Spring Lace-Along Week Two: The Practice

One week down and five more to go in the SweetGeorgia Spring Lace-Along. I’m making decent progress on my stole, finally making it to the actual lacey section. If you’ve been waiting on pins and needles to find out whether my math works out, I’m pleased to say, “so far so good!”

I haven’t confirmed the main colour yet, but a quick check of the mini skeins after working one strip of the lace pattern reveals that I’m right on track. 28 gram mini-skein and I’ve used up about 6.6 grams. That leaves me just enough for the remaining three strips in that colour.

When I wrote last week’s blog post, I had a moment. I realized how far I’d come since my first lace project years ago (almost 18 now; I think!). It was a circular yoke cardigan with a super-simple openwork pattern across the shoulders; a pattern by Ann Budd in an old issue of Interweave. Apparently, I like to punish myself because I took this first lace pattern in my second garment pattern ever and chose a fuzzy pink angora yarn. Hoo boy!

And it gets worse from there. My “gauge swatch” was simply knitting up some of the Stockinette stitch and while it sat hot on my needles, I took a ruler to it, and confirmed that my gauge “looked about right.” Basically, I was plowing forward and nothing was going to stop me. While I had to knit and rip and re-knit too many times to count and the result became an enormous tent after I washed it, that experience taught me everything I know today.

I learned to read lace.

Re-knitting many times gives one an intimate look into how stitches work, how things fit together, and how the lace flows. For example, at first, I thought I was just following a pattern of eyelets and leaning stitches (hey; I was a newb!), but I learned I was pairing each increase with a coordinating decrease. For every increase, there must be a decrease. I discovered how to discern a ssk from a k2tog so that I could track where I messed up in a previous row. I taught myself how to unknit those same decreases and re-create missed yarn overs without ripping back.

For every lace project, there must come a reckoning.

Or so says my inner guru. Haha! I wish I could find a picture of that dang sweater. I wore it to pieces.

Now, I teach you a ton of these tricks and more in my Becoming a Lace Knitter course on the School of SweetGeorgia (if you’re so inclined to become a member, it would be awesome to chat with you in the forums!), but the best, best, BEST way to learn lace?

Practice. Make mistakes. Muck it alll up. And re-do it. Practice, practice, practice. Because each time you do, your relationship with lace deepens. And then suddenly, one day, you can glance quickly at your lace chart and identify two rows below where you missed the yarn over.

Ok, enough chatter! Back to lace knitting. Well, first, tell me the best aha moment you’ve had in learning lace. Inquiring minds want to know.

PS – don’t forget to tag us on Instagram with shots of your beautiful lace for a chance at one of the amaaaazing prizes!  #sweetgeorgialacealong

PPS – Ha! Just found the pattern. It is Meringue Yoke Cardigan by Ann Budd from the Jan 03 issue of Interweave. I look back on that now and think, “How in the world did I think that was hard?” A sign of my lace growth? Grin!




About Tabetha Hedrick

Tabetha Hedrick, Design Director for SweetGeorgia Yarns, lives by the belief that joy comes when fully participating in the present moment. And that joy is ever so easy to find when immersed in the world of fibre! When not knitting, writing, editing, or researching, she fills the time raising two girls, two dogs, and one husband in Tennessee.

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2 thoughts on “Spring Lace-Along Week Two: The Practice

  1. Nancy Lee says:

    For my first lace attempt I saw a shawl in an old knitting magazine that I loved (called Rose something). I could understand knitting charts already and thought how hard can this bee. Well!!! after about a foot long section of not seeing anything like the magazine photo and thinking that just the minor stitch count adjustment should not make THAT big a difference….I read somewhere that some charts are knitted right to left (just like reading English) and some left to right. Turns out this lace chart should Not be interpreted English reading style. So mid-way in the shawl I reverted to correct interpretation. Low and behold there was some resemblance to the photo despite my random stitch number corrections….I still wear this handspun, hand dyed, soya silk scarf with love.

    1. Oh my gosh! That sounds SO frustrating!

      I did NOT know charts were read in different ways. Well, I mean, other than flat vs circular chart reading.

      Hand-spun silk that you dyed yourself – wow! So, So impressive

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