Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wheatsheaf Shawl and Double Diamond Stole; Making Lace Accessible

Bit behind on this one... I've had two lace designs published in recent issues of Yarn Forward Magazine.

The Wheatsheaf Shawl was featured in Issue 28, and it's specifically written to be accessible even for a non-lace knitter. I spent a lot of time considering the elements that make lace challenging, and figuring out how to address them in the design and the pattern. It's only a two-row pattern repeat for the basic last stitch, and one of them is a plain purl row! Easy-peasy! And I wrote out how to incorporate the increases into the lace stitch in detail.

And last but not least, I did something a little different in the centre spine... Most top-down lace shawls have an innocent-looking central spine of yo, k1, yo... Seems simple enough, but it's actually very difficult to work for a knitter who's not confident with yarnover increases. You can't reliably place a marker, as the yarnovers can get wrapped around them, and the marker can end up in the wrong place. And if the yarnover travels, the central spine goes horribly awry. I see this a lot in my classes. The knitter can be doing everything right, but a slipped marker can make things go horribly wrong! So I changed up the central spine to be 2 stitches: yo, k2, yo. It looks just as good, but allows you to safely and confidently place a marker. And I think it looks good too - it harmonizes very well with the edgings. I'm not sure why it's not more common, to be honest. It seems like a simple and elegant solution to a vexing problem.

ElectroGirl has posted a finished Wheatsheaf shawl on Ravelry and I love it. Great choice of yarn, and she did a terrific job of both knitting and photographing it.

The writeup has lots of hints and tips to make lace knitting easy and fun - and ideally get knitters hooked so that they will consider other projects - like the Double Diamond Stole, for example!

The Double Diamond Stole in Issue 29 is a great next step. See a picture at this preview.

It's an easy-to-manage but very rewarding and beautiful project. It's worked in cashmere from ColourMart - my god, I loved working with this yarn. It adds a small level of challenge in that there are a few different patterns rows and a decrease that might be new to some knitters, but it's still entirely approachable for all skill levels. Yarn Forward was generous enough to provide me enough space to be able to include a really detailed pattern writeup to guide knitters through the project. There are both written instructions and charts, so that knitters who prefer one over the other are accommodated.

Can't wait to see the projects on Ravelry!

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