Posts Tagged ‘lace’

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!

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I already shared the cute little skein of rainbow merino I spun up.  For those who don’t remember, I was given a lovely 50g fibre sample pack for Christmas, which included about 5g each of 10 colours from indigo, through seafoam green to violet.  There wasn’t enough of any one colour to make something with, and I don’t know how to felt yet, so I spun the whole lot up into this pretty skein

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Initially, I knit the whole thing up into a very simple rectangle, just to see how the colours looked.  It was pretty, but too small and dense to do anything with except possibly sew up into a pillow-shaped cat toy.  And I didn’t want to waste such lovely yarn on something like that!

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So, in the end, I frogged the sample back and decided to do something different.  I used a very, very simple lace pattern, picked some larger needles, and knit myself a stretchy, soft, lace neck-warmer.  A few buttons make it fastenable, and the lace pattern means I didn’t need to add buttonholes for them.

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Of course, what you’re looking at here are some hastily-taken night photos, so not the clearest, but I was so pleased with the end result that I had to share it right away!

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