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Knitting Lace Shawls-Tricks of the Trade

posted in: Fiber Arts, Knitting | 4

The Lonely Tree Shawl in Gotland Yarn
I once had a musician tell me the key to singing barbershop harmony was minding your own business, staying focused on your own voice, and not getting confused by all the other voices around you. I find this bit of advice holds true to knitting lace. While knitting the Hermaness Hat for Karen Templer’s hatalong, I did as much unknitting as I did knitting. The reason being that my mind was not focused on my knitting. I had a zillion things racing through my head at that time, and just could not concentrate. I eventually had to put the project down until a time when I could give it my full attention.

Gotland Lace Shawl

Two weeks ago, with a 28 hour car trip ahead of me to deliver my son to college, I felt it a good time to start a larger lace project. With Ginny’s inspiration, I began the Lonely Tree Shawl pattern with my Gotland yarn. Experienced lace knitters have several tricks for keeping track of their work, which I followed this time to avoid unknitting:

Lace Gotland Shawl

  • I used stitch markers to section off the repeats in the knitting. This made it easier to count as I knit and should I make a mistake, I could easily go back and find the exact section where the mistake was made.
  • I printed a copy of the pattern and used a high lighter to mark of each row as I completed it, always ending on a wrong side row. This gave me a visual of my place in  the knitting pattern.
  • I repeated a little rhyme in my head each time I came to a yarn over or a ssk. I found when knitting the Hermaness hat, that my mistakes often came from forgetting the yarn over or forgetting to pass the knitted stitch over the slipped stitch. For this project, I stayed more focused during these portions of the pattern and only forgot the pass over once.
  • I considered using a life line, running a contrasting piece of yarn through the knitting every other repeat so that if I had to rip out, I would have a stopping point where I could find my place in the pattern.  I ended up not using the life line, as I was more attentive to my work and did not need to do so. Lace Shawl knit with Gotland Yarn

The shawl knit up quickly and I had it completed, washed, and blocked within about 10 days time. I love how the Gotland yarn has such a delicate feel to it. The shawl wraps your shoulders in warmth without hardly knowing it is there. I can see that I will have other lace shawls in my future!

I will have the shawl on display at our booth at the Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival the first weekend in October. If you are planning to attend, please stop by our booth to see our Gotland yarn.

Warm greetings to those stopping by from Ginny’s Yarn Along! Please leave a comment so I know you were here.

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4 Responses

  1. Amanda
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    Ah! Its nice to know I’m not the only one unknitting. I had the simplest pattern this past weekend and I thought I could knit away and be fine but we had company and I was trying to stay a part of the conversation, so wasn’t completely on task. Your yarn is beautiful! I grew up on a sheep farm in Lexington, VA (though more of the Christmas dinner kind and less of the lovely wool kind). Some times I get so homesick for my sheepies.

  2. Pom Pom
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    Gorgeous and PERFECT! Well done! This is my first Yarn Along and I’m having so much fun visiting everyone!

  3. laura
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    Love your shawl in black. I knit it in a golden color two years ago and I still love it. How fun to enter it in the Vermont Sheep& Wool Festival!! Good luck!!

  4. karen sue
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    What a great shawl!! I’m doing a vest and it’s a challenge to keep up with my pattern! I also marked the repeats. and used the life line, but when the little goodie bag got left behind with the yarn needle inside, I losy the life line and got messed up and man, that wasn’t good at all. You sat and knit a bunch at a time and that would surely help! Wonderful!