Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lace Knitting and the Tornved Shawl

In keeping with my resolution this year to expand my knitting skills, I've been working on lace knitting!  And after a little bit of three steps forward, two steps back, I think I've got it down.  I've been working on a simple lace scarf that uses teeny, tiny yarn that causes me to have to take breaks, but one was a lot more complicated and necessitated some new strategies!

The pattern is Tornved by Karina Westermann and is on Ravelry here.  I love this shawl!  There are several more in my future!  As far as being a good beginning lace project .... sort of.  I did fine with most of it, searched for YouTube videos for the few terms I wasn't sure of, and just used trial and error on a few steps that I couldn't quite visualize.  It worked!

So what are the strategies I used?  The first was the use of "life lines" - and believe me, I used these several times!  A life line is basically a safety line so that when you get confused or lose your place (happens easily in a lace chart), you can frog back to the life line (a place you know where you are) instead of starting entirely over.  After the first time of using this, I began putting in life lines every few rows!  I used size 10 crochet thread and a darning needle to place it under the stitches on my needle - leave large tails hanging out the ends as it tends to pull into the knitted piece.  JLYarnworks has some good pictures of the process - including one of what happens if you put the life line through the stitch marker.  I should've found this site before I used my first life line - that's exactly what I did and found it causes large pains later!

A couple more strategies I found helped are sticky notes, stitch markers, and counting.  I used the sticky note under the repeat of the row I was currently on to help me keep my place.  The stitch markers were to help me make sure I had knitted the correct stitches - I placed one after each repeat (rotating with two of them) and then both counted the stitches and checked to make sure they were the correct stitches.  Yes, this took a little more time, but saved me from having to take out a couple of rows of knitting several times.  Counting served the same purpose.  I counted at the end of each half row - and several times found that something had happened to a yarn over.  Much easier to tink (unknitting) back to that spot than wait and discover it a couple of rows later.  You can see on my instruction sheet how I kept track of how many stitches should be in a half row!

And here's the wonderful finished shawl!!  I used Dream in Color Smooshy in Raspberry Blaze.  My photos don't really show how beautiful this yarn is - here's a photo from Eat.Sleep.Knit where I ordered it from online.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

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