Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Trials and Tribulations of Lace

So, for the umpteenth time, I've decided I want/must try again to conquer knitting lace. I know this makes me
a) crazy
b) a glutton for punishment
c) masochistic
d) all of the above

Certainly I can knit pretty much anything else, Fair Isle (easier since I learned to knit with two hands), intricate cables (heck I even did mitered corners in cabling with Elsbeth "I can only write patterns that I can understand" Lavold); Intarsia (love those bobbins), Socks (I'll never forget turning my first heel); I can even crochet Granny Squares. But since the beginning of my knitting career (now entering its 4th year!), lace knitting has eluded me. I've bought countless books of gorgeous, enviable patterns for shawls, scarfs and the like. It doesn't matter how many times I try, I just DO NOT GET IT.

So I read many patterns and looked through lots of those books again and settled on the "Birds Nest" Lace knitted shawl from Folk Shawls. With Lisa's expert guidance, I pick a delicious color of new Rowan 4 ply Cashsoft. I picked a receipient, Grandma, for Christmas. And I set off to swatch; here is the result thus far:

Another view:
I made two mistakes in the 2nd and 3rd repeat of the pattern and I'm pretty sure where I did it. All in all, I'm pretty happy with the result of the swatch and I really do LOVE LOVE LOVE the yarn. I think it will block out nicely as well. I've decided to employ the method I use with cables; writing out on note cards attached with a ring and flipping when I finish the row. I just cannot read charts. It is a lost cause. I am a reader of words, not symbols on graph paper.

The other problem, and this is the big one, I'm not sure how to recognize my mistakes (often until it is too late) and then fixing them (i.e. unknitting a row of yarn over and SSK) is an utter disaster. So, any advice on this?

Knitty Delicious


Wendy said...

I have no advice, I'm stinky at lace!

I emailed Robin, though, that I would probably be available for park knitting, and I gave her my cell. So you guys should call when you've found a bench, and I'll head on over!

And, yes, I'll provide an HTML consult!


cathy m said...

So I'm a glutton for punishment also-I love/hate lace!
Anyway-here's my comment on finding and fixing mistakes as early as possible: there are ususally repeats every so many stiches,so I put a marker between the repeats--that way, it's easier to find when your off (eg too many or too few stiches between particular markers). Merril (I think)knits in waste yarn every so many rows, so if she has to pull out, she can find the stiches and place more easily--somehow that seems like too much work to me. other tricks-put it down if you make a mistake on two rows in a row (it won't get better until a new day!) and respect when you are sick to death of the pattern (shawls are really big and lace shawls take a really long time!)
I have a feeling you will be inevitably hooked.....