Archive for the ‘Offers I’ve Found!’ Category

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!

In case it isn’t clear that I have a tendency to faff, I’ve changed my mind yet again about what I want to make as my next knitting project, and am currently about 1/3 of the way through designing a shawl using my own pattern.

It’s surprisingly easy to create a shawl pattern once you get started, so long as you understand the basics of what goes into a shawl.  The shape of a shawl is made using one of several very simple patterns of increases at the centre and both edges.  Any other increases in the pattern are merely decorative and should be cancelled out by an equal number of decreases.

So, the best thing you can do is design a lace pattern to take place over a certain number of stitches, and make sure that a single repeat of the pattern contains a decrease for every increase.  After that, simply fit the design to the shawl itself.

Of course, the trick is to know what the basic increases you need are to achieve the shape of shawl you want.  Fortunately, the lovely people at Laylock have a free shawl cheat sheet available that provides the basic stitches for square, circular, triangular, semi-circular and heart-shaped shawls, and you can download it here.  Alternatively, if you want to knit a shawl in the round, there is this cheat sheet option.  A second, very handy freebie also provided by Laylock is this rather nifty knitting pattern paper, ideal for charting colour patterns, if you want to add a bit of brightness to your work.  I imagine it’d also work for charting lace, if used carefully.

Personally, I recommend keeping a copy of all three on your hard drive for use whenever you need them.

Once I’ve finished drafting my pattern I’ll put it up for sale on Ravelry.  But I’ll also post a tutorial here showing how I designed it!  Watch this space!

How did I not see this until now?!

From her Ravelry group

From January 11 though 14 (EST) you can get a free pattern from my Ravelry shop by entering the code HAPPYBDAY at checkout. That’s all day Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (Eastern Standard Time.)

I picked her Fabergé shawl pattern!

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What a generous offer!