Lace Knitting – Top 6 Tips #knittingtips

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Looky here, a gift – all the way from Alaska! Only a true knitter would go all the way to “The Last Frontier” and find a yarn shop…Behold, the newly crowned wilderness knitter, my mother-in-law. So, fresh from the land of grizzly bears and dog sledging, comes my latest challenge. Lace knitting.

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Many, many abandoned projects have languished in its wake, but this time I AM GOING TO FACE MY CHALLENGE. I shall knit these mitts, if it kills me! So, a change in approach is called for. Rather than dive straight in, needles first, wailing and thrashing when it all goes wrong, I am going to take a more ‘cerebral’ approach. I am going to consult a book. Not just any old book either – The Stitch ‘n Bitch Superstar Knitting book beyond the basics. Ironically, the chapter in Debbie Stoller’s book is titled “Lace, the final frontier”, which considering my challenge has come all the way from the “Last Frontier” I am going to take this as a sign from the knitting gods.

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So like a knitting detective, Poirot if you will, these are the clues I have gleaned so far…

  1. The holes in lace knitting, completed with cunning YO (yarn over) manoeuvre, are allowed. They do not spell disaster, as they would with other knitting. They do however create an extra stitch, which can be left if you’re making an ever-increasing shawl shape, or can be counteracted with various ‘knit two together’ variations. So far, so good.
  2. Pick your yarn carefully. The thinnest yarn is lace weight, but in theory any weight yarn can be used. Avoid the very hairy yarns, such as eyelash yarn, or yarn that has bobbles on it or changes size, as nobody will see your beautiful lace pattern. That just won’t do. Also, for maximum compliments, stick with one colour (rather than variegate) yarn, in order to see the pattern clearly.
  3. When picking needles, avoid slippery ones where the fiddly work might slide off in some devastating disaster of lost work and gnashing teeth. Also, those less-than-smooth circular needles should be banished to the knit box to avoid delicate lace work snagging…nobody wants their YO to KO.
  4. Lace charts look a bit like some sort of ancient Egyptian treasure map, but a few clues and they aren’t too bad. Read from the bottom row up, and hunt for the number 1. If the number 1 is on the left-hand-side then you’ll be starting work on the WS (wrong side) of your knitting and following the chart from left to right. If you discover the number 1 is on the right-hand-side, then you’ll be working on the RS (right side) of your knitting and reading the chart from right to left. Got that?
  5. Finally, remember that charts DON’T INCLUDE EVERY ROW! The numbers next to the row should give you a clue – if they jump from 1 to 3 to 5, then the pattern only corresponds to the lace pattern. Every other row is worked plain – for example the back of the work is plain purl (unless in the round, where it would be knitted).
  6. Get yourself some Post-it notes to keep your place…oh and one more thing, go and Google ‘knitting lifelines’. LouBug swears by dental floss, but you can just use opposite coloured yarn. This will mean, if you make a mistake, just ripping your work back to a safe place, rather than high kicking your work over the fence and screaming into a pillow.

KnitWit

 

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I got 99 problems but a #StitchnBitch group ain’t one!

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Well, actually I had three (knitting) problems – 1. Wanting to go to a knit group 2. Being too lazy to go out after dark 3. Fear of nobody being there and knitting alone in a public space somewhere.

The solution? Create my own afternoon Stitch ‘n Bitch group of course!

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I managed to glean some advice from the Stitch ‘n Bitch knitter’s handbook, and LouBug, and have started my getting-some-knitters-so-don’t-look-weird-knitting-alone-in-pub campaign. So far I have three likely candidates, none of which can knit as far as I know – oh well!

So, if anyone has nothing better to do than knit on a Friday afternoon then please come and join us at the brand-new Dulwich Village Stitch ‘n Bitch group! Crown and Greyhound pub, 1-3pm.

