Untangling lace: A tutorial, sort of

There is no doubt, lace is my nemesis. After three attempts trying to swatch a benign little pattern—”dainty chevron” from BGW’s second treasury, I arrived at the “duh” moment of enlightenment and began adding life lines at the end of every pattern repeat. Know what? It’s just like insurance. As soon as I began installing life lines, I stopped making errors.

Many of you know this already, but for those of us who can barely get the lace-weight yarn off the cone, here’s how you add a life line:

Thread a piece of slick, contrasting yarn through a skinny darning needle. I used a white alpaca, which contrasted nicely with the deep sky blue with which I was knitting. Run your threaded needle through the live stitches on your left-hand needle and leave them be. Voila. Life line. Should you sh%t the bed, as my brother would say, and find yourself in error, rip back to the life line and you’ll have all those pretty, perfect live stitches standing ready, waiting to set you on the path to righteousness.

I received a question in the comments, too, about the “multiple sts plus 1”-thing. Here’s how that works:

In the case of the Dainty Chevron pattern, BGW gives us this clue: It’s a multiple of 8 sts plus 1.

They key is that the 1 (or 2 or 4, or whatever the case may be) is a selvedge stitch—a sturdy little frame for your pretty lace. Let’s say you want to knit three chevron repeats. You would K1, and then knit the stuff between the asterisks—the pattern repeat—three times, like so: K1, pattern repeat, pattern repeat, pattern repeat. Start new row. Very simple, unless like me, you add the selvedge stitch along with each pattern repeat. This is going down the path to perdition. Stop right now.

As the pattern progresses, you’ll see that sneaky BGW inserts a K2 before her asterisks. Don’t worry. She knows better than you. Just K2 and keep repeating her instructions between the asterisks and all will be well.

NB: Take everything I say with a grain of salt. I am a rank (with an emphasis on rank) beginner.

NB2: Everything people say about the Addi Lace needles is true. Worth the price of admission. Haven’t tried, but I bet those cheapy Bryspun plastics with the pointy tips might be nice lace knitters, too.

 

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July 10. 2007 21:24

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