View Full Version : Lace is kicking my butt

09-24-2009, 07:38 AM
Do you think some people just aren't cut out to knit lace? I consider myself an average or above average knitter; I can do fairisle; cables; seaters and most anything required of a pattern, eventually. BUT I CANNOT FOER THE LIFE OF ME DO LACE.

I'm on vacation and decided to try a lace shawl pattern, my duaghter is getting married next year and I want to make a shawl for her. This was to be a practice run.

I have made 5 attempts to start this shawl, each time getting well into it before discovering I am horribly off the chart. NEVER ending up with the correct number of stitches ath the end of a repeat. The designer is on Ravelry and I am sure I have driven her crazy with emails, I couldn't have a better resource. She answers every question and the chart really isn't that complicated.

But I just can't do it!!! Do I just declare defeat or does someone out there have some magic fairy dust they could send my way.
:waah: :waah: :waah:

09-24-2009, 07:47 AM
The only advice I could give you is practice, practice, practice.

When I started lace, with a very easy lace pattern, I got thrown off the chart a few times and had to frog many many times, I didn't count the times. Until I discovered life lines. They help tremendously in the beginning.

Then I just got addicted to lace, almost everything I knit is lace. I like lace for the open texture.

It's true that in the beginning it's everything but easy, but when you're addicted to it, or got used to it, it becomes much easier.

I suggest you do a few small lace projects to get the hang of it, with a lot of different lace techniques, something like dishcloth, then you start the shawl.

09-24-2009, 07:55 AM
I have always wanted to try lace and bought a book about it. I hope you use lifelines. From friends who have done it they use reusable tape and move it up as they completed each row. What is a seater?

09-24-2009, 07:55 AM
Lace is better and smarter than most of us!!

No...it isn't....it is just like a two year old and needs your constant undivided attention....

For me...once you get the hang of the pattern, it goes A LOT easier...but that doesn't mean there wont be mistakes....

I spent 3 hours mid way through a shawl on one pattern...I was fine leading up to it...and fine the rest of the way through...but that one night...I had a bit of a headache...and it just wasn't happening for me...

My best piece of advice.....LIFE LINES.....

09-24-2009, 08:01 AM
For the sake of lace, use lifelines.

I now dont use them anymore, mostly because mmmmmm (malabrigo) doesn't take frogging easily, so if you make a mistake, you have to do with it, or unknit.
(I once noticed I made an error on the row and had to unknit 200+ stitches, yay)

09-24-2009, 08:29 AM
Yes, I have always used lifelines, got into that habit with cables and found it invaluable with the February Ladies Sweater.

09-24-2009, 09:03 AM
Lace knitting is very different from any other kind of technic. The mistakes are much harder to see and fix. Until you block it, it usually doesn't look very good, either. But here's what changed my working with it: I take the repeated pattern, over however many sts it should be, lets say it's a 10 st repeat. I cast on 20, plus a few on either side for a stable border, and practice the pattern a few times. THEN I cast on for my project. It really helps. You get used to the way it's supposed to work, you notice what mistakes you're making, and you only have to rip out 26 sts! Not the 500 lace projects always seem to have! Also, speaking of 500, I have about that many st markers and no matter how jumbled it gets, I use one inbetween every repeat of the pattern. If the pattern is only 6 sts or something, I do it between every 2 or 3 repeats, but that helps immensely. Or you just might hate lace knitting and not want to do it! You ever look at artlady's work? Unbelievable, so perfect. But she says she's not good at and doesn't like to do intarsia. So it's okay not to like or be accomplished at every kind of knitting!

09-24-2009, 09:29 AM
I agree that using st markers is the way to go. That way, if you forget a yo you can pick it up in the next row, or if you forget to k2tog you can do that on the next row too. When I do lace patterns I keep the count for each repeat by making any corrections on the p row . I know, that's cheating but it really doesn't show up that much. imho

09-24-2009, 10:05 AM
All good advice. You might also try reading through Eunny Jang's Majoring in Lace (http://www.eunnyjang.com/knit/2006/03/majoring_in_lace_introduction_1.html).

09-24-2009, 10:30 AM
Lece is knit one stitch at a time, just like any other piece of knitting. Doing some lace washcloths in something like peaches and cream cotton on 4 or 5 mm needles - starting with the simpler eyelet patterns is good practice, and gets you used to reading your knitting. Then move down in needle and yarn size....
Or just yarn size. I like lace weight yarn on 5 mm needles.


