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Topic: Can't make lace to save my life!  (Read 1679 times)
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yberry
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« on: September 28, 2007 04:54:42 AM »

I am trying to knit a lacy wrap for my mom, and with every lace pattern more sophisticated than a basic yo k2tog, I lose count within a matter of rows and f**k it all up.
I tried using stitch markers to indicate where I should be starting a new pattern rep, but they end up getting in between stitches that need to be worked together.
DH says not to work lace unless I have the peace and quiet to concentrate, so I can expect to get around to it in about 20-odd years.

Any good advice other than "buy your lace"?
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smrjunior
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2007 05:40:47 AM »

try a lifeline.  once you've knit a row you know is right, thread a thin piece of yarn (or even thread) through the stitches on your needle.  that way, if you do screw up, you can take it off the needles and rip back to your last perfect row.  also, if you're losing track of which row you're on or skipping around between rows from when you look to the pattern, to your lace, and back, some people find it helpful to write the instructions for each line on a separate notecard and then flip to the next card as you finish each row.  and your stitch markers shouldn't end up between stitches that need to be worked together, because each lace repeat should be able to be worked independently of the others.  if this is happening, it should be a sign that something is wrong and that you should maybe rip back to your lifeline.
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redwitch
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2007 06:55:57 AM »

No no, some lace patterns do require pieces from separate repeats to be k2tog, then later when you make a new stitch, a yo to replace it and you have to move it again! Really annoying but sadly with that pattern and wool I really do need to have the markers and just move them out of the way every row with k2togs between repeats.

If you can figure out what you are doing wrong and stop it though, you won't need the markers! Try to do that.

Which pattern are you using?

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smrjunior
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2007 07:02:47 AM »

ew, that's yucky.  sorry for my misinformation, then, yberry.  although you might still want to think about the lifelines and notecards until you get lace-knitting down.
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yberry
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2007 07:06:59 AM »

As I said, every pattern I've tried except the basic yo k2tog...
I don't mix up instructions for the rows. But I do make mistakes within pattern reps in a single row. I find them before I carry them into the next row.
Problem is I make 'em so often that I never get past the first 4-5 rows...

And I always pick patterns that will give me grief with stitch markers because I want the lace to be homogeneously lacy and not look like separate columns of lace...

I guess it's time I learn to crochet, huh?
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soozeq
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2007 07:09:22 AM »

If you find the mistakes on the next row, it's fairly easy to fix them. If you forget a YO, just pick up the yarn where it should be. If you forgot a dec, turn the needle around and rework it as if you were on the right row.
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sue
yberry
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« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2007 07:16:11 AM »

But then the problem is I carry the mistake to the remaining stitches in the row... so that up to where the mistake was, all the stitches are wrong for the next row.
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soozeq
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2007 08:00:46 AM »

You might try a pattern that doesn't do a pattern st on the other side, uses a purl st only. There's many of those. And Feather and Fan has only 1 pattern row out of a 4 row repeat - the others are knit or purl only.
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sue
ThreadOrYarn
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2007 08:06:27 AM »

But then the problem is I carry the mistake to the remaining stitches in the row... so that up to where the mistake was, all the stitches are wrong for the next row.

Markers help with that - if you expect to be at a marker after doing 3 knit stitches but get to the marker after 1 knit stitch, STOP!! and figure out what wrong since the last marker.

And a tip from Myrna Stahman's "Stahman's Shawls and Scarves" book - tie a thread 'tail' to your markers, at least 3-4" long, the tail will get caught in the knitting but it stops the markers from sliding under or over the stitches next to it. (it also stops the marker from going far if it falls off the needle) If you need to do a K2Tog with a stitch before & after the marker, slide one stitch to the other needle, drop the marker (it won't go far if the tail is caught in the knitting) slide the stitch back, do the k2Tog and put the marker back.  You don't knit the tail but as you knit it'll get 'trapped' in the stitches, it shouldn't distort anything if you use something really thin like sewing thread for the tail and it pulls out easily enough when you're done with that marker.
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missknitty
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2007 02:55:46 PM »

Stitch markers are an excellent idea; I'm using markers for each repeat of the lace edging I'm currently experimenting with (multiple of 23 sts), and it's making it a helluva lot easier, I tell you. Wink
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plague angel
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2007 04:43:50 PM »

are your instructions written out or charted? i knitted branching out from knitty with written instructions as my first lace thing and swore i'd never try it again it was so hard for me to keep place in the rows. i'd be checking back at the istructions every few seconds and still messing up! when i got over my fear and tried it with charts instead of written instructions it was so much easier. something about charts makes it easier for me to see where i'm up to in a row.
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crumpet79
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« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2007 04:57:02 PM »

Or perhaps try a really really basic lace stitch to start off with - one with a short repeat that's easy to remember.  I whipped up a scarf in faggot stitch which is the easiest most basic lace stitch I could find.

CO any multiple of 3
Every row:  k1, yo, k2tog

Good luck! Grin
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zeeblebee
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2007 06:31:01 PM »

I find charts easier to use as I can be reading the knitting below the current stitch I am working on as I go, to make sure all is working out. Of course, YMMV, but it might be worth trying a short, charted lace repeat- even as a swatch with no purpose (so the columns don't bother you) to warm you up, or some facecloths for christmas presents.
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infantkittensyringe
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2007 08:22:46 PM »

Don't give up! The first lace knitting I ever did was a big lace stole and it was a commission for a very picky knitter. I thought I would throw myself out the window I had to rip it out so many times. I forbade my boyfriend to speak to me while I was knitting it. I cried. I called my mom. I lifelined obsessively and counted after every ten stitches (I recommend this highly - it is slow and tedious and sucky but you don't have to do it forever) and cried some more. Some where in all of this, my brain figured out what certain things like left slanting decreases and right slanting decreases looked like. And then, one day, I had one of those demented knitter's epiphanies - I totally knew what I was doing! I could look at my work and see where mistakes had been made and I could pick back and fix them, and after awhile I could go many many rows without screwing up. Eventually, I even allowed my boyfriend to speak to me again.
Now, I will never ever go back. I love lace, more than cables even and regular ol' knit/purl just does not thrill me. Keep going and one day you too, will have the knitter's equivalent of a religious experience and be born again. You will walk amongst mere humans and think "Hah! You may be able to balance your checkbook, but I my friend, can make lace with two sticks and string! Cower, brief mortals!" (Now if I can just figure out fair isle...)
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« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2007 09:55:58 AM »

I agree. I had thought to make a beatuiful lace cap /sweater for a baby gift, thinking I could knit lace. I had no idea! LOL I ripped it out so many times I gave up. Then I decided to knit branching out. Ripped it out about 50 times. Eventually I did make it! I think the note card thing is BRILLIANT (for me!) and I agree, make swatches, like wash clothes. Find a lace pattern you "get" and adore and then make the stole. You'll not be wasting your "good" yarn and you'll get to sample many lace patterns. Oh and you could always go to your LYS and ask for help?
« Last Edit: September 29, 2007 09:56:35 AM by Gomerriffic » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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yberry
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« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2007 08:21:33 AM »

I just wanted to share that I tried working with a chart, and it really works for me. Having the pattern in a graphic form helps me use the previous row to see where I am.
I am not going to attempt any especially daring laces yet, but now I have much more hope that I will manage before my kids all move out...
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"That paper cut is really going to snag on my knitting." - Y. David, Nov. '07
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Gomerriffic
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« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2007 09:18:48 AM »

Congrats! I'm glad you figured it out!
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