Friday, June 14, 2013

My Ongoing Battles with Lace

Lace. I fake it. I always have. With the exception of a few basic patterns, I'm not really good at it. It often requires that skinny-ass yarn, that seems to laugh at my clumsy hands. It is full of those slippery stitches that have slips and passovers or yarn overs I forget to ... yarn over. Le Sigh,  I'm not always consistent with the way things slant and twist. Really, which way is it leaning? My "holes" never seem large and dainty and lacey enough -- even after blocking.  I don't really understand lace patterns until I'm almost done with the repeats. Even if you need, say, 30 repeats.

I am in fact. Lace intolerant, possibly lace impaired, the test results are not back yet.

The prognosis is not good. Did I mention, I still have not mastered chart reading? I do not understand those, "no stitch" pieces of graph paper.

This summer, as Ravelry waves it's top 20 at me. Flying it's fingering-weight yarn patterns in my face. Telling me,
"Hey! This is what all the cool kids are doing. This is how real knitters knit in the summer ..." 
I'm trying. I'm trying and failing a lot. And that's okay. If something is really miserable I will stop myself. Some patterns, are just too pretty though. I feel compelled to learn and to finish, no matter what the outcome.

If the summer is a total bust, and I end up wanting to never look at another yarnover and ssk (unless it's in worsted weight), I will destash a bunch of fingering weight and send it off into the world for a happier fate than being stuck with my uncooperative knitting hands.

Self inflicted pain: Shawl that I managed to back out to a point where I could fix. Where the sweetest kindest hand holding designer tried to explain why and where I was reading the pattern wrong. I was all set to make another fix attempt and then I opened my bag to find a string of stitches just murdered in the middle of the fabric. Was this the universe telling me to just ... try again? Bah. I made my husband sleep with the top light as well as the lamp on and began the crazy task of picking up stitches. (What? My aging eyes need all the help they can get!) He does not argue with this situation, as he is likely to get more sleep with lights on than, listen to my whining and moaning. Madelinetosh lace in ink is very hard to see in the dark!!

But I think I have it in a post recovery phase. Let's see if I can manage this next bit of contrast color without another righteous crap up.

This will be cast on next -- this weekend, fer reals!  I may not keep up with Wendy's KAL, but I will make my own progress, I swears it, I will! Early days with good days to follow. I bought this giant cake of yarn (well it wasn't in a cake at that point) when I just started knitting at Stitches West. I hope it all works out.

I am thinking one day, I will feel compelled to dedicate some free time, to all the lovely helpful hints and posts written about lace. I will use lifelines instead of talk about lifelines. I will go back to my books on stitch definitions and remember what leans left and right, without having to "see" it. Heck, maybe I'll even make flashcards. I will learn the proper way to read a chart and I will actually knit lace without being in a group of people or the t.v. on or so late at night ... with more success. Ah, such distant goals -- in the meantime I am a lazy beast in my lazy, beastly ways.

Anyhow, in honor of my lace battles and the kindness that was bestowed upon me I will gift one of Maria Steiner's patterns. Leave a comment telling me which pattern you would like and your Ravelry handle from now until hmm ... EOD Tuesday (6/18) and I will randomly select a winner.

*Update: Last night after the company left and I went to do a row or two of lace ... my knitpicks needles became unscrewed in the middle of a row, snagging and dropping stitches? I was at level 9 "sea of despair". I have tried to reconstruct the situation. Alas, I won't really know until this evening when I count my stitches and tightened my needles ... again. Wish me luck, friends. I may have to back this pooping puppy out again.


  1. I'm currently working on a triangular shawl that is mostly stockinette with only the tiniest ruffle at the end. It's very low stress! I need my lace in small doses, like a tiny panel or an accent, or I get overwhelmed.

    I looked at this lady's patterns, and they are stunning! Encyclopaedie is my favorite though. My rav ID is LollyDesigns.

  2. LOL! You are so funny ^^. I don't do lace patterns often as well b/c the skinny yarn cramps up my hands. It always takes me three tries before I get into the rhythm of the pattern. I only like fingering weight for socks.

  3. I have no idea how you can still be so bright and happy after so much trouble! The humor you bring to the situation makes me wonder if I should try lace knitting again too (I have the same exact problems with it that you do) I think it is wonderful that you are taking on this challenge. I think that all that hard work and everything will really pay off!

  4. OH I am JUST LIKE you only worse. I m such a lace looser I knit the markers INTO my garment half the time. I want to be a Lace knitter......

    I ONCE knit a lace scarf and gave it to a wonderful friend on her 80th birthday.

    AL can knit lace like she can eat candy and not gain weight. HOw is she my child???
    I dont have that lace gene...

    KUDOS TO YOU for efforts. YOU GO GIRL

  5. I had to laugh a little at this - this sounds EXACTLY like me a few years ago. I swore to my mother (a master knitter - seriously, it makes you sick!) that I could not possibly knit lace in anyway shape or form. I would never be able to read a chart either - I use to take my charted patterns to her to write out for me. But i kept at it - and then one day - it just clicked! Now I knit almost nothing but lace (though never with lace weight - I still hate lace weight) - heck - I even design it!
    My advice is, if you really want to knit lace - keep at it. Start small, but start big - ie pick a small, simple project, but do it in larger yarn - there's no reason you can't knit a shawl in DK or Worsted - it just comes out bigger and warmer! The pattern that made lace really click for me was feather and fan - looks complicated but is pretty simple once you get going.

    I feel for you with the knit pick needle though - I stopped using mine for just that reason - it's heartbreaking! I love my knitpicks dpns, but for circulars I switched to chiao goos.