I am trying to knit a lace shawl, but I can't get started! The yarn is so thin, I don't understand the circular cast-on, and once I manage to get the stitches cast-on, I can't figure out how to distribute them to the different dpns without dropping a stitch or getting them twisted. i know I'm not the only one with this frustration, so can anyone out there help me?
Have you thought of using circular needles instead of dp? At my LYS meetings on Thursday, a lady just finished a lacey shawl and she did it on circular needles. Does the pattern require a particular kind of cast on? I tend to use long-tail and my circulars needles. Slow and take your time is the only advice I can give you.
--are you starting with 4 (or 6, or 8) stitches? try this:
take some waste yarn(about the same weight)-sock yarn say,or cotton (embroidery floss will do--cheap and easy to waste!)
using 2 DPN's, ANY cast on, and cast on 4 stitches, and make 2 or more inches of i-cord.
then, pick up real yarn, leave a 6 to 8 inch tail, and start your knitting. if you need 8 stitches to start, *K1, YO.--on to each DPN)
If you need an other number, do what works, increasing as needed till you have the correct count (4, or 6 or 8!) stitches on your dpn's.
the icord stem will help hold the needles (they will still be floppy, but less so!)
thread tail onto tapestry needle and thread it through all the stitches, (being especially sure you pass through the YO's.(up 1 "thread", down 1 'thread" with tapestry needle (do not pull tight.(do this once)
then Cut off the cast on of i cord. and unravel to "real yarn"
double check you've caught ever stitch, (and pass through each stitch again with tapestry needle. Then snug up tail yarn (into a nice, neat, tight eyelet). weave in tail.
You can also use a Magic Loop or 2 circ's once its time to start the real knitting... the i cord stem still is a help (but it can be shorter..1 inch or so )
Of Troy's I cord method is really good. What I do when starting with just a few stitches is to CO, then put them only on 2 needles, use a 3rd to knit with. This is much more manageable and as you increase and knit a few inches, add a 4th needle (and 5th if you use a set with 5) and rearrange the stitches. You can also do this with 2 circs; co, fold the circ in half so the sts are on both points and knit with the 2nd one.
sue- knitting heretic
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