Things are going well with my shawl WIP. I’ve started work on the lace portion, which will make up the rest of the shawl until I reach a point I’m happy to end at, and I have another couple of nifty little free tools to share with everyone.
As you know from my previous posts on the matter, I’ve been making careful use of shawl cheat sheets to ensure my project comes out the right shape and size. This is fine for solid or colourwork shawls, but when it comes to incorporating a repeating lace pattern into work, things get a little more difficult.
Lace uses increases and decreases to create shape and attractive designs, but it only works if the increases and decreases cancel out, so the final shape isn’t altered. In addition, a professional-looking shawl needs the lace pattern to start and end showing a full set of repeats, which means the lace pattern needs to fit neatly into the number of stitches you have. Balancing these two issues can be tricky, but I’ve found even more tools that are very helpful.
The first is the KnitChart, an in-browser Java program that lets you create charted lace, cable or colourwork patterns and which tracks the increases and decreases in each row, so you can check to make sure they cancel out. Be warned, the program is a little buggy – I sometimes have to load it a couple of times to get it to work – but it’s an invaluable tool for planning out lace designs.
And once you’ve figured out your lace pattern, the next essential tool I’ve been enjoying is the stitch pattern calculator, yet another fun freebie from the Laylock blog. Once you have your lace pattern, simply count the number of stitches for a single repeat, count the total stitches on your shawl and plug them in. If there is a discrepancy, not only will the pattern tell you how many stitches out you are for X number of repeats, but how many stitches to increase or decrease by for a perfect fit!
- Designing a Shawl – WIP (whippedstitches.wordpress.com)
- Knitting Shawls and Drafting Patterns (whippedstitches.wordpress.com)
- Swatches and Shawls (hollychayes.wordpress.com)
- … Lacy Shawl (alicemakes.wordpress.com)
- Lace and my lovely shawl ! (shiro51144.wordpress.com)