This is a reconstruction of a knitted lace centerpiece originally knitted by Annie Marie Doenicke Knoll, possibly in the 1950's, maybe earlier.
The cloth has a central portion in a fairly plain stockinette with the increases taking the form of a spiralling pattern of yo's. The main part of the cloth is a version of a lace stitch similar to the Shetland pattern called "Feather and Fan" or "Old Shale." The shaping is done in a single round, with three rounds of plain knitting between the shaping rounds.
The original cloth in its unblocked state is 33 inches from point to point; it would be somewhat bigger if blocked. It has 24 repeats around the circle, that is, 24 "feathers" radiating outward from the center. It is knitted in fine thread, apparently cotton. My best guess is that it is #50 or #60 thread. It lies completely flat and smooth without blocking, and drapes very softly over one's hand.
The original cloth was worked to a size of nine sets of three increase rounds (you'll see what I mean by that), but since the increase rounds follow a very regular pattern, it would be easy to continue far beyond the amount that Oma did. It would also be possible to make a smaller cloth simply by stopping earlier.
Set of double pointed needles size 1 (US) (= 2.25 or 2.5 mm)
One or more circular needles size 1
Very fine crochet hook
Cast on 6 sts. This can be done by forming a small circle from a double loop of the thread, then crocheting the stitches over this circle, placing the stitches onto the needles as they are made. Pull the double loop snug as you begin to cover it with stitches.
Rnd 1. Arrange stitches, two each on 3 needles, as you go. Cut off the tail.
Rnds 2-4. k plain.
Rnd 5. *k1, yo* 6 times. (you now have 12 sts)
Rnds 6-8. k plain.
Rnd 9. *k1, yo* 12 times. (24 sts: whew! The hard part is over!)
Rnds 10-12. k plain.
Rnd 13. *K1, yo* 24 times. (48 sts) You now have the 24 repeats that will form the entire cloth. If you haven't already done so, mark the beginning of the round with a safety pin or other marker.
Rnds 14-16. k plain.
Rnd 17. k1, *yo, k2*, 23 times, ending yo, k1. (72 sts)
Rnds 18-20. k plain.
Rnd 21. k1, *yo, k3* around. (96 sts)
Rnds 22-24. k plain.
Rnd 25. k1, *yo, k4* around. (120 sts)
Rnds 26-28. k plain.
Rnd 29. k1, *yo, k5* around. (144 sts)
Rnds 30-32. k plain.
Rnd 33. *k1, yo, k1, SSK, OO, k2tog* around. (168 sts)
Rnd 34. *k4, (k1, p1) into the OO* around.
Rnds 35-36. k plain.
Rnd 37. k1, *yo, k7* around. (192 sts)
Rnds 38-40. k plain.
Rnd 41. *k1, yo, k2, SSK, OO, k2tog, k1* around. (216 sts)
Rnd 42. *k5, (k1, p1) into the OO, k2* around.
Rnds 43-44. k plain.
Critically important: Now knit one stitch from the first needle onto the last needle (and move the marker if necessary) so that the new first stitch of the round (and each repeat) is the one that rises directly above the yo of round 41. This will cause each feather to be centered properly in the outer portion of the cloth.
Note: Instead of making a knitted central portion, it would be possible to cast on 216 stitches and knit only the outer portion. This could be stitched to a center made of a finely-woven (say, handkerchief weight) linen or cotton cloth.
I will give these instructions only as a chart; see the comments for the written-out version.
I have charted only the pattern rounds. There are three rounds of plain knitting between the pattern rounds. I have grouped the pattern rounds in three's. In each group the only difference is that the second and third rounds add one knit stitch to accommodate the additional stitch created in the previous pattern round.
Notice that each repeat begins with a knit and a yo, and ends with a yo; this forms the pair of holes that runs up the center of each feather. Place a ring marker on the needle at the beginning of every repeat, and be careful that the marker doesn't slide under the thread of the yo's and throw your count off. Make sure that the central knit stitch is always immediately to the left of the marker.
| = knit / = knit 2 together (k2tog) O = yarn over (yo) 3 1 3 1 3 4 5 4 3 1 3 1 3 1 <--crochet stitches together in / \|/ \|/ \ / \/ \/ \ / \|/ \|/ \| groups like this, with 8 chain sts between groups. ||||||||||| ||||||||||||| |||||||||||| <--last all-knit round 9c O|O|O|O|O|O |///////////| O|O|O|O|O|O| 9b O|O|O|O|O|O ///////////| O|O|O|O|O|O| 9a O|O|O|O|O|O /////////// O|O|O|O|O|O| 8c O|O|O|O|O |//////////| O|O|O|O|O|O| 8b O|O|O|O|O //////////| O|O|O|O|O|O| 8a O|O|O|O|O ////////// O|O|O|O|O|O| 7c O|O|O|O|O |/////////| O|O|O|O|O| 7b O|O|O|O|O /////////| O|O|O|O|O| 7a O|O|O|O|O ///////// O|O|O|O|O| 6c O|O|O|O |////////| O|O|O|O|O| 6b O|O|O|O ////////| O|O|O|O|O| 6a O|O|O|O //////// O|O|O|O|O| 5c O|O|O|O |///////| O|O|O|O| 5b O|O|O|O ///////| O|O|O|O| 5a O|O|O|O /////// O|O|O|O| 4c O|O|O |//////| O|O|O|O| 4b O|O|O //////| O|O|O|O| 4a O|O|O ////// O|O|O|O| 3c O|O|O |/////| O|O|O| 3b O|O|O /////| O|O|O| 3a O|O|O ///// O|O|O| 2c O|O |////| O|O|O| 2b O|O ////| O|O|O| 2a O|O //// O|O|O| 1c O|O |///| O|O| 1b O|O ///| O|O| 1a O|O /// O|O| ring marker goes here ----> XThis could be continued as long as you like, adding a yo to the left side of each feather, then one to the right, with each cycle, and adding one decrease each cycle. The original cloth actually ended somewhere in the middle of a tenth cycle.
Wash the cloth in mild detergent, allowing it to soak thoroughly and relax. Pull gently and tug in all directions to ease the stitches into their new shape. Having done this, it may simply be spread out neatly on a towel to dry, patting the chain edging out the way you like it.
Copyright notice: This is an original design, which I reconstructed from an old lace piece. All rights to this eloquent description belong to Judy Gibson, Email to jgibson (at) cts (dot) com
Email to jgibson (at) cts (dot) com
P.O. Box 117, Descanso, California 91916. You have my permission to print a copy for your personal use, but not to publish the pattern or to place it on any internet site.