Lace knitting advice for you!
Summer is a great time for lace knitting (and wearing)! It’s light on the needles, so you can knit it in hot weather, and the finished product is airy and drapey, so it’s a great fabric to wear on a breezy summer evening. Plus, it’s gorgeous and really fun to knit!
Andrea Jurgrau’s book New Heights in Lace Knitting is full of beautiful patterns inspired by her travels around the world. Andrea also offers a ton of lace knitting tutorials and advice, and I thought I’d share some with you.
General Rules for Following Charts
• Review the key before you begin to make sure you understand the meaning of each symbol.
• Read charts from the bottom to the top. Each row on the chart represents one row or round of knitting; each cell in the chart indicates one stitch.
• When working back and forth in rows, right-side (RS) rows, which are numbered, are read from right to left; wrong-side (WS) rows are read from left to right.
• When working in rounds, all chart rows are considered right-side (RS) rows, and all are read from right to left.
• Many charts include “no stitch” symbols—gray cells instead of designated stitch symbols. These “no stitch” symbols are used as placeholders in the chart so that increases, decreases, and yarnovers align in the chart as they will in your knitting. When you come to a “no stitch” symbol, simply skip over it and continue with the next “real” stitch on the chart.
• Bold red and blue outlines indicate stitches and rows that are repeated. For example, when working a right-side row or round, work to the right edge of the repeat outline, then repeat the stitches within the outline the necessary number of times, then finish by working the stitches from the left of the outline to the edge of the chart.
Gild the lily and add some beads to your lace knits! This method allows precise placement of the bead in an individual stitch and is the method used for most of the projects in this book. Although it’s easier to put the bead on the stitch before it is worked, doing so can compromise the tension on that stitch.
Work to the stitch designated for bead placement, work the stitch as specified in the instructions, slip a bead onto the shaft of a crochet hook, remove the knitted stitch from the knitting needle by lifting the stitch just worked with the hook
(Figure 1). Slide the bead onto the stitch just worked, return that stitch to the left needle, adjust the tension, then slip that stitch onto the right knitting needle (Figure 2).
Working with Hand-Dyed Yarns
Because each skein of a hand-dyed yarn is unique, any project that uses more than one skein runs the risk of having a visible line where you change skeins. This is not a defect in the yarn, but simply the nature of hand-dyed yarns. You can simply accept that and embrace the color change. That works sometimes for a piece worked in the round, such
as a square or a circle.
But if you want to avoid a visible color shift, you can simply “feather” the second skein in, by alternating rows from the first skein and then the second. I only do this for 5–10 rows when I switch skeins (more if the two skeins are less alike). You can alternate for the entire project, but that never appeals to me.
This smooth and stretchy method is ideal for edges that will be stretched during blocking. Be sure to work loosely but evenly; use a needle one or two sizes larger than you knit with if desired.
Slip 1 stitch, knit 1 stitch, *insert the left needle tip into the front of both of these stitches and knit them together through the back legs (Figure 1), return resulting stitch to the left needle tip; repeat from * until all stitches have been worked and one stitch remains on right needle. Cut yarn leaving a 5″ (12.5 cm) tail, bring tail through remaining stitch and pull tight to secure.
—Andrea Jurgrau, New Heights in Lace Knitting
You’ll find much more advice in New Heights in Lace Knitting, along with stunning lace patterns, of course. Get your copy today and cast on something beautiful.
P.S. Do you have a lace knitting tip to share? Leave it below in the comments!