Results tagged “Lace” from Fabric.com Blog
Spring is here but sometimes not. Here in Georgia, we are bouncing from warm weather to cool to downright chilly and back again. Some days spring weather is in your face and others have you wondering if you read the calendar wrong. You must be prepared for days like these. It is a blessing that layering is in fashion and scarves are at the top of the list. The Swing Scarf is perfect for confusing spring days. Knit from Tahki Ripple in 100% Mercerized Cotton (a fiber treatment to increase the luster of the finished fiber), it is silky, shiny and soft. The hand is akin to well washed linen more than cotton. The pattern is made up of stockinette and lace mesh panels with a few purl rows thrown in for fun. The Swing Scarf is also knit on the bias to keep it interesting to knit and draws the eye when wearing. The ripples in the yarn also make this scarf more than ordinary. The stitch patterns are simple but the ripples create an illusion of more intricate patterns.
The Swing Scarf is a small scarf at just 3 ft. long but the length is just right for spring layers where you don't want to be too burdened or insulated. You can wrap it around your neck and allow the ends to cascade down your shoulders, you can tie it, knot it and tuck the ends into your jacket, or it also makes a fabulous sash for tunics. The Spring Scarf can also be called into duty as a poolside tie back for your hair. This Spring Scarf is knit in Tahki Ripple Taupe but I also recommend the Yellow, Rose and Teal for other spring versions of this scarf. While best worked in a cotton or linen for warm weather, the Swing Scarf will also look amazing in mohair, silk or alpaca for cool weather as well. Oh and this is a quick, fun knit!
Download your copy of the Free Swing Scarf Pattern here
Knitting Lace is a wonderful experience and the finished product is even more rewarding. Lace has been a prized commodity for centuries and as a hand craft its lessons have been passed down for just as long. Knitting lace is not difficult only challenging. You need to have a few tricks up your sleeve to successfully knit Lace (by successfully, I also mean with low frustration). Here are 5 of my Lace Secrets:
1) Lace Cast On. For a gorgeous lace shawl or scarf you need a beautiful cast on, the lace cast on is easy but adds that certain detail to give your lace something special. Bonus: you do not need a long tail for this cast on. The lace cast on adds decorative loops in the form of yarn overs to blend in beautifully with the yarn overs of your lace. This is a seamless cast on. Caution: you will always cast on an odd number of stitches
2) Lifelines. We have discussed it before but lifelines are so important I would be remiss if I wrote a lace article without emphasizing the importance of lifelines again. Please use them. They will save much heartache especially when knitting with difficult yarns like Mohair, Angora and Cashmere (the fluffy yarns are trying to rip back). It is good piece of mind to always have a safe place to rip back to where you KNOW your stitch count is correct. In addition, for those of us who like to check items off their To Do lists, you get a warm, similar feeling each time you move up your lifeline. Another section well done!
3) Consider lace knitting as "Me Time". You need to concentrate so no TV, movies, kids playing, knitting in public (maybe later but not to start) or with friends. There are plenty of projects that you can knit while distracted, lace is not one of them. Think of it as a good excuse to pour a glass of wine, sit on your porch and get inside your mind. You deserve it and your lace does too. I don't knit lace often now because of my daughter but when I do, I revel in it because for an hour or 2 that is all I am doing and it feels so good.
Invest in Lace. Lace is a fine art so treat it
as such. Buy yourself (or
make) a great knitting bag to keep all your tools organized or easy to
hand. Your bag will protect your lace, make it easy for you to knit and keep it
Spend time on picking your yarn. Consider the fiber, color and feel of your yarn. Knit a swatch. Don't just go with your budget. Consider that you will be spending significant time with this yarn while knitting and after. You want to love it always. Knitting lace is a luxury with the time you spend and the yarn you use.
5) The Devil is in not thinking of the details. You've already bought the yarn and committed the time, so think about the details. As your start your project, pack up all your tools and books you may need to complete your lace. Get your bag organized and wind up your yarn. Get everything in order before you start. If you set aside the time, get organized and use the right tools, lace knitting will be awesome. I remember my first time with lace. I just sat down and had nothing planned. I was jumping up every 5 min to grab something, would soon lose it in my lap and was frustrated so much I may have drop kicked my needles a few times. Now, I am committed to the planning and I love knitting lace!
