Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lace knitting

Can we talk about lace for a minute?

This year I finally broke through my compulsion as a monogamous knitter when I found myself with a few projects going at once. Of course, after finishing these projects I immediately returned to one project and apologized to it.

But I am a hypocrite and it's time to confess a secret. Are you sitting down? I have had a lace scarf project on needles for over a year. I hardly ever think about it, much less touch it.

I really like the look of knitted lace and feel a bit of envy when I see gigantic shawls floating on tree branches in other people's knitting blogs. I decided to try lace knitting with a simple scarf, which should be easy and fast, right?

"Marnie's Scarf" is a lovely pattern I found and it suits me because I wanted to jump into lace but didn't want anything too flowery. I'm knitting it in Alpaca Cloud from Knitpicks. It's lace weight baby alpaca, in the color "Iris Heather." I wound it into a center pull ball while watching TV. I held the yarn around my feet as I wound it around a giant marker.

1. It looks like dog business. I know it will look better when finished and blocked. I have to believe this.

2. I printed out an old copy of the pattern and it's on two sheets and following the lace repeats is fussy and impossible to memorize.

3. Size four needles. If it was on size five, I could use my beloved Denise interchangeable needles but alas, the only size fours I have are vintage metal straights. While I am confessing secrets, I'll say this: I hate them. My nickel allergy means my hands get rashy on hot after using metal needles for any prolonged length of time. I know, poor me.

Obviously there are a few things I can do to enjoy this more. I can get some nice size four needles and print out a new copy of the pattern all on one page. Other than that, I am lost. How are you all loving lace knitting? I want to catch the bug!


EliMarie said...

I have to admit, I love it mostly after the finished product comes off and is blocked, because then when you wear it people can't believe you made it... it seems so ephemeral and delicate. I got into it more easily once I really got the hang of reading the charts. You might try converting your line by line instructions into chart form, which makes it easier to read at a glace and possibly less fiddly!

AmysBabies said...

I agree, charts are the way to go. It is easier to match up the chart and your work to double check it.

Knitpicks Harmony needles are beautiful and inexpensive. I have a few sizes of them and they are so much fun to work with.

Anonymous said...

My two cents, charts make it easier for me to see where I am going. I've even charted out a piece before knitting so I understand where I am going. Also try something simple such as this http://www.divaknitting.com/patterns/becciescarf.pdf

Anonymous said...

I didn't see this post before commenting on Ravelry, because I didn't get my invite there till yesterday. If it helps any, I have to follow the instructions when I make that scarf to make sure I don't mess up the diamonds' center crossover section--and that's my pattern!

I find that when I'm using baby alpaca laceweight, the wiry and slightly hairy character of the yarn means that it goes well with needles about two sizes larger than I would use with a comparable merino. Anyway. As I mentioned over there, rinsing a lace project in tepid water, gently, still on the needles (keeping the tips dry) and laying it out overnight makes the pattern pop out and makes it a lot easier to keep working on the thing.