Perhaps some of you have noticed that many of my pattern names are a little unusual. For those who aren’t ballet dancers, some of the words may be unfamiliar. Here is a short background describing the inspiration behind the lace.
Until my daughter became very active in ballet, I rarely knitted, and only the most basic of patterns. But as she became entrenched in the dancer’s life, I realized that she needed better and more instruction. So, we left the neighborhood studios behind, and with that, came long drives and hours of waiting while she studied ballet. What to do? Knit, of course! The hours of waiting for her to learn turned into hours of my own learning, in particular about lace.
About a year ago, I began coming up with my own patterns. These were inspired by the beautiful dances that my daughter learned, and also some that we had seen or read about. The first was Petit Allegro, or small jumps. The ponchette I had knitted had a pattern that seemed to evoke thoughts of the step it was named for.
The three doilies, Rondeau, Polonaise, and Quadrille, are all named for character dances. Character dances are frequently done during classical ballets, and originated from particular regions. It is no coincidence that during the year that my daughter studied character dance twice weekly, these dances crept into my knitting! Rondeau is a traditional French folk dance, while the Polonaise is Polish. The Quadrille was the precursor to square dancing, and this particular doily is also square.
One dance themed pattern is sort of a little joke (very little I guess!). That is Penché, a Wine Bottle Cozy. Penché means to lean (as if you’ve had too much wine). In ballet, the dancer leans forward, often in an arabesque, bringing her working leg up even higher, possibly in a split. Balance is the key, so actually if you’ve had too much wine, there would be no way that you could do a good penché.
My latest dance inspired doily, Promenade, is named for a beautiful dance step where the dancer slowly rotates in a position such as an arabesque or attitude. The spiral form that the dancer makes is reflected in the spiral of this pattern. Promenade is also unique in that it is knitted from the outside inwards, and also includes an even easier version which is for a dishcloth. Best of all, Promenade is free!