Saturday, February 11, 2006

Lace Knitting: The Battle Begins

Gyaaahhhhh! That's how I feel right now after casting on last night and struggling through Ene's scarf. I patiently wound my yarn (knitpicks Alpaca Cloud in midnight) into balls two nights ago. This task took me over two hours and I am convinced I need a skein winder. The night before the knitting olympics began, I checked my gauge. Good thing since I was a size 4 needle. Note to knitters all around, buying cheap needles is like throwing away good money. I didn't happen to have a nice pair of size 4 needles that are circular so I thought I'd just get the boye knitmaster ones where I could change out the cords and needles. They were inexpensive and my only option locally. Pieces of crap. They snag the yarn at the joins and come unscrewed. So today in complete frustration, I visited the scarf style kal blog for tips. One recommendation for a more suitable substitute was Knitpicks pallette or other fingering weight yarn. As it happens, I have some knitpicks essential in a nice fawn color. Now, this is actually a sock yarn but I believe it will work fine. Why am I switching yarns? Because I can' t continue to knit on those crap butt needles and have no LYS near me. The knitting olympics would be over by the time I got new needles in. So, in the interest of continuing my lace battle and competing in the knitting olympics, I am going to change yarn and check gauge again. I think I'll be able to use my size 6 circulars (the nice bamboo ones) with this yarn. Okay, they're 29 inches instead of 32 inches but I think I can make do. Note to self, buy some more nice circular needles in smaller gauge. I'll use the Alpaca Cloud later on the branching out scarf if Ene's doesn't drive me completely mad. My stitch count is off already and I'm definitely going to have my work cut out for me. Is there some secret to lace knitting that I don't know about? What in the heck am I doing wrong? Does anyone know of a lace knitting book or dvd that can help a complete lace doofus? It's like I follow the chart and end up with not enough stitches for the chart. Acck. Back to the drawing board for me. Wish me luck as I cast on with the new yarn and give this another go. I just refuse to believe that this is beyond me.

5 comments:

JustApril said...

I have an older set of the Boye Interchangeables, and until I used the little tools to tighten them, I had the same problems. As for a tips for lace, I don't know where to find any, but it helps me, when I'm doing a difficult pattern, I put stitchmarkers at key points. Even when I'm casting on so that I get the right number of stitches and don't have to count and recount. So there is a marker about every 10 stitches or 20, depending on the pattern. Then when I get into it, I put the stitch markers in the spots that would represent the *'s in the instructions for the pattern repeats, so that I don't loose my place - if that makes sense. Also lots of patterns have errors and the publisher will usually post the corrections on the internet somewhere

Anonymous said...

April beat me to it. The best tip until you're used to a pattern is to insert a marker at the end of every pattern repeat -- that way you don't get all the way to the end of the round before you find out your count is off (and then, insult to injury, have to locate the mistake.)

I do hear that some lace knitters run a "lifeline" through all the stitches at intervals. This is a length of yarn that you just slip through all the stitches while they're still on the needle, not knitting it, just letting it run through the row. If all goes well, you can just slip these out at the end. Frogging lace is a bitch, though, and if you have to, at least the stitches are all safe on the lifeline.

Good luck -- Altius, whoosichius, Fortius! -- rams

Mandella said...

Markers and lifelines really help. I count the repeats on a kacha-kacha counter and mark the centre sticht, if that's any help.

Apart from that, try to relax, although I know with the pressure you're under it's a fat lot of good me saying that.

knitncycle said...

Thanks for the advice ladies! I likely won't finish this project in time for the end of the knitting olympics but I'm making it my personal goal to at least get it figured out and get as much done as possible. It ain't over till it's over!

sandy j said...

Ha ha ha. I hand wind my yarn too. I'm too cheap to invest in a yarn winder. To buy one would mean less money for yarn...

It sounds like you have the determination to finish. Good luck!