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Lace: An Epic Tale

I have been blogging here at Angelarae Knits for about a year now. I have visited many of your blogs and seen some absolutely beautiful knitting. You all have inspired me to try a variety of different types of patterns, including socks, hats, mittens, cardigans, and even a purse. During this time, I have never considered myself crazy patient enough to attempt knitting lace. The patterns seem so intricate, the yarn so tiny, like thread, really, and I could just imagine my hands cramping as I tried to knit with size 00 needles.(that’s pronounced “double aught” for those of you not acqainted with southern lingo) But with time and, what I like to call, “the moebius experience,” under my belt, I began to gain a vainglory small bit of confidence. One day, while perusing those southern girls’ knit blog, I came across a stole Ann was knitting and became enamoured. The scary thing is, I actually thought I could knit this.

So, I got myself some hand-dyed, laceweight alpaca, ‘Shimmer’ from Knit Picks. I blogged about it here and here. I then went to Eunny’s site and found the instructions for the Print O’ The Wave Stole. (To those of you snickering in the back, I should like to point out that I mentioned this folly to you in the aforementioned posts. Not one of you said a word. So put a sock in it.) I printed the pattern and I was off to the races. My horse died after about the 3rd row….here’s how it went. The provisional cast-on was no problem for me, I have done one or two before. Then, I began knitting the chart.(did I mention that I don’t know how to read the charts?) How hard could it be? I followed the chart exactly(?) and came up with 3 stitches extra at the end of my row. Hmmm…I must have miscounted. I tinked back and reknit the row a second time. This time, 4 stitches too many. What the h?*! Counted my cast-on…right-80 stitches. I emailed Dipsy to see if she could find anything wrong with the pattern. She didn’t. Then I really lost it and started to ignore the extra stitches, telling myself that maybe I could find my error easier if I could just knit up some of this stupid pattern. No such luck. You can imagine what it looked like. Finally, I ate some chocolate, threw down a shot of Jack Daniels, took a deep breath, and looked at the chart again. I counted the chart stitches to see if they were correct. It went something like this…”Knit 3, knit2tog,yo…that’s, let’s see, ummm, oh yeah…5 stitches. ” I did this for two solid hours before it finally occurred to me what the problem had been all along. (let’s ignore the implications of my improvement in critical thinking under the influence, shall we?) I had been doing the pattern repeats between the brackets under the chart, when the repeat is outlined in bold within the chart, itself.(They do that to make the pattern easier to follow, don’t ‘cha know) So, I ripped it all out and started over following the repeats in the chart and actually got about 4 rows done, total. I put it down after that and have yet to pick it up again.

So, one day, I was innocently looking at the new Interweave Knits Holiday Gift Issue, you know, the one with the felted pears on the front? (lovely) And as I was flipping through the pages I was halted by the sight of billowing clouds of mohair wrapped around a woman’s neck. (seriously, I needed something wrapped around my neck) I kept thumbing through, trying to ignore the sudden burst of joy in my heart at the sight of the mauve and purplish fussy delight I had just seen. But my hand moved even beyond my will, and I found myself looking at the picture again and thinking, “I could so knit a simple lace scarf…maybe I can find a pattern.”

Here’s the thing. I know I should have, based on my past lace fiasco, felt sick at the sight of another pattern chart, but it simply did not happen. So, when my Mom asked me to sit with my Nanny for the weekend, I saw it as a sign…a sign that I was supposed to buy more alpaca and try a scarf. After all, the fates know I visit the Shuttles, Needles and Hooks shop whenever I sit with Nanny. They also know I was getting extra money. They must want me to try…bless them. (for those of you wondering, there was no alcohol involved in this dicision). This time I was smarter, though. As I entered the SN&H shop, I did something that you will not believe…in fact, you may want to sit down for this….I. asked. for. help.

A moment of silence, please…..

Okay. The woman who helped me (I wish I could remember her name) picked a pattern, showed me how to write each row on an index card, and allowed me to practice with various versions of very pointy needles. I tried Addi Turbo’s first(hey, as long as we are just trying, not buying) but did not find them pointy enough for my taste. I finally settled on a set of Bryspun straits. They are wonderful and inexpensive, too. My instructor made me sit there and knit for a few minutes before she would let me leave with my purchases: the Bryspun Needles, 3 balls of Misti Alpaca, and a Fiber Trends pattern called ” Lacy Accessories.” There are 3 different scarves to knit in this pattern. I cannot wait to knit all three. Here’s my progress so far:

I have to tell you, I am having a blast. This yarn is the bomb! …all 437 glorious 2-ply yards of it! So soft! And knitting lace, at least this pattern, has been fun. I have only had to tink back once, maybe twice. So, lesson learned…don’t be too ambitious when attempting to acquire a new skill and get some help, for goodness sakes!

8 thoughts on “Lace: An Epic Tale

  1. Yeah, got to say that charts can be really difficult the first or second time you use them. But once you understand how they work, I think they’re actually easier to deal with than ye olde text instructions for lace projects. Much easier to visualize what the knitting is supposed to look like, which means catching errors earlier.

    Oh, and: sweet scarf, and in a great color.

  2. well done ..once you get over the first lace projcet it gets a lot easier.

    For first lace projects, I think charted and written instructions are best. It’s easier to check your work

  3. Your lace is beautiful! Glad you persisted and tried again…looks like it was worth it!
    I know charts tend to put me off too, but now you have inspired me to give it a try!

    Happy knitting 🙂

  4. Your scarf is looking great! I’ve attempted lace too, and realized that I wasn’t doing the yarnovers right…I was knitting into the wrong sides so the holes that are supposed to be in lace weren’t there. I didn’t bother ripping out because I was too far into it to do that…so I’ll continue (when I get the time to get back to it) the way I’m going and just remember for the next piece of lace I do…at least I hope I remember!

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