Thursday, September 20, 2018

My First Knitted Lace Scarf

In January this year, Kate sent me a link to a beginner lace scarf pattern. It looked like something I could make. Thanks Kate!

By February 1st I had completed 8 inches of knitted lace. Two days ago, I finally completed it. That means I took nearly 8 months to complete a simple lace scarf! But all that doesn't matter because I completed my first knitted lace scarf. No loose ends.

I've always loved lace. But I loved making lace more. I've tried crochet lace and tatting. I wanted to learn bobbin lace once but couldn't find a teacher in Singapore. Knitted lace has always seemed out of my league because I suck at knitting. This year my knitting improved a little bit. I finally could knit without using my toes to create tension. So I thought I might be able to knit lace which in my mind is something very difficult. Fortunately the pattern Kate recommended is very simple. The edges are knit stitch and in between, there are yarn over and k2tog. Pretty simple yet I screwed up so many times.

My first mistake out of many is I tend to drop stitches when I purl or yarn over. So counting stitches is a must for me. My second mistake is I lose track of my rows. There are only 4 rows to repeat yet I sometimes forget what I'm doing. Later I used 4 coins to keep track. One coin means row 1... I took a break from knitting during Chinese New Year (yes, that long ago) and when I picked it up again, I made a huge mistake. I skipped a row or maybe two and I did not notice it. So what I did was for the first 10 inches or so, I did every row correctly and after that because of the wrong row, my pattern got flipped. I only noticed the mistake after I had knitted another 10 inches or so. I was so frustrated. I had no choice but to rip back to a lifeline I had saved somewhere in the 8th inch. And I had to start from there again. Still it wasn't smooth sailing. I eventually decided I needed a lifeline at the end of every 4 rows. That way I'm assured of some progress.

After I returned from my Bintan trip, I didn't feel motivated to work on my bag patterns. Instead I decided to finish my lace scarf once and for all. And I did it. I knitted until all my yarn was used up. Oops. It didn't occur to me to calculate if I have sufficient yarn so the scarf is a little short. Just 36 inches long.

From knitting this scarf I discovered I really dislike heavy knitting needles. I used a 5mm aluminium needle and it was heavy as hell. I bought this years ago when I didn't know much about knitting. If I were to buy a new knitting needle, I would go for something very sleek and light and probably circular because it's easier to insert a lifeline.

I haven't gotten better at correcting my mistakes. Within the same row, I do have the ability to undo some mistakes but once it goes beyond the same row, I'm done for. I've watched a lot of videos on fixing errors and honestly, I don't think I have the brains to figure them out. I'll just rely on my lifelines. I'm still terrible at counting rows. Many people have sent me links to tutorials and when I go through the tutorials, I understand how to count. But when it comes to what I've knitted, everything is squiggles to me. I have no confidence my count is correct.

One thing that bothered me about my scarf is the head and tail don't look the same. I'm not sure what happened. I don't remember how I did the cast on but I binded off using the knitted bind off which is the only bind off I know. Maybe I should have tried to look for another bind off method?

I noticed that my tension got looser as the scarf got longer. I think I prefer to be a loose tension knitter. Consistency is something I have to work on. I have gained quite a bit of confidence in my knitting and I believe I am ready for something more complex. In fact I've already started on a new lace scarf pattern and I've completed 15 rows so far. Based on my experience, I should be able to show you the finished scarf some time in 2019.

It'll never be cold enough in Singapore to wear the scarf so I'm saving it for future trips to I dunno, Korea? (it's the coldest country I've been to) Today I braved getting rashes modelling the scarf in the humid heat. Please excuse the face. It's no makeup day.


Kate said...

Congratulations, you finished! Now, you can do shawls and stoles. The hardest part about lace is keeping track of where you are.
Now that you have the scarf, I think a trip to Canada is in order.

Bethany said...

Well you've got me beat. I've never made a lace pattern. I've tried. I have not been remotely successful.

Jane McLellan said...

Well done!

Ely said...

Love lace, but I prefer to crochet it than knit it.

You would probably find a row counter helpful:

There are also the kind that live on the knitting needle but I find those annoying.

Projects By Jane said...

Hi Ely, I didn't know such row counters exist. I would get it if it could be worn as a ring.

Ely said...

Those exist! I have seen an advert on Rav.

Ely said...

There are digital and manual ring options.

Projects By Jane said...

Hi Ely, thanks for the recommendations. I found a couple at a local market. Free shipping!

Ely said...

Great! I was hoping you’d find something once you knew what to look for.

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