Part of the challenge and fun of knitting is that it is made of some many components. True, there are just 2 stitches: knit and purl. It is the fact that these 2 stitches can be combined into so many different patterns and that these patterns can then be combined with others and then constructed into so many different combos that makes the possibilities endless. You will never stop learning with knitting and I love that! One of my favorite techniques in knitting is the knit-on edge. The knit-on edge allows you to add another layer to any project regardless of stitch count. You can add a fancy lace border to any scarf or shawl, for instance, without having to get out the calculator again and masterminding a way to reduce or increase your stitch count to accommodate your new stitch pattern. This is because you will be knitting your lace edge sideways and then attaching it to your live stitches by slipping and knitting together stitches. It sounds tricky but it is easy.
Leave your main project still on needles with the edge of live stitches. Once you have decided on your border pattern (it is easier to start with a simple and small pattern, 10 sts or less so you can focus on the technique instead of the design), cast on the recommended number of stitches plus 1. Starting with your first RS row, knit to the end of the pattern instructions which will leave you with one stitch. Slip this stitch knitwise and then knit one stitch from your main project. Turn your work and knit your last stitch (knitted from the main project) and the slipped border stitch together and then follow your border pattern instructions for the wrongside (or row 2). You will continue in the pattern like this, knitting to the last stitch on the RS, slipping this stitch and knitting one stitch from your main project, turning the work and knitting the last 2 stitches together until you have no more live stitches on your main project and ending with a wrongside row of your border pattern. You can then cast off your border pattern.
Congrats your have successfully completed a knit-on edge. My pictures depict an attempt at the Swallowtail Shawl with a modified knit-on edge. I have trouble with mohair and for some reason or another when it came time in the pattern to switch to the border lace pattern, my stitch count was way off. I tried to fix the error but mohair doesn't like to be ripped back. I decided my best course of action was to pick a complimentary lace border pattern to knit-on. This way, my stitch count would not matter and I could complete my shawl with decreased stress and anxiety! It would very well and the finished project was just as beautiful as the original. A knit-on edge is also a great way to finish sweater hems, add detail to a hat brim, or lengthen a too small child's dress. You can add knit-on edge to finished garments as well by picking up stitches on the main project to create live stitches.
Lace knitting is an indulgence for me that I do not treat myself to very often. This is due in part to the challenges of lace knitting and the concentration I like to devote to it that I am often lacking lately. But I enjoy it so very much and have for some time. I wrote the below back in 2007 and it has inspired me since to sing the praises of lace knitting but also shout even more loudly the tips and tools every knitter should arm themselves with before they are elbow deep in YO's and no way out.
"I have been knitting my largest and most complicated to lace project to date: Swallowtail Shawl from Fall 2006 Interweave Knits. It is not so much that it is very difficult, but just that I did not do any research beyond reading (well skimming, if we are going to be honest and I guess I will since you can't hunt me down and shame me in the streets) the pattern before casting on. I ran into many or really one difficulty. My count was off repeatedly and it was extremely vexing (was watching Pride and Prejudice last night)." -Tara Miller, www.gruenetree.com, July 2007
Here are the tips and tools I have been testing and recommending since that fateful project. I hope you will read this and use them before you end of like me back in 2007.
1. Stitch Markers- Have many kinds of stitch markers handy and test them with your yarn for EACH PROJECT. Example: I am knitting the swallowtail with mohair (Rowan Kid Silk Haze to be specific) and it is very fine. I am using jump rings that I fashioned into my very own highly fashionable stitch markers unfortunately as stunning as they may be, the mohair slips through the jump ring and thus making it appear as though my count is off. I now use a locking stitch marker, as plain as it may be, the ends lock in place leaving no space for mohair to slip through. My jump ring stitch markers work just fine for every other yarn I have knit with successfully.
