Tip of the Week

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Knitting lace patterns & circular needles

Recently I signed up for a few knitting classes and two were lace or mock-cable pattern stitches (the Winter Berries Scarf).  I love looking at all the wraps, shawls, scarfs and other knitting patterns that involve lace stitches and I think "Ooh, that looks difficult".  Now, I'm only a beginner knitter and have only completed a couple of knitting patterns, so these projects will be my first attempts at lace knitting.

Here is my knitted rib stitch for a cupcake pattern.

Pieces of the cupcake, a combination of crochet and knit

Cupcake is finished

Obviously taking on a wrap or scarf in lace knitting is a huge challenge and probably not something some instructors would recommend.  For me, I understood the stitches involved and can make a knit and purl stitch.  Everything else is a variation of these two stitches.  Some I find to be tricky, like knitting behind or purling behind.  But practice makes perfect.

So far I have completed a few rows of the repeated pattern stitch for the Encantada wrap (from the book Destination Alchemy) using an Artyarn instead of the Alchemy Haiku yarn.  I love the colors and the feel of the Haiku, but felt that it might be slightly easier to work with the Artyarn for this particular pattern.  The type of yarn you use for a pattern can really make or break a pattern.  Though there is a fine line when you are on a steep learning curve.  The finer, thread like or higher percentage of mohair or angora can make it very difficult to work with if you are a beginner.  It's not easy for me to correct my mistakes in knitting as I can in crochet, but mohair can stick and make taking a stitch out (whether it's crochet or knitted, makes no difference) very difficult.

Now for circular knitting needles.  I have always seen the traditional straight knitting needles, until I asked a well-seasoned knitted, did not understand the versatility of circular knitting needles.  From our conversation, I learned that circular knitting needles are great for projects that require a large number of cast on stitches or end up with a large number of stitches made; for those with weaker wrists joints/muscles since it keeps the weight of the project in the center as apposed to one side; and can be easier to knit with since you do not have long sticks hitting your arms as with traditional knitting needles.  So if you are thinking about getting circular knitting needles, I would recommend it.  Currently I have 3 projects on circulars and I am happy with using them, though I would recommend getting interchangeable ones.  Mine are from Knitpicks, but there are may different companies that make interchangeable circular needles, and it really is a personal choice whether you want acrylic, nickel or wood/bamboo.  That's not to say you shouldn't have straight knitting needles, I still use those for some projects.

So if you are joining the Raverly or NobleKnits Olympic knitting games you should get started.  Happy Knitting.

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