Monday, June 09, 2008

Your lifelines saved my life...

...or at least my sanity! Here is the beginning of my Mobius Scarf from Arctic Lace. See the white strings? Those are my dental floss lifelines. I've used them twice already and I can't thank all of you enough for the brilliant suggestion! I put them in every eight rows (on the straight garter stitch row) because that's the full pattern. I keep three in at a time because that seems like a magic number. The dental floss pulls out really smoothly when I'm ready to use it for the next lifeline.

The fact that I've needed those amazing lifelines tells you something about how well I'm doing with lace knitting. Clearly my powers of concentration stink. I think I have the pattern pretty well under control and then all of a sudden I'm short a stitch. I carefully tink back to the beginning of the row and I'm still short a stitch. I examine my stitches through a magnifying glass and I'm still short a stitch so then I curse and rip back to the lifeline. I don't foresee alot of lace in my future.

A lace question: this scarf isn't as open and airy as I thought it would be from the photo in Arctic Lace. Would moving from Size 3 needles to Size 5 needles make it more the way I want it? Or would it just look stupid? (Please don't tell me to knit a swatch and see; that's just torture for me.) Or can I stretch it enough when I block it to make it lacier? I'm using Kraemer Sterling Silk and Silver yarn.

Thank you all again for throwing me the lifelines!

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Blogger Nicole said...

Blocking should help stretch the pace pattern open a bit. You will likely need to re-block every so often, but blocking does wonders for lace! It can take an otherwise clumpy and unattractive pile of knitting and make it into something wonderful. For an already lovely piece like your scarf looks like it's turning out to be, it should help define the lace stitches. (I love knitting lace, personally.)

Good luck and have fun!

7:25 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

*that should be "lace pattern," not "pace pattern." I think I need to proof-read before hitting "post comment."

7:26 PM  
Blogger Nephele said...

Blocking lace is the magical part. All lace looks a bit like cheap, uncooked ramen noodles when fresh off the needles.

Blocking lace isn't like sweaters. You don't coax it gentle to the desired measurements. All that frustration it makes you feel while knitting it? You get even in the block. Lace gets blocked hard. All those little holes open right up and the stitches line up and behave themselves like you always knew they could.

In other words: keep knitting. It'll be fine.

7:51 PM  
Blogger Penny said...

Blocking is a miracle worker for lace! I'm not familar with the yarn you're using, but with Zephyr Wool Silk, KnitPicks Merino laceweight, and Fila di Crosa Baby Kid Extra, I've always used size 4 needles with good results. Just as a point of reference, I usually can use the needle a pattern calls for and get gauge, so I'm neither too loose nor too tight a knitter. If you are a looser knitter, then size 3's may be best for your lace knitting.

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Cathy said...

I tend to like my lace a bit more airy--for regular laceweight, I usually knit it on 5s. And blocking will help, so don't be discouraged yet. :)

11:43 AM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Okay, so I'll block this scarf "hard" to open it up. It's not that I don't like the way it looks; it just doesn't look quite the way I had pictured it. I chose the pattern because it was so light and airy in the photo.

However, because I'm a tight knitter, I think I'll move up to Size 4 or 5 needles for the next project (and there will be a next one since I need to use the precious Quiviuk and this scarf is a "dry run" for that).

Nicole, don't worry about typos--I actually read "pace pattern" as "lace pattern" anyway. The brain compensates. And thanks for saying the scarf looks lovely. I'm coming to like it more and more, mostly due to the lifelines that keep me from hating it.

You'll all be proud: the most recent time I lost a stitch I was able to tink back and fix it without ripping down to the lifeline. I think just having the marvelous dental floss helps me relax and be a better lace knitter.

4:06 PM  

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