2. Life Lines- If you are knitting lace without a life line you are either very brave, have too much time on your hands, or are ignorant (no shame in that, obviously you recognize this fault and have decided to continue reading) or are an idiot. I love my life lines and am so paranoid (or is it too tired to starting over 5 times) that I double up. I will knit one repeat, weave in my life line, knit another repeat and then weave in another. I do not take out the first and just move it up. I usually have 2 just in case I made a mistake and it has managed to evade my notice and climb up 2 repeats. I am not taking any chances; I like to start new projects, not old.
3. Needles- Make sure you pick the right needles for your project. Take into consideration the size the project will grown to be and the weight. If you are knitting with, say, mohair you will only need to take into mind the size and pick your length of needle or cable according to your preference. But if you are using a thicker fiber you also need to consider how heavy your project will become and probably want to consider a cable needle to distribute this weight to your lap instead of your wrists. Another yarn/needle combo you want to consider is slippery-ness and delicacy of the fiber. If the fiber is very delicate, like mohair or silk, than you might not want to trust your wood needles. As smooth as they may feel, there could be a rough spot that you do not find until you are 80 million rows into your project and it has caused a minor turning into major hiccup. Also, you want to reduce the chances of dropped stitches as much as possible which can result from slippery yarn on slippery needles so make that swatch and go with your gut.
4. Be confident. This is only knitting; you can rip it out. It is for fun and relaxing, no use stressing over it. How much are you really going to want to wear a shawl with bad memories? If it is too difficult, just put it down and come back when you have more experience. If that is 2 weeks or 20 years, no biggie. No shame in passing it down to the next generation. How much more fun will it be to pass down than to painful get through it. Wouldn't you love to finish a project your mother or grandmother had started? Even better if you finished something they considered over their heads. Then you can wear it around and boast. Perhaps you can make a custom tag for it that says "In your face Mom/ Grandmom!" Just a suggestion.
When one starts to knit there are certain rites of passage that are necessary to complete. It is not that they must be completed in order to be a great knitter, it is just that most knitters do complete them whether or not they mean to. A mistake in lace knitting is up toward the top and also the most frustrating.
When a knitter is ready to start knitting lace, they dream of flow-y shawls, delicate patterns and a true sense of accomplishment. However, once they cast-on they are met with counting errors, dropped stitches, and "what row was I on again" for the hundredth time. It happens to the best of us; a little help is needed. Life Lines are one of the few true to their name. When you are waist deep in your sister's wedding shawl or 3 weeks committed to a new sweater pattern that cost you $86.27 in yarn than you want a life line. A life line is a piece of yarn woven through your lace knitting that should you make a mistake, you can unravel back to your life line and put your stitches back on your needle and pick back up. You will not need to frog all the way back to the beginning or guess which row you are on. It is the net for a tight rope walker. And guess what... It is simple. Here are the steps
Step 1) Obtain some waste yarn in a contrasting color to the yarn you are knitting with (so it will be easy to see. The same reason life vests are Bright Orange!) Make sure it is at least twice the length of your knitted project. You want slack so it won't pull out if you sit on it, your baby pulls on it or the cat thinks it is the most fun toy-EVER.
Step 2) Thread it through your tapestry needle.
Step 3) Thread it through the loops on your needle- just right through. I like to do this on row one of my lace repeat and then move it up when I get back to row 1. However, if you lace repeat is 12 or more rows you may want to do it more often. If that is the case, do it when you stitch count returns to the original stitch count (some increase and decrease as you go along) or the row after a YO. It is easier to pick up a knitted YO than a YO.
Step 4) Continue knitting but do not knit the life line, push it out of the way if needed. It should go straight through your knitting. Move it up every once in a while and only move it when you are sure you won't need it. Sometimes it is safer to have 2 life lines, if you are a real worrier.
My discovery of life lines made it fun to knit lace where it was too stressful before. It really helps if I can't interpret a pattern and want to risk just guessing. I can also put my work down and pick it up at a later date and know where I am. It has opened up a new door for me and I hope you as well.
The stitch pattern is Travelling Vine from A Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara G. Walker, knitted with size 8 needles and a sport weight yarn.