KnitWit

Intarsia Brain Challenge

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Call me crazy – but I’m going for the knitting equivalent of running before I can walk. Or rather the equivalent of someone who can run, maybe, but has been metaphorically tied to a bed like a scene from “Misery” (but with fewer beatings from Kathy Bates and more ad infinitum shrieks of “mummy, mummy, mummy”), and is now unsure if their legs work.

Anyway, enough of my “relaxing” summer break – my point is, I’m feeling confident my shrivelled summer holiday jelly brain does have some capacity for learning, even after weeks of garter stitched snoods (see above for the latest effort).

I’m going to start my research on intarsia in preparation for my next knitting jaunt. Behold…The T-Rex!

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You’ll note that I’ll also have to do some sort of crash course in chart reading as well, but hey ho. The chart was taken from a book LouBug bought me by Nicky Epstein Knitting Block by Block

There are loads of great patterns in here, and loads of great ideas on what to do with all the blocks when you’ve finished them.

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I’m feeling confident all of the information I need to get started is going to be in my newly acquired copy of Stitch ‘n Bitch Superstar: Go Beyond The Basics by Debbie Stoller.

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I can almost feel the rusty cogs in my brain turning as I type…

KnitWit

Stitch ‘n Bitch Book Craze

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Work is still in progress for Paulina Chin’s super speedy neck warmer. I picked up this soft chunky yarn at Franklin’s in Colchester, quite liking the colour. Now it is partially knitted I LOVE the colour. It is starting to look like a crazy dragonfly or something.

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I have high hopes for this cabled cowl and hope to finish it by the end of the week.

In the mean time, slightly over-excited at browsing through LouBug’s knitting library, I have gone crazy on Amazon. I’ve got it into my brain that I am a mere hop away from being able to design my own hat (especially after the grand success of the animal hats). I just need a teeeeny bit of assistance – which is where these pieces of great knitting literature come in. The following should be winging their way to me in the next day or two for some light bed-time reading:

Debbie Stoller Stitch ‘n Bitch Nation by Debbie Stoller

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Stitch ‘n Bitch Handbook: Instructions, Patterns, and Advice for a New Generation of Knitters by Debbie Stoller

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Stitch ‘n Bitch Superstar Knitting: Go Beyond the Basics by Debbie Stoller

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LouBug rates these books very highly – anyone else love these Stitch ‘n Bitch books?

KnitWit

Top Ten Knitting Books

If the house were to burn down, these books would be the first to be saved.

Well maybe I would save Mr LouBug and Ozy the cat first. They could at least then make themselves useful and carry some books…

***Top Ten Favourite Knitting BooksReviews to come shortly***:

1. Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac: The Commemorative Edition of the Bestselling Classic Elizabeth Zimmermann

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2. Sock Innovation: Knitting Techniques and Patterns for One-of-a Kind Socks Cookie A

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3. Domiknitrix Jennifer Stafford

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4. Fitted Knits: 25 Projects for the Fashionable Knitter Stephanie Japel

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5. Knit. Sock. Love. Cookie A

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6. Socktopus Alice Yu

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7. Stitch ‘n Bitch Superstar: Go Beyond The Basics Debbie Stoller

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8. Charted Knitting Designs: A Third Treasury of Knitting Patterns Barbara Walker

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9. Crocheted Softies: 18 Adorable Animals from Around the World Stacey Trock

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10. The New Knitting Stitch Library Lesley Stanfield

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LouBug

LouBug’s Library

Now, before we start I have a little confession. I love buying books! When KnitWit suggested I put a book list on the blog I was at a loss, where to start? The idea of meeting up to scan and log all of my knit books worried me, as I might have to admit to myself, Mr LouBug and the world exactly how many I have.

I was also unsure how my collection would look from the outside. Whim, project needs and gifts spread over a decade of book collecting have created some unlikely shelf mates (does anyone else have knitted food books next to heirloom lace books?).

My plan is to do this in themed groups with a review on each one and my favourite pattern. To launch this I have started by looking at the books I most regularly suggest and buy for beginners.

Check out the start of LouBug’s Library – Knitting Books for Beginners.

We’d love to hear of any beginner books that you love!

LouBug

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