Why this journey?

I've been retired now for over a year. Husband has been sick but is now doing quite well with new pacemaker. I continue to knit and knit and crochet. Recently I became friends again with my sewing machine so you will see some of those projects, too. Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Independent Knitter

Most knitting patterns are very particular about what kind of yarn should be used, sometimes even specifying a brand.  Sometimes, though, the rebellious knitter deviates from the specifications -- and this surprises you because?

Lace knitting is one group of patterns that I find allows me to choose my own yarn and needles, not necessarily what the designer suggests.

Here are two shots that show the same pattern, using different yarns and different needles.
Finer yarn, smaller needles
(Lyndon Hill cotton/silk and
size 6 US)
Heavy yarn, larger needles
(Rowan worsted wool and
size 10.5US)
In an earlier post I mentioned the holes and the 'take away stitches' that can look (and BE) mistakes.  In lace knitting, the holes (called YarnOvers) and the 'take aways' (called Decreases) are put together to form leaves or other designs.  Often the instructions are given in chart form, which means more code.  Each symbol stands for a different action the knitter needs to take.

I like lace knitting for a lot of reasons.  The possibilities of yarn and needle choice appeal to my sense of independence; I may be knitting someone else's design but I will make it my own by choosing a different yarn and needle combo.  

Lace knitting just looks complicated.  Actually the pattern is often as few as 10-12 stitch instructions that just repeat over and over across a row of stitches.  Then there are as few as 3-4 rows that repeat.  So after a few times of reading and doing, you can memorize the instructions.  This means it becomes somewhat mindless, though you must still pay attention so as to avoid mistakes.  Mistakes in lace knitting can be corrected but sometimes you have to rip back (moan and groan and sometimes tears.)

Back to the shawls -- they start at either the top (shoulder) or at the point that hangs down the back.  The pattern shown starts at the point, adds stitches, adds rows, etc etc etc until you either run out of yarn or have the shawl the size you want.  It can be a small scarf or a huge wrap around shawl that drapes with elegance.

More accessories -- Can you see the tiny yellow sliver on the needle on the left?  This is a piece of plastic that slips onto the needle so I can always know the size.  Hoping you can see the 10.5.  And while we're at it, notice the needles.  They aren't the straight sticks you might remember from watching your aunt knit.  In this case the pointy parts are connected by a flexible plastic cord.  So, as in lace knitting, you can work with lots and lots of stitches.

I enjoy this blogging thing.  It's a convenient -- and fun -- way for me to keep a diary of my work toward the designation.  But it has its challenges.  I haven't yet figured out how to knit while I'm posting.  I will be listening to a book, though.  A saga or spy story, something that moves along while I do the mindless repeats of the lace pattern in these two shawls.

Didn't I mention that problem before?  And hasn't anyone solved it yet?  

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