I’ve come a long way in lace design over the last few years, but I feel I still have a long way to go. There are three major things I’ve learned from:
- Knitting lots of lace swatches out of stitch dictionaries. Stitch dictionaries will be a separate post, I think.
- Being persistent with my own lace designing, and being willing to swatch multiple times to get a single stitch pattern to look good. (I don’t always, and I have to do this less and less often as time goes by, but still.) Also, using a mistake in one design as a design feature in another.
- Reading what I can find about how lace works. And that’s what this post is about.
Here are the two books I’ve used the most to learn about designing lace stitch patterns so far:
The idea was to see if beads could be added to knitted lace after the knitting was done. This isn’t really a success, in my opinion, but it was worth trying and I’m glad I did it.
I used contrast color yarn and a darning needle to do duplicate stitch and to attach the beads to the knitting.
My conclusion is that I don’t care for the way this makes the beads sit on top of the fabric. If they’d been knitted in as I worked the original stitches, they’d have nestled into place.
I also don’t like the way the lines of the lace are made thicker because of the bulk of the extra yarn.
Not all experiments are successful, but that information is worth sharing too.
(more images below.)
I wanted to add book posts to the mix again. I am, after all, a reference librarian by training. Also, I learn best from text and diagrams. A conversation on Ravelry led me to the idea of gradually posting a list of books I’ve learned from, and possibly a few websites as well.
I’m going to start with the books I turn to when I have a question—one part of my core collection.
Just a little spinning. Half of a braid from Three Waters Farm, showing how different it can look before and after spinning.
It’s for the next pattern sample I’ll be knitting, and then it will look different still. Magic!
More details on my handspun page on Ravelry.
Here are some links to random fibery things I found of interest. (If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll have seen these already.) It’s probably also a good place to ask me any questions you might have.
Every month, I encode a word suggested by one of my patrons on Patreon. This month’s word was suggested by Katherine: Festive. The color of my swatch might not be particularly bright, but it’s still nice to think of cheerful things in the depths of a grey winter (in this hemisphere, anyway).
I encoded the letters of festive in base 6, charted them as yarnovers on graph paper using several different layout methods, and then noodled around with the different decrease possibilities until I found a lace pattern I liked. I think this one strikes an interesting balance between symmetry and asymmetry.
As always, a chart for any craft that works from a grid is included at the bottom of the post.
Last weekend I was inhaling Mary Thomas’s Book of Knitting Patterns. (I was in a rush as I’d borrowed it through Interlibrary Loan and didn’t have it for long. I’ll be buying a copy of my own!) One of the things that struck me was her section on knitted filet lace. Filet lace (also known as lacis) has interested me for a while as being an obvious thing to do with my secret code grids. The example I’ve seen in person was amazing! This is just a subsection of it:
Basic filet lace starts with the netted grid; squares are filled in with darning. This has extra embroidery aside from the basic darned netting.
Filet crochet was invented in imitation of netted filet lace and can also be quite beautiful.
Knitted filet lace has mostly been kind of awkward. The filet lace in Mary Thomas’s book really isn’t what I’m looking for (the open squares aren’t really open – they have a horizontal bar through them). Jackie E-S has a method that looks really nice, but I haven’t learned it yet.
I was fiddling around with the Mary Thomas method and came up with this variation on how she made open spaces. My variant actually produces open squares instead of half-squares. I haven’t been able to work out how to knit filled squares that don’t distort the fabric, though. Still, I’m going to share this with you because I think it’s interesting in its own right. The key is to decrease/bind-off stitches before knitting them.