So when I finished Leafy (aka Branching Out), I never did give it a good glamour shoot.
This was the first real lace project I started, so I was pretty much a lace idiot at the beginning. Maybe talking about my mistakes will help someone out there avoid the same thing.
Lesson One: It's all about YOSo what happens when you get to the end of a row, and although you have symbols left on the chart, you have no stitches remaining on the left needle with which to knit them??
Ahem. You have to CALMLY figure out where you went wrong. Now, I have some chart-reading notes later that may help you avoid this happenstance. But I found that in my case, the problem almost ALWAYS was that I forgot to do a yarn-over somewhere.
Since this design is vertically symmetrical, it's usually pretty easy to tell where you missed it:
In fact, it's so basic that I almost didn't do this post, but then I thought...HEY, remember the first time you fixed a YO? You were so stinkin' impressed with yourself! Like it was a big deal!
Well. It WAS a big deal at the time. It arose from much thinking and consternation rather than Googling. So maybe I can save you some of that consternation.
Let's clarify here. Two rows before this one, where I've frogged back halfway, I missed a yarn over. One row before this one, a purl row, I would have purled that YO and ended up with a stitch on the needle where there is no stitch right now. It would have looked just like the one to the left of the center line, like so (click to embiggen):
Stick it on the left needle, and we're ready to knit!
Lesson Two: Throw yourself a LifelineSo I'd heard about this nifty concept called a "lifeline" and even though I am perfect and would never need to rip back (BWAHAHAHA), I thought that if a lifeline was good enough for Regis Freakin' Philbin, it was good enough for me. So I pulled out some pearl cotton and a large tapestry needle and put one in, thusly:
Here's the lifeline after one row is knit:
I have since heard the BEST tip. If you're using interchangeable needles with that little hole through the shaft, you can just thread your pearl cotton (or similar fiber) through that hole, knit across the row, et voilà, your lifeline is threaded!
So what's it good for? OMIGOSH, I MADE A MISTAKE (i.e., Heather missed a YO) FIVE ROWS BACK! To pull up the stitch, I'd have to somehow pull it through a k2tog, a p, and a sl2-k-psso among other things?? HEAD EXPLODES.
No. You probably can't just "pull up" that missing YO if it's that far back. This is more likely to happen earlier in the lace, when you just have a chart and a few rows of lace that don't "look like" anything. Once pattern understanding happens, you'll likely have caught that mistake earlier (see lesson three). So, if you have a lifeline, you do a slightly-less-scary-but-still-unnerving thing instead:
You take your needle out and gleefully pull on that loose yarn until you hit pearl cotton!
Lesson Three: Respect your ancestorsSo what is this "understanding" the pattern you speak of? Well, for me, it has to do with two things: 1) knowing "where" you are in the lace while knitting across a row (for example, in this pattern, knowing that k3tog is making the top of a leaf, or knowing I'm in the center, and there should be a center vertical line going alllll the way up the design) and 2) knowing what stitches you are knitting.
DUH, you say, How can I knit a stitch without knowing what I'm kniting?
Let me explain #2. It's not the stitch you're creating, it's the stitches you're creating it WITH. Stay with me here. If I'm doing a k3tog, it matters very much what 3 I'm k-ing tog. If I'm supposed to be knitting a YO, k and a YO together, and I am actually knitting two k's and a k2tog, that probably means I missed doing two YOs! If I catch it at that point, rather than when I "run out" of stitches at the end of the row, or, heaven forfend, FIVE ROWS LATER, it's much easier to fix.
Here is where the chart can help you. You should be able to look at that k3tog you're doing and see from the chart what it's made up of. It's also helpful if the chart kind of "looks" like the lace you're knitting. The chart provided with this pattern wasn't helping me...I couldn't "see" the leaves. So I recharted it. (Disclaimer: I don't own this design, and this chart won't make that much sense to you without it, so go get it here! You're welcome to print this chart out or link to it so long as you don't claim it as your own. ALSO NOTE: I wrote the directions for sl2, k1 , psso WRONG in the key. IGNORE IGNORE IGNORE.)
I hope this helps someone!
|Lace is cool. But it's even cooler if you never have to rip it back!|
Hey! For more Finished Objects, with probably a much higher picture-to-blah-blah-blah ratio, head over to Tami's Amis for FO Friday! Or how about Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia? Or even Fiber Arts Friday at Wisdom Begins in Wonder?? Visit 'em all!