oddments of knitting wools and found some black double-knitting and some Twilleys Gold Dust in black and silver and purple and I rushed out and bought some “eyelash” thread for texture. After a couple of experiments I made a pricking of 20 pins across the top, spaced 1cm apart and pinholes down each side, spaced 2cm apart. No pins in the centre are required. 24 pairs of bobbins were needed in a random mixture of those threads, to allow for 1 pair on each pin and 2 pairs in cloth stitch (CTC) across the top and down each side.
I used my large Flemish Pillow with 30cm wide blocks and once I got going I could do 15cms in one hour. This is real mile-a-minute lace. I had not done much when I packed it into my suitcase, so I just took the lace and bobbins on 2 half-blocks 15cm by 30cm. Once settled into my son’s house I had to find something to support the bobbins while I worked. In the end I used the lid off my granddaughter’s toy box and a rolled up towel surrounding the blocks. It worked very well.
As the knitting wool was a bit stretchy I diluted some Moravia Starch with 10 parts water and sprayed it on each 15cm section as I made it. It still shrunk a little but the chaotic ground holds it’s shape OK.
Chaotic ground is worked – double stitch (CTCT), half-stitch CT, repeated across the first row. then half-stitch (CT), double stitch(CTCT) across the second row, making sure that a half-stitch is below a double stitch and a double stitch is below a half stitch all the time. If you have not done it before it can be a bit disconcerting as it takes 3 or 4 rows before the ground starts to take shape and it can slide around a lot. I did not put any pins in the middle as I wanted it to be a bit irregular. If you want it to be more regular, work the double stitch as half-stitch, pin, half-stitch. Of course, then you need to work on a 45 degree ground of pin-holes. I started with 4m on each bobbin and the eyelash thread ran out when the lace was 1.6m long so that is the length of the scarf. The eyelash thread is not easy to pull up and tension, but at least it is now finished and ready to wear at the Love Lace exhibition at the Powerhouse museum in Sydney at the end of the month.