Irrepressible lace

Which lace book recently said, lace is knitting’s Mt. Everest?

Some of you seem to knit lace like it’s nothing, just a romp across a wild-flower pasture. For me, it’s a wet, muddy slog up a mountain, an arduous journey of concentration, spatial misconceptions and mystery.

Having taught enough beginners, I’ve learned that some people have a natural affinity for certain skills, others don’t. I watched mouth agape as Sylvia spun up her first bobbin—a complete natural. Me? I feel like a one-man band who can’t get the monkey on her shoulder to keep time with the cymbols on her knees. 

I grasp the physical skills quickly enough—except with spinning. But it’s understanding lace’s topography, how one stitch interlocks with another, how a hole empties onto a ridge then breaks into a landscape of stockinette. It’s like stumbling through the translation of a difficult text, where the reading is slow going and the comprehension very low.

I ran into Cheryl Oberle at Costco this week. There I was bug-eyed from pouring over Barbara Walker’s second treasury, hands sore from digging SSKs like potatoes. Poor Cheryl, I trapped her between the flowers and canned tomatoes, begging her to translate the meaning of “multiple of 16 plus 1.” Which she did. Graciously. Changing my life.

Lace still feels like a monster—Rachmaninoff’s third piano concerto in silk and wool. But at least the language of it is coming clear. With a little help from my friends. 

Comments (6) -

May 25. 2007 01:53


I'm not a lace knitter myself.  I do love the look of it and will use tools [like lifelines] to get my though it.  I think the biggest deterrent to me is lace-weight yarn and 200+ stitches.  I just can't do it!  I've come to terms with it.

Christie |

May 25. 2007 02:10


I'm sitting here, smiling. Your text is so sweet, describing this in a perfect way, I guess. I don't have any problems knitting lace myself, to the contrary, <a href=""> like it quite a lot</a>. But your words really made me understand it from your point of view, I appreciated that Wink

Tora |

May 25. 2007 23:25


So for those of us in the same boat - what is a multiple of 16 plus 1? Please enlighten.

carol |

June 29. 2007 10:44


tools [like lifelines] to get">

上海数据恢复 |

July 10. 2007 21:24

N/A">">">">">">">">">">">">">">">">">">">">">">">">">">">">">"> |

Comments are closed