Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lace Lessons

I'm well into the fourth repeat of the body pattern of the Phoenix Rising shawl, kit #1 from the Make One Year of Lace club. It's a lot of firsts for me:

-first triangular shawl
-first lace from a chart
-first shawl on #2s
-first project with such fine yarn
-first project with Claudia's Handpaints Silk Lace (100% silk)

You know what? For all those firsts, it ain't so hard. (A sharp intake of breath from all the lace knitters out there. Never get too full of yourself around lace - somehow, it knows and takes exquisite revenge.)

I'm proud of this project because - living in a LYS-free zone and coming from a non-crafty family - I'm an essentially self-taught knitter.

I'm no expert but here's what I know for sure about knitting lace:

1. Step away from the mohair.Like so many, my first lace project was knitty.com's Branching Out. I knit it in some mohair I had in my stash because it was the skinniest yarn I owned. How ethereal and wispy was that mohair! I loved it until ...

Mohair is a royal pain in the tailfeathers to frog. Mistakes happen; that's how we learn. Just make sure you learn on something besides mohair. It doesn't have to be laceweight. Worsted and bigger needles work just fine for lace.

After Branching Out, I took a lot of worsted, some #7s, and a stitch dictionary along on our annual trek to the rez in Wyoming where we did work for many years. I'd pick a lace pattern from the stitch dictionary and knit an entire scarf. Then I'd give it away when we'd visit people's homes. It was a win-win situation.

2. Use Addi Lace needles. They're slick and sharp in all the right ways. It really makes life so much easier than using bamboo needles for lace.

3. To every thing (turn, turn, turn), there is a season (turn, turn, turn) If you are tired or can't concentrate or are likely to be interrupted, leave aside the lace and take up those socks you are working on.

1 comment:

Betty said...

It's looking beautiful!

I heartily agree with #3. I now know I need to be operating at peak alertness to work on lace - which explains my lack of progress on lace things lately.