I am very excited to announce a new Tangled Yarn blog series: Stitches.
Over the next few months we will be taking an in depth look at knitting stitches. Each blog post will include hints and tips to help you get the most from your knitting and will be jam packed with inspiring designs and yarns to get your needles clicking.
Accessories and helpful, but optional, extras
Stitch markers are your friends!
When you are first starting out you want lots of stitch markers; choose ones that are lightweight and it also helps to have different colours on hand. Lockable stitch markers are also useful for catching dropped stitches.
Blocking mats and wires.
These really are optional accessories for blocking, but you will certainly find them useful if you knit a lot of lace. When you are first starting out some pins and a towel will do though.
Want to know more about blocking? Pop over and read this article about the benefits and process of blocking knitwear.
Smooth crochet cotton and blunt tapestry needle. This is perfect for creating “lifelines” – the special “safety net” inserted into lace knitting, making it easier rip back your work if you make a mistake that can’t be easily fixed.
To insert a lifeline you carefully run the cotton (or yarn chosen for the lifeline) through the stitches on the needles, making sure you catch every single stitch. I tend to leave a very long tail on the lifeline and then tie it loosely in a bow so it can’t be accidentally pulled out.
I would advise putting a lifeline after every repeat when you are first starting out, and after major sections in larger projects. Over time you will develop a feel for where you need lifelines the most. Go with your instinct on this one.
No discussion about lace knitting would be complete without a chat about charts. These are the visual tools that knitters use to follow complex lace patterns. They consist of a number of (reasonably standard) symbols, presented in a grid style.
Charts are read from the bottom to the top. For work in the round charts are always read from right to left, as all rows are right side rows. For flat knitting charts are read from right to left for right side rows and then back from left to right for wrong side rows.
The Vaila pattern below and the tutorial by Tin Can Knits for the Gothic Lace Cowl both have detailed information about using charts.
Ready to get started?
I have picked three great starter lace projects. They are all for heavier weights of yarn, perfect for knitters new to lace and contain lots of helpful hints and tips in the pattern.
Vaila by Clare Devine is an easy lace shawl designed for knitters wanting to learn to knit lace and read charts. It is perfect for any weight as it uses a percentage system. The lace is charted and written, with lots of helpful tips on chart reading included in the pattern. The pattern is free to Tangled Yarn readers until June 14th, using the code Tangledlace.
Modular blankets also make brilliant projects for developing your lace skills. With the added benefit that they are perfect for knitting in warmer weather, small pieces that you sew up at the end (after all you don’t want a huge blanket on your lap all summer).
The Vivid Blanket by Tin Can Knits offer a wonderful canvas for playing with colour, all three yarns suggested have spectacular colour ranges, let your imagination run wild.
The pattern can be knitted up in a variety of weights if you are very new to lace knitting you may be better with something a little thicker.
Opt for a slightly lighter weight blanket in Blacker Swan 4ply
A mid-weight blanket would be delightful in the Rosy Green Cheeky Merino Joy
Join us tomorrow for part two and some more pattern inspiration
Clare Devine is a writer and designer. Originally from South Africa, she has nomadic tendencies and is currently knitting her way around the UK. She is passionate about all things fibre related (especially if it’s grey), knitting, travel and sunshine in equal measures.
She regularly blogs at knitsharelove.com. You can find her on Ravelry as Knitsforklipskaap, Twitter as @KnitShareLove and Instagram as @knitsharelove