Dirty Ice by Stella Lange

Dirty Ice

September 2019
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
25 stitches and 34 rows = 4 inches
in Stocking stitch
US 6 - 4.0 mm
US 4 - 3.5 mm
420 yards (384 m)
One size (needle size or adding a repeat could be used to upsize)
Flag of English English
This pattern is available as a free Ravelry download

Release Date 9th September 2019
Link to video showing how to work 3round lace in lower section of the cowl.
Dirty Ice is the result of an Art and Science collaboration. In 2019 the seventh Art and Science series exhibition theme was Water: Mountains to the Sea. I collaborated with Asst Prof Craig Marshall, a Biochemist at the University Of Otago, New Zealand, and designed a warm Lace Cowl inspired by the way contaminants in water affect the ice crystal formation.
Exhbition Catalogue

Craig’s interest in and description of the patterns and disruptions formed in ice crystals when contaminants are present intrigued me. That amazing crystal photo is his. When ice crystals form the structure is regular with a repeating element. The idea that a slight change in the water – a contaminant or chemical can result in a deformation or disruption to the ice crystal structure intrigues me and I wanted to explore how mimicking that disruption in a regular established knitted lace pattern could be interpreted in a garment designed for frosty conditions.

This design is a pattern for a lace cowl, designed to be worn outdoors where there is ice and the conditions that cause freezing. The lace pattern references the triangular nodes of ice crystal formation, and at points around the cowl – a disruption to the established lace pattern is introduced. The lace shifts in both scale and frequency at the point of disruption, changing and evolving into a new and different yet regular repeating pattern.

I am drawn to pattern, and repeating patterns. I work with slow design, collaborative design, knitwear design for hand-knitters. The goal was a pattern with a unique charted coded to create a disrupted lace outer layer over a softer contrast inner layer. Conventions of charting the pattern are used so knitters can create a work themselves. Hand-knit pattern design is a particularly collaborative participatory system, the design is only finished when it is initiated by a knitter. Each knitter adds in their own variations, through their individual selections of yarn and colour.

This pattern assumes you can provisionally cast on, read a lace chart, knit in the round, graft live stitches together - and read your knitting.

Link to demonstration video - working the larger lace in the lower section of the cowl.

Dirty Ice is a two-layer lace cowl, that fits close to the neck, this version is knit in fingering weight yarn, superwash merino outer with an Alpaca Silk contrast lining. In total half a skein of 100g fingering yarn is needed for each layer - two skeins will make two cowls - perfect for a collaborative project.

9 Sept 2019 - This design has not yet been test knit - I welcome feedback the knitting community and will update the pattern with erratum as required.

UPDATE 24 Sept 2019 - uploaded a newer file with an improved chart, fixed a few tiny errors.