Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Knitting Lace -- Part 1

Knitted lace is so beautiful, that I was drawn to it immediately. 

I saw it and thought, I want to learn how to do that! 

(We need to pay attention to those feelings, right?)

And the prettier and finer the yarn, the better, to me.  I love Rowan Kidsilk Haze, for example.  It makes such delicate lace.  And of course, I love that mohair fuzziness!  J

But you don’t have use that yarn.  You can start anywhere.  You can try some sock yarn from your stash, some inexpensive lace yarn from Hobby Lobby, or buy some fancy gorgeous yarn from your LYS (local yarn store).

Or…. just use some leftover worsted weight yarn, like Red Heart, for starters.

In fact, with any new pattern it would be a good idea to do a test run with bigger needles (say, US8) and worsted weight yarn.  That way you can try everything out under the easiest possible conditions and get familiar with how it goes.

(See how I avoided using the word “swatch”?? 
Aren’t you impressed??  J  J  J)

The beauty of lace is what’s not there...  The holes. 

And beautiful but simple lace can be made with only knits, purls and 2 other stitches:  the K2tog (knit two together) -- a simple decrease, and the YO (yarn over) -- a simple increase.

The increases make the holes, and the decreases keep your stitch count the same on each row.  And the combination of the two can create really beautiful patterns.

Here is a simple lace pattern that would be good for beginners.

In 2007, I went to my favorite yarn store in Austin, Texas:  Hill Country Weavers.  And they gave me a free handout called Scarf-a-licious, which had 10 different scarf patterns on it. 
I just love yarn stores that are so generous!   ♥!

Lazy O Scarf

Cast on ______ stitches.  (multiple of 5)

Row  1.  Slip 1, *K3, YO, K2tog*
Repeat sts between the stars until 4 sts remain on your needle, and then K4.

Row 2.  Slip 1, *P4, K1*
Repeat sts between the stars until 4 sts remain on needle, and then P4.

Repeat these 2 rows until desired length is reached.
Bind off.

Knitting lace does require some counting.  So to simplify that, you put stitch markers in to break it up.  For example, if I have 18 stitches to count, instead of counting from 1 to 18, I put a stitch marker between the two sets of 9 stitches. 

And then to count each section, I don’t even count from 1 up to 9.  I just count the 3 sets of 3 stitches visually.  (Usually, I tick it off with my thumbnail.)  Those stitch markers make the whole process a lot easier.

Now at first, you may have to knit lace at home alone to prevent mistakes.  That’s normal.  At first, I even chanted my pattern row out loud, if I needed to!  J

And after you finish a row, you always count your total number of stitches to make sure you didn’t make any mistakes.

I’ve always said that knitting lace is easy, unless you find a mistake!  hahaha

So, I hope that helps.  Sometimes writing about things is harder than doing them!  Like, can you imagine writing instructions on how to tie your shoes???  <yikes>

I guess this is why I think knitting is best learned from a real person sitting beside you.  But hey, thank heavens for YouTube tutorials, right?  J  Surely they’re the next best thing!  J

ANYway, all that counting may drive you nuts (everyone’s different!), but it doesn’t bother me at all.  I like knowing I’m on track.  And best of all, this pattern yields a rectangular scarf.  And you know how I love my rectangles!  Hahaha

One other thing about knitting lace:  it’s very economical.  Laceweight yarn is very thin, so you get a lot of yards per skein, and it goes very far.

Also, knitting lace takes awhile.  So 1 or 2 skeins can keep you happy for many weeks.  (Or months or years, if you’re as slow as I am!)  J

So!  Enjoy the beauty of what’s not there with lace!

Lucky Dog  ♥

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