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Winter and lace

Ahh, winter. While I am big fan of you (at least right now, given that this is my first “real” winter), I am not a fan of your insistence that the sun should go away at 4:30 PM. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not entirely pro-sun. It has it’s purposes, but so does the night and the moon. However, the limited amount of time in which to photograph anything (knitting projects, packages of fiber, tutorials, etc.) is really starting to irk. I can only take photographs on the weekends, when I’m not running errands or cleaning, or during my lunch breaks at work. The second option is not favorable, as I like to take my time and get things set up and have a “homey” feel, which is difficult to do in an office workspace or a busy downtown street.

All of this is to say that I still don’t have a tutorial ready, I still don’t have photos of the shawl I’m working on, and I still don’t have photos of the lovely fiber I received as part of the I Love the 80s yarn and fiber club. Or the yarn that I was spinning over the weekend. Because I was running errands and then I got a much-needed cleaning bug and by the time I realized that I hadn’t taken any photos, it was 4:45 and practically dark. This is just a bit ridiculous.

Excuses out of the way, let’s talk about lace and lace knitting. It doesn’t seem to make much sense to be talking about lace–open, airy, lightweight and fluttering–in the same post as winter, but consider this. My Ishbel, knit in a wool-silk blend of fingering weight yarn, with it’s lace repeat towards the edges, has become one of my go-to scarves for the season. Lace knitting, at least in scarves and shawls and shawlettes, is actually great for winter, because of all of the attributes I listed earlier (okay, maybe fluttering isn’t quite so beneficial to anything). A thin shawl, knit in laceweight yarn with an open, airy repeat, can be folded or scrunched up and wrapped around the neck without adding a ton of bulk and making it difficult to turn your head and look around. I’m not the only one with lace on the brain right now, as brainylady recently posted a blog all about small shawls, which are perfect introductory pieces for lace knitting.

Now, lace knitting can seem rather daunting, but many patterns are actually fairly simple. If you can knit, purl, yarn over, and knit stitches together, you can knit lace. For example, I’m currently working on Eunny Jang’s Print o’ the Wave stole. This piece looks complicated and in some ways it is, but in other ways it isn’t.

KnowmeO’s Print o’ the Wave on Ravelry

A simple 12-row repeat made up of everything I mentioned before–knits, yarn overs, and knitting stitches together on the right side, purling back on the wrong side. The potentially daunting parts are the cast-on (provisional) and edging.

Tillora’s version on Ravelry

The provisional cast-on allows you to have mirrored repeats, each heading out towards the ends of the shawl. Knit one section, knit the other section, and graft together the live stitches from the cast on. You could, of course, just skip that and have all the repeats going in one direction. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. The edgings are knit onto the body of the shawl, rather than worked as you go, but again, that’s nothing to be afraid of. The charts are easy to read and Eunny’s directions are simple and clear.

Part of the fun of knitting lace is using laceweight yarn (if that’s the route you go, obviously). I’m knitting my stole in Tri’Coterie’s Merino-Tencel laceweight.

IMG_5426

This is the perfect kind of yarn for lace knitting. It’s light and airy, has a subtle sheen (thanks to the tencel) and is incredibly soft (thanks to the merino). The color is deeply saturated throughout the yarn and works into a nice patterning within the stole itself (I’d show you pictures, but see rant above). This project takes about 800 yds of laceweight, and this laceweight skein clocks in around 880 yds, so I’ll have just a little bit left over to use for an edging on something else, rather than a whole bunch left over that’s not quite enough for a whole project.

I promise I’ll have pictures of my own Print o’ the Wave soon, but in the meantime, what lace patterns have caught your eye?

Categories: Knitting Patterns Thought Process

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Amy

4 replies

  1. Yes, small shawls do seem to be all the rage right now, don’t they? I wore my Lacy Baktus to Thanksgiving last night and got many complements, and I can’t wait ’til my Multnomah is finished! I’ve been eying the Traveling Woman, too, though I’m hoping to get my Squib yarn soon and start on another Clap. I can’t wait to see your Print o’ the Wave, and how you wear it. That’s my trouble so far, is that I’m not very adept at actually wearing the small shawls I am making…

    1. My Ishbel always gets some sort of reaction, though that might be mostly due to Jen’s gorgeous yarn. 🙂 They’re a nice alternative to the traditional scarf, and they’re not quite “matronly” as most shawls sort of seem to be.

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