05 September 2013

6 myths

I've been reading a lot of these lately and it's just put me in a debunking mood! So bear with me while I ramble on about 6 common lace knitting myths (you can see more about some of these along with pictures of swatches and all sorts of good stuff in my Craftsy class!).

Myth #1: There's no need to swatch because it doesn't matter how a shawl or scarf fits.
Wrong! You should always always swatch and block your lace patterns (this is called a "dressed" swatch), if only to see how you like the fabric you'll be producing with the needles and fiber you've chosen. Also, since lace never looks all that great before blocking, you'll be giving yourself a boost of knitting energy halfway through your project when your lace piece looks like something the cat dragged in. Just take a look at the loveliness of your blocked swatch and you'll feel reinvigorated!

Myth #2: If I go down a needle size my lace will tighten up and look better.
Eep! No! First off, see above. Second, there are some fibers (baby alpaca comes to mind) where no amount of going down in needle size will ever make your unblocked lace look like anything but cat barf. To get that gorgeous airy lacy look, you will need to use larger needles than you think and block the bejeezus out of it. Ever wonder why your lace looks so uneven when there are peeps out there who do open beautiful lace and their stitches Look. So. Perfect. Does it just make you want to scream (or whimper)? :psst:blocking:psst: So use those bigger needles, and if you don't believe me? Block it. :)

Myth #3: There's no need to block.
Wrong! Again, see above for starters. For lace especially, blocking is magic! But honestly, every time I get a certain online store catalog, I cringe looking through the projects. One or two of them might be blocked, but I can tell from the lumpy bumpiness (even in straight stockinette stitch) that most have never seen water. Your knits need to be wet all the way through and petted into shape. It makes them feel good. And when they feel good, they make you look amazing!

Myth #4: One square in a chart equals one stitch used.
Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzt! Wrong! I could have twenty chart squares in a row and only use 5 stitches! (Multiple yarnovers anyone?) Conversely, I could have two chart squares in a row and use 10 stitches with a couple of handy k5tog symbols. So when you are counting to make sure you have enough stitches, count the number of stitches used and not the number of boxes in the chart row.

Myth #5: The repeat lines in a chart are for stitch marker placement.
Nope. Those are for marking repeats only. You can use them for marker placement (I do!) if you keep this in mind: they may move around and you might have to borrow stitches from the next repeat from time to time (especially when there's a double decrease in that row). Or they might even move around from chart to chart within the same pattern. If your markers end up needing to be moved, this does not constitute an error in the pattern.

Myth #6: The black boxes labeled "no stitch" in the chart key are slipped stitches.
=8-0 Wrong-o. There is absolutely no stitch there. Nothing. Nada. Those "no stitch" symbols are there to keep the integrity of the chart so that you can see how your stitches line up in patterns where the stitch count changes row to row. Just ignore them. They aren't really there.

Do you have any pet myths that need debunking? Let me know! This was kinda fun. ;)

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Blogger lynneUSA said...

Excellent blog, thanks. Really looking forward to taking a class with you in Atlanta.

4:57 AM  
Blogger MaddyP said...

First thing in the morning, and I already feel smarter. This was great! Thank you! Now I'm off to work on my lace sweater....

6:59 AM  
Anonymous skeindalous said...

I think the first and biggest myth is that lace knitting is too hard for normal people. For experts only.

7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about lace knitting is hard?

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Holly said...

Fabulous post! Especially love the points about blocking, and one square not always equaling one stitch.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Can we address the idea that lace knitting is addictive and results in the knitter not getting enough sleep? Or are you specifically looking for false ones?

5:57 AM  

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