I really haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I’ve just discovered lace knitting. It is at the same time the most frustrating and the most rewarding kind of knitting I have found. It definitely is not something I can do while watching TV. It requires things called “life-lines” and much counting and all kinds of non-stitches. If you look at a lace chart, you see lots of empty spaces and you say to yourself, “What goes there?” I tried knitting from a chart but I have to admit, I need to see the pattern written out.
My friends on Ravelry have all sorts of tricks to keep track of repeats using 3x5 cards, colored pens, plastic rings, row counters and more. I found a pattern I really liked but promised myself I would not knit it in the “real” yarn until I could do two repeats of the pattern without a mistake. Frogging and tinking are the way I spend much of my lace knitting time but it’s so wonderful when it all comes together.
I got some 100% merino yarn from a wonderful place called Colourmart in England. I don’t know how they do it but I can get merino and cashmere and silk for less than I can from a dealer over here and the shipping is included in the price. This yarn comes on cones and still has the “oil” used to keep the yarn safe while it’s machine knitted. First you knit a swatch the way it is. Then you wash it in shampoo and conditioner and squeeze it in a towel and block it to dry. Then you measure the gauge because this is what the completed piece will be like. The difference is like night and day as you can see from the photos. The pattern I used is called Tiger Eye. You can also see from the photos why I’m hooked on this new experience. I’m about to start on a shawl pattern. Can’t wait to see how it goes. Meanwhile, I spend lots of time practicing lace patterns from Barbara Walkers Stitch books. She says you can’t just look at the pattern; you have to do it to see what it will be like. It’s incredible how much the size of the needle and the weight of the yarn will change a pattern stitch. But that’s for another post. I’m off to check out the pattern for my new shawl.