On the third Monday of the month a group of enthusiastic knitters meet in the Resource Room at the Duxbury Free Library. From 6:00 - 8:00 you can find knitters of various skill levels with yarn between their fingers. We would love you to join us. If you can't, follow us here!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Floss once a day . . . unless you are knitting lace, then twice.

Wearing any type of knitted lace is sure to draw the "Oh, that must have been so hard" comments. Often it will elicit more than a complicated cable pattern or a Norwegian knit. But yet, many knitters are reluctant to attempt it. Why is that? Are the graphs too intimidating? Is it the fear of making a mistake and not being able to correct it without ripping the whole thing apart?

Let's make it easy. First, make sure you insert markers after each repeat of the pattern. That way if you make a mistake you'll know before you start the next repeat. That's always better than finding out at the end of the row.
Plus your graph will look pretty . . .
and it's a chance to color!!

If the graph seems too intimidating with all those symbols to memorize, here's a step to make it easier. Break out your colored pencils and color code it! Instead of trying to remember which symbol means to SKP, you just need to know that pink means to SKP. You'll be able to knit quicker without referring to the graph key too!

You'll always know what
row you are on too!

Some people are just not 'visual' learners and hate to work from graphs. If you are one of them, just write out the pattern on index cards. One card for each row. Then just read the directions for the row you are on.

Once you have a couple repeats of your pattern done and you know there are no errors, insert a lifeline. When I talk to other knitters I find that lifelines are almost like gauge. Experienced knitters respond, "Oh, I don't use them" (and then they confess there have been times they have sat in silence and uttered curse words out loud because they did not insert one). Beginners will respond, "What's a lifeline?"

If you are nervous that your lifeline
will work it's way out, tie the ends to a
 stitch marker. They will anchor it.
A lifeline is usually used in lace knitting, but they can be just as handy in any complicated pattern. Take a piece of waste yarn and using a tapestry needle, thread it through the stitches on your needle. I have found dental floss to be the best 'waste yarn'. It's cheap, it takes up hardly any room in my knitting bag, it slides out easy and it's thin which makes it easy to slide through the stitches on the needle. (Did I mention it was minty fresh too?)

Make sure when you get to your markers that you go around them and not through them. (Otherwise you won't be a happy camper when you go to slip them on the next row!!) If you use interchangeable needles you can tie the floss to the tightening hole on your tip. As you knit across the floss will automatically go through the stitches.

Make a note of which row you were on when you inserted the lifeline. Then, if you have to rip back you'll know exactly where to start up again. As you knit and complete more repeats, move your lifeline up. The less you have to potentially rip back to, the better!

Are you ready to knit some lace? Go ahead. Start with a scarf or a shawlette. I might turn my swatch into a scarf. Give me a little time to finish it and then we'll block our projects together.

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.

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