After practising my lace knitting on small squares, I decided I’m ready for a real lace knitting project. I will be going to a wedding in a week’s time, and I need a shawl to go with my mustard yellow silk dress.
I chose the Parasol Stole from Ravelry, as it looked like a relatively straight forward one to begin with, with plenty of easy knitting in between the lacy bits. For the yarn I’m using Juno Alice sock yarn in French Gray, which should look lovely with the yellow dress. It’s the first time I’m knitting with a Juno yarn and it is just gorgeous. As you’d expect from a yarn made of baby alpaca (70%), silk ( (20%) and cashmere (10%), it’s a beautifully soft and sensuous yarn (those ingredients do not get any more luxurious than that!). Too nice for socks but ideal for scarves I think.
I’m enjoying the Parasol Stole pattern: the lacy areas are complex enough not to be too repetetive, but they’re separated with ribbing which make it easier and faster than full-on lace. Funnily enough, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is easier for me to knit a lace pattern that is not too simple, because it is the simple repetitions that make my mind wander, making me lose track of what I’m meant to be doing. If you’re having to follow a chart more or less constantly, then my mind is more focused on the pattern and I don’t end up thinking of something completely different.
As I know I need all the help I can get, I’m making a liberal use of stitch markers and I also decided to look up the lifeline technique, which I have heard a lot of, but didn’t actually know what exactly it was. Luckily I found a very helpful video that demonstrates the lifeline technique on the Knitting Help website (it’s a good website and includes all sorts of useful knitting videos). And once you’ve seen it done, it’s really easy and straight forward. I’ve had to use it once, but as I’ve got more used to the pattern I haven’t been making too many mistakes, at least not ones that I haven’t been able to fix on the go.
So all in all, my second attempt at lace knitting has been far less painful than I thought. It really has been worth the time to practise it on small samples first, before launcing into a full scale project. It also helped that I spent some time learning the pattern on a swatch before casting on the project itself.
Alas, the shawl is not going to be ready for the wedding, I’m not even half way through. Unusually sensibly for me I decided not to spoil the project by endless knitting in a frantic attempt to meet the deadline.