09-24-2009, 11:08 AM
Why are you getting off chart? Too many sts to finish it, not enough..? Many people do YOs wrong - they wrap and knit a stitch, then do the next stitch in the pattern. A YO is a wrap only, then you do the next stitch in the pattern, whether it's a knit, a purl, or a decrease.

09-24-2009, 12:00 PM
I wish I knew what I was doing wrong. This last time I completed 100 rows, stitch markers and life lines in place. Thought I was right on the money. Pattern looked right and rows seemed to be coming out spot on. Then I got to a place where you needed to count stitches, I was 23 stitches off.

The pattern designer has been wonderful about answering questions, but I just don't seem to be "getting" it.

09-24-2009, 12:49 PM
If you persist, after a while you will be able to "read" your knitting. In other words you will be able to look at the chart, look at your knitting and know that you are off the pattern soon after it happens. And when you do make a mistake you will be able to fix it a lot easier. Ravelry has a group that knits lace but with heavier yarns. As mentioned above, it may be easier to start with a heavier yarn. If you are up for a heavier shawl or blanket, Jared Flood's Girasole is terrific. I just knit one up and my wife gave it away to my son and his girlfriend.

Lisa R.
09-24-2009, 04:22 PM
I knit a lace shawl for my MIL last fall. I actually started in July, but throughout July and August it was knit 3-4 inches....rip it out and start over....knit 5-6 inches, rip it out and start over. I think I finally posted a thread entitle, "Lace is kicking my butt!" (I'm guessing it's a pretty common response! ;))

At any rate, the thing for me was to use LOTS of lifelines, and don't take them out even when you think it's safe. Use stitch markers, and count the stitches between them frequently.

I finally found myself chanting the pattern aloud, stopping at the stitch marker, counting, and then starting again. Eventually, after about 4-5 restarts, I began to get the hang of it, and to see what the pattern was supposed to be looking like.

There should be a "resting row" somewhere, where it's mainly just a knit row or a row that purls back across...use those rows to count the entire row. (I would count at the end of every row for a while.

Also, if you can read your knitting, you can go back and look at the chart and your knitting and compare to see where the mistake is. If the chart is K,K, P, P YO P or whatever, and you have K K P P P, you know you left of the YO.

Also, watch the videos here to make sure you understand how the yo's are supposed to look when a K or a P is following...that can make a difference.

Hope that helps. I say stick with it! You can do it! (But maybe put a simple project on the needles to knit in the times of stress when you have to put the lace down or go insane. ;))

09-24-2009, 05:40 PM
I wish I knew what I was doing wrong. This last time I completed 100 rows, stitch markers and life lines in place. Thought I was right on the money. Pattern looked right and rows seemed to be coming out spot on. Then I got to a place where you needed to count stitches, I was 23 stitches off.

The pattern designer has been wonderful about answering questions, but I just don't seem to be "getting" it.

What pattern is it?

09-24-2009, 05:45 PM
What pattern is it?
La Cumparsita it's on Ravelry.

It really is not a difficulty pattern, I am just lace dumb.

09-24-2009, 05:58 PM
Well, I thought I might could help by looking at the pattern and it's not free. So.....one of the mistakes I make when doing lace is not knitting a plain round in between the pattern rounds....but that won't be it...your pattern is knitted flat, right? This will through you way off and is easily done. Check your yo's and make sure they have been crossed with the purl row....otherwise, a row you're having problems with can be copied onto a post without violating the copyright, I think....

09-24-2009, 09:43 PM
I am not sure where I am off chart, the pattern looked fine but when I got the the end of the second repeat I was 23 stitches off. The purl row is the wrong side so it's not easy to miss.

I am going to just have to start over.

09-25-2009, 08:47 AM
This is the point where the lace design changes, correct?

09-25-2009, 08:55 AM
This is the point where the lace design changes, correct?

No, actually there are two more repeats before the design (rows 13-35) changes. But I figured that if I am 23 stitches off now it will be even worse after two more repeats. The odd part was the pattern LOOKED correct!!!

The next time I try this will be when I can sit at a table with the chart in fromt of me with NO DISTRACTIONS and take it one stitch at a time. I also need to check out the video on yo's because even though I have been doing them for eons it could just be I'm doing something wrong. Wouldn't that be akick; 30 years of knitting and I'm doing yo's incorrectly!!

09-25-2009, 03:57 PM
Well, in the beginning, you have to pay close attention not to be disturbed in any way while doing lace.

Some people need zero-distraction while knitting lace. Me, I'm used to getting distracted now, so that's not a big problem anymore, but in the beginning, I had to have all my concentration on the pattern.