Crafts are my passion, Cats are my obsession

My crafting adventures, my cats, my dogs, my opinons - I never did keep a diary as a child, but I'm doing it now!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Urge to comment on lace knitting and pattern UPDATE

If you just want the UPDATE, scroll to the bottom of this post-

Ok. I have a twitter thing, but don't recall my user name on there or the password... So, I've pretty much abandoned it.

Instead, I post some of my short one or two line ramblings on Facebook. But, this comment - well, I'm not sure it would "fit" on FB. And even though it is craft related, I can't think of an appropriate group to post in on Ravelry. So, I thought I'd post here.

See, I think I'm getting spoiled. I mean, I get it that some people are nervous about learning new techniques, and sometimes you gotta sneak them in.. Like, when I first started crocheting pineapples. A former* friend who has crocheted all her life was working on a project using pineapples. I hadn't been crocheting that long at the time, only about ten years. Well, she insisted that "pineapples are really difficult to do", and only an *experienced* crocheter could handle doing them, that I shouldn't even attempt them. (*long story, really a dead issue, but with friends who do things like that who needs enemies?) Unfortunately, I bowed to her "wisdom" and resigned myself to never being able to do them, despite liking how they looked. After all, I wasn't a "full-time" crocheter, like she was, I do other crafts too. So I'd likely never have time to get to the experience level she had... Anyway - I've moped about my self esteem issues before. What ended up happening was, I crocheted a bookmark, that was called "Crystal Tear Drop". Turned out, once I really looked at it, it was a pineapple. I was tricked into finding out that pineapples aren't at all difficult, and I now have lots of gorgeous pineapple doilies in my house. :)

Anyway - lace is the same thing, really. Not difficult at all. Knitting with holes in it. I was shying away from lace, until I realized that a shawl pattern from Lionbrand, using Homespun yarn, was really a lace pattern - nothing to it!! Just knitting, plain and simple... it still uses knits, purls, yarn overs (which are just "pretend" knitting and purling) and some decreases. The only difficult part for me was reading the patterns. But that is no real hard thing - just read and follow one step at a time. (I personally found charts much easier to read, but again, had to get over that "fear" before I learned them - much shorter process though, and now with much more experience, I no longer fear any new knitting technique)

Now, for the spoiled part....

When I started knitting lace big time, I started out using an acrylic yarn, not quite baby weight, but not worsted weight (something referred to on the label as "baby sport"). It was sold for making lighter weight baby afghans. Cheap enough, and I knew I could find something afghan-like to make if I bombed at "real" lace.

I like that first stole - even though it is acrylic. I keep it for around the house use. And it looks pretty good, really... I now use thinner yarns, almost exclusively. Though, lace doesn't have to be limited to shawls and ethereal creations. It can be used to "dress up" a workhorse item such as socks, a sweater or even an afghan.

But what I always do now, is to use wool or wool blends, (though cotton would work too) so I can block the lace. Blocking makes the difference. I learned that early on, when I was crocheting all those pineapple doilies. An online friend convinced me that blocking wasn't hard to do, didn't need fancy equipment (though the equipment can help) and transformed the doily into something beautiful. Same is true of knitted lace. Blocking really turns a saggy baggy piece of knitting into a work of art. Really shows off the lace stitches and patterning, and helps to even out the stitches so your knitting talents can shine!

So, why the urge to write this today? I'm spoiled by the blocking of lace... Every morning, I check several websites that offer or point to a free pattern, that changes daily. It is all part of my morning wake-up ritual. Some people have coffee and read a news paper, or watch a TV newsy show, or read a spiritual or inspirational passage... Me, I hit the computer while I have tea...

Anyway, this morning, http://www.dailyknitter.com/day.php which points to a free pattern somewhere on the web every day, pointed me at a Caron freebee. http://www.caron.com/projects/ss/ss_ashley_vest.html Now, that vest might be to someone's taste - just not mine. That is fine- not what the issue is here. I mean, I don't have to like every pattern every day, and sometimes, I find things that I might like but never would have thought to look for... if that makes sense... Anyway, sometimes, even though a style may not appeal to me, a stitch pattern might, and I may go ahead anyway and keep the pattern because I might adapt the style or use the stitch pattern in something entirely different. But, today, I looked at that vest, and used the zoom/magnifier thingy, and discovered it was a relatively common lace pattern (different designers often give them different names, so I tend to forget that part, just recognize the stitch patterning). The only problem - they used their Caron Simply Soft yarn. Nothing wrong with the yarn itself - but... It is an acrylic, worsted weight, and even softer spun than the kind I normally use. So, rather than blocking out nicely, it is draping all soft and saggy and baggy.... The vest suits that sort of drape; but it kind of spoils the lace for me....

I'm getting spoiled.



UPDATE: if you are still with me, that is. Sock pattern has been written, and is currently being test knit by several volunteers from the Sock knitters email group. It should be up by the end of the week.

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