Tuesday, January 15, 2013

This is not the lace you're looking for...

I just celebrated my 15th anniversary of knitting! My best friend taught me to knit while I was visiting her in Trondheim, Norway in mid-January 1998. It was a beautiful introduction to knitting! Her girlfriends would come over in the evening and we would have coffee and eat ice cream. They worked on beautiful traditional Norwegian style sweaters and cardigans (which would be steeked later, eek!) and I struggled on a headband.

My friend picked out the pattern which required me to: 1.) knit in the round, 2.) follow a pattern chart (which was considerably easier than learning Norwegian in order to read said pattern), and 3.) it was traditional Norwegian colorwork (2 different color yarns). In the ensuing years I have come to find that colorwork, chart reading, and working in the round scares some people so much they won't even try it. I'm so glad I learned to knit with "hard techniques" because I haven't been afraid to try new things. If you're new to knitting (or contemplating joining our world), don't be afraid to try things. Frankly, the whole process of learning to knit can feel awkward because you're trying to get your hands to do things they're not used to doing.

For the longest time I didn't know how to answer the question: what's you're favorite thing to knit? "I don't really have a favorite, I just love to knit." I would say. But, about a year ago it dawned on me, what I like best is using new materials - knitting with a fiber I haven't worked with before - or learning new techniques. With all that said...I have avoided lace.

I made one lace shawl to accompany the dress to my best friend's wedding (same one who taught me to knit) almost 6 years ago. There were several things stacked against me and the lace shawl:
1.) I didn't know about "lifelines". A lifeline is a piece of thread you weave through a row of completed stitches so that if you drop a stitch or get things completely messed up, you only have to rip back a few rows instead of needing to start over...which happened to me several times.
2.) I used thread-weight yarn - 800+ yards of thread weight yarn. What the heck was I thinking? Oy! It was too fine a yarn to learn how to knit lace on.
3.) I had a deadline. In general, this is not a good idea when you're a newbie to something. I managed to get enough length on the shawl the day before we left, I soaked it, blocked it, and had to have fans on to help it dry in time. Double oy!
The whole process left me frustrated and I wasn't all that pleased with my work. Since then I have loved the look of lace, but have shied away from it...until now.

My last post was about how much I love Craftsy and this will be a continuation on that theme. I signed up for Laura Nelkin's Knit This: Mastering Lace Knitting. First, she plays with Star Wars themes, and I love that, but more importantly, her explanations are very clear. She breaks it down into sections and explains it along the way.  Also, she goes through each pattern line of the shawl.

I've read lace patterns and struggled to understand the construction, especially the starting point for half circle shawls.  Last night, a big lightbulb went on in my head. I started working on the Skywalker shawl yesterday and I'm loving lace! I can see why there are people out there who only knit lace.

I've misplaced the tag with the yarn info (and I will find it before I post the finished item), but I'm pretty sure it is a superwash merino sock yarn. It's a lovely raspberry color and while I would have loved to get some silk/merino/utterly gorgeous yarn for this, I wanted to learn on something simple. I'll splurge in the future.

If you have been longing to become a Jedi Master in Lace Knitting, then I highly recommend this class.  

1 comment:

  1. Aw, posts like this just MAKE.MY.DAY! I am thrilled you are enjoying my craftsy class and becoming an obsessive lace knitter like me : )!