One knitter's battle to conquer the intended gauge . . .

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Cardinal Rules of Lace Knitting



The Iditarod winner is in. What a crazy race at the end. I just read the results here. Check it out. And about what happened to King last night, when it was reported last night that it was his race to lose. What a heart breaker to lose. Such an intense race. But in the end, everyone is just glad to be alive I guess right?

I have until the red lantern to finish my shawl. Which is good since I am like only a quarter of the way there. Maybe.

I broke one of the cardinal rules of lace knitting with this project. It was pride that did me in. I thought I didn't need to do it. I was too good for it. You get the picture. What are the cardinal rules you ask?
  1. Use a life line. Take the time to thread a needle and put a length of floss or thread through those stitches periodically just in case you need to frog back. No one wants to frog back to the beginning just because they didn't use a life line.
  2. Use LOTS of stitch markers. Like maybe one every pattern repeat. I thought with only 7 pattern repeats I didn't need to do this. I could manage not messing up with only 7 repeats right? Wrong. I spent an hour trying to fix a decreasing section with dropped stitches. I didn't want to frog back to my lifeline because it was about 15 rows back. I was adding in lifelines every 20 rows. I thought I got the problem fixed only to look at it in the morning and find that I missed picking up 2 bars as I was hooking one stitch back up the ladder. I didn't fix it. I thought long and hard about it. And decided it wasn't noticeable and it didn't really bother me. I am 99% sure I won't regret it. I've decided some mistakes are worth fixing and others aren't. I asked my husband about it. He reminded me what I had told him years ago about Amish quilting. Rumor has it they put a mistake in their quilts so they aren't perfect. Because only God is perfect. Lol. My shawl is far from perfect. I didn't need to add a mistake to make sure. But I am still going with that theory.
  3. Block your lace knitting. I didn't knit a swatch (bad knitter!) I just cast on a lace stitch pattern I liked and started going. It is only a rectangle shawl/scarf so I thought I'll just wing it. So far so good. But I am excited to see how it looks blocked. 
I picked up this Knitted Lace of Estonia book by Nancy Bush at the library last week and can't seem to put it down. I love everything about lace knitting. The pictures in the book are beautiful and intriguing. What a fascinating history Estonian lace has. Before this book I didn't even really know where Estonia was. For others who are geographically challenged, it is neighbors Latvia to the south, Russia to the east, Finland to the north, and the Baltic Sea to the west. Haapsalu, Estonia became a resort town for the wealthy, in the early nineteenth century, leading the residents to start their cottage industry of knitting and selling lace shawls. Shawls were, maybe are still?, sold by weight and best ones, maybe all?, could fit through a wedding ring. That is pretty amazing.

Here are a few others things I've learned from this book:
  • Lace Knitting is a knitted fabric that has a row of plain knitting or purling after every pattern row. I am doing lace knitting.
  • Knitted Lace is knitted fabric in which the pattern is worked on every row. 
Estonian lace is lace knitting and created on a stockinette stitch background. The other two well known lace traditions are:
  • Shetland Lace from the North Sea islands northeast of the Scottish mainland. This lace is usually done on a garter stitch background though sometimes stockinette. And is both lace knitting and knitted lace.
  • Orenburg Lace from the southern tip of the Ural mountains in central Russia. It is knit on garter stitch backgrounds and is both lace knitting and knitted lace.
Anyway I found that interesting and wanted to share. Now back to my lace knitting...

Sharing with Nicole, Tami, and Ginny.

22 comments:

  1. I think your knitting is masterpiece. And from one rule breaker to another, sometimes it's exciting to live dangerously ;)

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  2. I love treating rules as more like guidelines. I like to throw a bit of rebel into my knitting, lol! I had a high school teacher from Estonia and I remember her beautiful shawls. Works of art!

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    1. Lol. I like to too until it I really screw up! How wonderful to see those shawls in person.

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  3. I'm bad about the lifeline too. I have learned to use lots of stitch markers as that's just how my brain works. It is looking so pretty so far. Isn't it fun to block it at the end? It's like magic.

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    1. Thanks! Yeah putting the lifeline in is a pain in the butt.

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  4. You lace knitters constantly amaze me - I don't think I could ever take on a project like that!

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    1. Thanks. I want it finished now but it is so slow going!

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  5. I definitely agree with using stitch markers. That way when I make a mistake, I just have to go back to the repeat immediately to fix it.

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    1. Exactly. Makes mistakes so much easier to fix.

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  6. Wow - your knitting is gorgeous! I am just a beginner but one day I may make something as pretty as that. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you. And I am sure some day soon you will tackle a project like this.

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  7. Oh yes!!! I've made all those mistakes! The shawl is gorgeous!!

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  8. I#m currently working on unswatched, un-lifelined lace too! I may throw a little yarn-chicken and unavchievable deadlines in there for good measure...it's knitting as an adrenaline sport!

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  9. Oh no, there is nothing worse than not having a lifeline when you need it. I learned that lesson when i was knitting a stole with pattern on both sides and lots of twisted stitches. The good news is you get better at reading your own knitting each time you have to fix an oops.

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    1. true. But your project sounds so challenging!!

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  10. Can relate to the need for stitch markers....currently I am working a scarf on silk-mohair which is impossible to frog because it matts together almost immediately. Stitch markers help me to spot mistakes while there's still a chance of fixing them. Beautiful shawl you have regardless.

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    1. Thank you. Your silk mohair projects sounds so amazingly soft! (and challenging :)

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