Thursday, January 27, 2011

2011 ResoLACEtion

I have noticed that one glaring absence in my life is challenge. I don't find a lot of challenge in being a stay at home mom (unless they are of the Thou shalt not murder thy family variety!) Let's face it, it is not that difficult to load the dishwasher, throw a meal on the table or buy more underwear for your husband before he goes on a business trip. (Beats doing the laundry!) One of the things I just LOVE about knitting is how many different types there are to explore, and this year is lace year for me!

In your lace bag of tricks, you will need the following:

Knowledge of these stitches: Various increases (M1,2,3..., YO...K1BL and others); Various decreases (SSK, SKPassover, K2T, etc.); and fancy stitches like twists or bobbles or nups or whatever, but the pattern will explain these...mostly you need increases and decreases. It helps immensely if you know how to read your knitting, deknit, and sew in a lifeline (a thread through an entire row of stitches in case you need to rip back to the beginning of a motif...and you will, you will.)

MARKERS, various types....various sizes...I like the rings and the safety pin looking ones

Circular needles of various sizes and cord lengths...if you're doing circular stuff, but I prefer them for everything, and I prefer the circular adjustable needles so as your project grows you can switch to longer cords and when you bind off you can switch to bigger needles.

Pattern/chart marking helps, like a pencil (ha!) and a paper pattern; if you're using a book and don't have a copier, sticky notes or highliting tape; if you're using an electronic copy, an annotation program

ROW COUNTERS!!!...My favorite is the one from my knitting machine, which is a big honker doo that you can sit on the table beside your coffee and click over with an easy motion; those little ones that supposedly go on your cord or needle, but I usually attach them with a piece of yarn because they tend to fall off a lot; a clicker type that you wear around your neck; or old school tick marks.

I have made some mesh and a pattern called Faux Spanish lace, and some drop stitch scarves. But my goal is to begin with some motif lace of the easy variety and move to progressively more and more difficult patterns.

I have three projects on the needles right now and I must say it is going well! I am making a modular fan lace shawl...the hardest part of which has been counting the freaking rows, or you find that you have the wrong side on the right side of the fabric....grrrr!) I have most of a Hemlock Ring blanket completed.

And last but not least, I have cast on another blanket derived from Marianne Kinzel's "First Book of Modern Knitting" called "Valentine Design." I think it helps immensely when first learning lace to use big needles (10.5) and good sized yarn (worsted) so you can more easily detect your mistakes and see the pattern emerging. Plus, we all know of my affinity for large needles!

Now to the fun part...this is not that hard! It is VERY FUN!!! It's magical! You just do the stitches and follow the chart (start at the bottom, and it reads right to left...something they don't always tell you if you've never used a chart!) The challenge here is in getting everyone to leave you alone so you can freaking do it!

Okay...I guess it *is* a lot like washing the dishes, I see your point.

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