Monday, 14 March 2011

Lost in Lace - A Lace Knitting Newbie's Quest for a Suitable Project

...the Highs and Lows of my Weekend Lace Knitting Quest

Sitting on the bus late Friday evening after work, I thought about my weekend knitting. I have a habit of starting new projects during the weekend, as I am able to source patterns and I have enough time to engage in all the preparatory work (choosing yarn, knitting swatches etc.). During the week, I like to return to the project, pick up the needles and simply enjoy the process.

As of late and in my quest to find new challenges, I got increasingly attracted to lace knitting. Once I arrived home and after saying "hello" to the cats, I started to sift through my pattern library and dug out Susan Pierce Lawrence's scarf pattern for "Branching Out", which was featured in Knitty's spring 2005 edition.

Susan's  design, though relatively straightforward, incorporates the most common increases and decreases the lace knitter is likely to encounter. Once you have gotten to grips with these, you will have gained confidence and are likely to master more complex lace patterns.

To have a look at the scarf, please click on the the link to Knitty below:



That it  looked like the ideal project for the beginner lace knitter, is exactly what I thought. I started a trial with some cheap acrylic yarn. Owing to the yarn, my swatch didn't look great, but I wasn't prepared to waste posh(er) yarn during the first stages of my lace experiment.

After an hour or so, it clicked and I really got going. Mastering the stitch sequence wasn't all too hard and I went to bed with a great sense of achievement. sl2-k1-p2sso isn't scaring me anymore! Result.

I continued my lace experiment on Saturday, sorting through my stash and trying to locate a yarn that was going to be suitable, but I was in the end unable to find anything...I am sure a lot of knitters must be familiar with this scenario. You want to knit a pattern, you have a huge stash and not a single resident yarn is up to the job or would do the pattern justice. Oh, it is so frustrating!!! Friday's euphoria was followed by complete and utter frustration on Saturday.

Adamant that at least one yarn in my stash might be suitable for lace knitting, I decided to go on  another pattern search and finally I succeeded. By now it was Sunday morning and I was close to giving up, when I remembered a pattern by designer Susanna IC  -  http://artqualia.com/. The pattern is called "Meandering Vines" (http://artqualia.com/patterns%205.html) and Susanna states in her introduction to the pattern that it's possible to knit the stole with just about any yarn, provided suitable needles are chosen.

It has to be said that Susanna's "Meandering Vines" is far less intricate than "Branching Out", but by now I just wanted to knit and get a project onto my needles.

I decided to trust Susanna and started a trial swatch with some of my Paton's Vintage (30% cotton and 70% Acrylic). I originally bought it in bulk from Kemp's as it was an absolute steal at £0.59, but never quite succeeded in finding a suitable pattern for it.



I am pleased to report that after Saturday's ordeal, Sunday turned out to be a success. Meandering Vines (in Patons Vintage - Burnished)  is now  firmly installed on my needles and I can return to my  new  project over the next few evenings. It is easy to memorise the pattern and I am anticipating a relaxed and enjoyable knit. Once I have used my stash of Paton's Vintage, I will go on a hunt for yarns to be used when knitting Susan Pierce Lawrence's "Branching Out".

For all those who wish to have a little venture into lace knitting, I strongly recommend you  have a look at Susanna IC's website:  http://artqualia.com/. There you will find Meandering Vines, a pattern every beginner can knit with virtually any yarn, alongside various other (sometimes free) lace patterns. It will be worth a visit...or maybe two!






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