Aran Lace: Combining Knitting Traditions
Cable knits are beautiful. Lace knits are beautiful. Cables combined with lace? Amazingly stunning.
Teacher and designer Stephannie Tallent has a new video workshop called Aran Lace Knitting, and it's really remarkable.
|Three variations of Stephannie Tallent's Achillia Cowl, which comes as
a free download with the new video Aran Lace Knitting.
Stephannie learned to knit in junior high, and never looked back. She fell in love with cabling, and embarked on a sweater with a cable down the front as her first cable project. She accidentally felted it (ouch!), but she just knitted another one. Lesson learned in washing wool!
A self-described technique junkie, Stephannie loves to learn new stitch patterns and techniques. She came across the stitch dictionary Aran Lace by Annie Maloney; she started knitting the patterns and really enjoyed it.
|Aran lace used in a fingerless mitt|
Aran Lace is a combination of two techniques, lace knitting and cable knitting; the two stitches are combined into one design. With more drape and airiness than cables and more substance than lace alone, Aran lace is unique and dramatic.
Why learn this method? To create beautiful, intricate cables. This technique also opens up your yarn choices a bit. For example, you can knit an entire pullover sweater out of alpaca yarn—because of the openwork in the lace, you'll get a little built-in air conditioning. Because alpaca is such a warm yarn, the yarn overs make it an appropriate choice for an Aran lace garment.
Stephannie does warn us, though, that Aran lace is not necessarily TV knitting; you might have to pay a little more attention than you're used to.
Cabling Without a Cable Needle
Stephannie works her cables without a cable needle, and she shows you how she does it in the video. I usually cable without a cable needle, too, but my technique is a little different from those I've seen demonstrated.
In Aran Lace, it's important that yarn overs that create the lace eyelets are the same size on the right and left of the cables. Placing yarn overs before knit stitches and purl stitches can result in slightly smaller or larger yarnovers. Because of the placement of the yarn, a little more or a little less is used to work the yarn over.
Your project will look unbalanced if your left eyelets are larger than your right eyelets. Stephannie shows you variations of yarn overs, some that use a little less yarn than others. This is especially important when you're working a yarn over after a knit stitch and before a purl stitch. If you just brought the yarn to the front and knitted, you'd simply knit a purl stitch. So, you have to wrap the yarn twice in order to work your yarn over.
Stephannie shows you another way to work a yarnover in this situation, one that uses a little less yarn. In the alternate method, you bring your yarn from back to front over the needle. This seats the yarn over in the wrong direction, so you have to knit it through the back loop when you come to it on the next row. This second method uses just a teeny bit less yarn, which will result in a teeny bit smaller yarnover.
I find this stuff fascinating. I guess I'm a technique junkie, too!
I loved learning the Aran lace technique from Stephannie. She's just delightful. "Knitting should be fun," she says at one point; I totally agree, and Aran lace knitting is a lot of fun.
And when you make a mistake, here's Stephannie's advice: "It's knitting; it's yarn and sticks! You can frog it and start over if you need to." Yes! The more you try something, the better you get at it, right?