Monday, September 20, 2010

Magic! Or how to start your lace pattern

Okay, we have our garter tab so let's start the pattern

Row 1 always starts knit 2 for the garter tab, and has a knit one in the middle for the center.

So for the right half of the shawl, you will knit 2, yarn over, knit 1, yarn over and then knit the center stitch like this:

right side through yarn over shown
Then to finish, you will repeat the pattern of yarn over, knit one, yarn over:  then the garter tab of knit 2. 

This knit 2 will be at the beginning and ending of every row, whether on the return (purl back) row or the pattern row.   So when thinking about the pattern, just remember that every beginning and ending 2 stitches are knit 2 regardless.

Pattern Row 2 looks a little funky, as it contains more yarn overs.  I put in stitch markers around the center stitch so you can see how it works out:

so, the pattern is like this to the center: garter tab k2, yo, k, yo,k, yo, k, yo, marker, center stitch, marker
Your stitches will be loopy and non-uniform.  This is normal, and it evens out as the knitting gets larger.  Blocking makes everything perfect.

Pattern Row 3, you start doing decreases.  This lace pattern uses knit 2 together and slip one knit one pass single stitch over to do your right and left leaning decreases.

row 3, showing the garter tab, the yo, the k2 and k1
After doing the return row, this is roughly what your knitting will look like

cute little crescent shape
Pattern Row 4 is worked the same as row 3, but the number of knit stitches increase.  So the pattern on the chart after the garter stitch and before the center stitch reads yo, k2tog, knit 2, yo, knit, yo, knit2, sl1 k1 psso, yo

Pattern Row 5 is where the pattern increase, and the shaping for the pattern below comes in.
garter tab, yo, k, yo, sl1 k1 psso (knit 5, k2tog, yo, k, yo)
This shows the increase and the beginning of the shaping.  It looks like the chart.  You can see how the decrease leans to the left, which will make up our leaf (or fern) edging.

Pattern row 6 introduces the way the pattern will be worked internally.  When doing an increase that is not on the edge, you will want the body of your fern (or leaf) to be right up against the decrease of the one below.  This makes a beautiful, subtle fabric.
Increase yo only happen on right for right increase, only on left for left increase:  garter, yo, k, yo, k, yo, k, sl1 k1 psso
You should be able to see the increase and lack of extra yo between pattern sections on the chart if you've been following it while reading this (you can save a copy off for reference :)

Pattern row 7 increases the same way as pattern row 3, so the edge near the yo that is handling the growth of the overall shawl does not get huge while the pattern inside does not grow. 

Pattern row 7 goes something like garter sts, yo, k2tog, k, yo, k, yo, knit 2, sl1 k1 psso.

This means that both sides of the leaf pattern have effectively 2 stitches (not counting the garter stitch or yo that separates the lace from the border) on each side of the center frond.  I keep it in mind that the pattern increase goes zero stitches, 1 stitch, 2 stitches, 3 stitches, and then the shaping decrease starts with the zero stitch increase on a new pattern row.

At Pattern row 8, we do something different.  This is our double decrease.

Your next pattern repeat is now at 3 stitches on each side of your center frond, and we begin the final decrease of the original leaf pattern.

Following the pattern up to the double decrease, we look like this:
see how the pattern on the row below leaves 3 stitches:  it was sl1 k1 psso, k, k2
We will slip one as if to knit, as we do in the single decrease sl1 k1 psso.
slip one as if to knit (do not knit it)
knit 2
the knit2 follow through
at this point, your decrease looks like this

pass single stitch over

completed left leaning double decrease

complete the row, purl back.

Now your knitting has the first repeat complete!!

Yay!  Well on your way!

Rejoice, reward yourself with chocolate, and be proud!  You've begun a lace journey that I hope you will enjoy!

I recommend printing out the pattern while reading the steps above.  Also, this mostly-finished piece should be a good reference:
center of finished lace piece, blocked.
I will be following along with this fingering weight yarn that I've started the instructions with, so I can give an approximate idea of how many repeats you can do out of 436 yards.  Plus, I'll have a blocking tutorial so that you can appreciate the beauty of what you've created.

Please let me know (in the comments or through email: marveloustoyATyahooDOTcom ... replace words with symbols) if you're trying this little project.  I'll help out as much as possible!

Also, I will be knitting a second one in DK weight Malabrigo as this progresses.  Stay tuned to see how it turns out.

mmm, silk & wool yarn porn :)

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