Tag Archives: lace

Lace

(This is part of a series of posts on different ways of hiding meaning in your knitting.)

Table of Contents: Embedding meaning in Your Knitting | Converting Words to Numbers | Making a grid | Asymmetry or Symmetry? | Converting grids into stitch patterns | Lace | Cables | Other Encodings | Summary of My Method | Addendum: Ribbing | Further Resources

Turning a grid into a lace chart can be very satisfying, but is also a bit more complicated. I’m going to present an introduction here, but not go into details, as this could involve a full article by itself.

If you want to knit lace from one of these grids, it’s obvious that the marked squares can become yarn overs. There are other considerations as well: do you want to have a plain row after every row with yarn overs? Do you want to knit garter stitch lace or stockinette? You also need to figure out where to put the decreases, because the location of the decreases will affect the appearance of your lace. The key thing is that you need the same number of decreases in your stitch pattern as you have yarn overs. Be prepared to swatch a lot to see what happens, but do try a lot of variations – you’ll learn a lot about lace and might get surprising and interesting results. (If you are keeping your code decipherable, you’ll want to have the decrease in the same line as its corresponding yarn over.)

This is the grid I worked with:

All these stitch patterns are multiples of 12. The return rows are all purl stitches, except that I knit one and purled one into each double yarn over.

Chart Symbols & Abbreviations:

knit symbol k knit
yo yarn over
k2tog Knit two together to make a right-leaning decrease.
ssk Slip one knitwise, slip the next knitwise, then knit two together through back loop. (Or otherwise make a left-leaning decrease.)
RT Cross the 2nd st in front of 1st st, knit the 2nd st, then knit the 1st.
LT Cross the 2nd st behind the 1st st, knit the 2nd st, then knit the 1st.
RTssk Slip each of the 1st two stitches knitwise, slip back to left needle. Cross the 3rd st in front and knit it; knit the 1st two stitches together through back loop.
LTk2tog Bring the needle behind the 1st stitch, knit the 2nd and 3rd stitches together. Knit the 1st stitch

Peace Lace: Swatch 1

In this first swatch, I started out by putting a decrease next to every yarn over in the chart, but then I moved them around as I swatched to make sinuous lines (also, I started six stitches over from the edge of the grid):

P4292279

Chart I made before starting knitting:

Row 1: k1, yo, ssk, k6, k2tog, yo, k1
Row 3: k3, yo, k2tog, k2, ssk, yo, k3
Row 5: k4, k2tog, yo2, ssk, k4
Row 7: k3, ssk, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, k3
Row 9: k4, k2tog, yo2, ssk, k4
Row 11: yo, k2tog, k8, ssk, yo
Row 13: k4, k2tog, yo2, ssk, k4
Row 15: k2, yo, k2tog, k4, ssk, yo, k2
Row 17: k4, k2tog, yo2, ssk, k4
Row 19: k3, ssk, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, k3

Finalized version of that chart, with an eye to making everything flow:

Row 1: k1, yo, k1, k2tog, k4, ssk, k1, yo, k1
Row 3: k3, yo, k2tog, k2, ssk, yo, k3
Row 5: k4, ssk, yo2, k2tog, k4
Row 7: k3, ssk, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, k3
Row 9: k2, k2tog, k2, yo2, k2, ssk, k2
Row 11: yo, k1, k2tog, k6, ssk, k1, yo
Row 13: k3, ssk, k1, yo2, k1, k2tog, k3
Row 15: k2, yo, k1, k2tog, k2, ssk, k1, yo, k2
Row 17: k4, ssk, yo2, k2tog, k4
Row 19: k3, ssk, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, k3

Peace Lace: Swatch 2

In the second swatch, I made most of the decreases line up vertically in the chart, swerving only to go around the yarnovers in the same line:

P4292280

Row 1: ssk, yo, k8, yo, k2tog
Row 3: k2tog, k2, yo, k4, yo, k2, ssk
Row 5: ssk, k4, yo2, k4, k2tog
Row 7: k2tog, k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, ssk
Row 9: ssk, k4, yo2, k4, k2tog
Row 11: yo, k2tog, k8, ssk, yo
Row 13: k2tog, k4, yo2, k4, ssk
Row 15: k2tog, k1, yo, k6, yo, k1, ssk
Row 17: ssk, k4, yo2, k4, k2tog
Row 19: k2tog, k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, ssk

Peace Lace: Swatch 3

In the third, I added in some twisted stitches for the fun of it:

P4282244

Row 1: ssk, yo, k8, yo, k2tog
Row 3: k2tog, k2, yo, k4, yo, k2, ssk
Row 5: LT, k2, k2tog, yo2, ssk, k2, RT
Row 7: k1, RT, ssk, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, LT, k1
Row 9: k2, RT, k2tog, yo2, ssk, LT, k2
Row 11: yo, LTk2tog, k6, RTssk, yo
Row 13: k2tog, k4, yo2, k4, ssk
Row 15: k1, ssk, yo, k6, yo, k2tog, k1
Row 17: k2tog, k4, yo2, k4, ssk
Row 19: k2tog, k3, yo, k2, yo, k3, ssk

If you would rather comment on Ravelry, I’ve posted this to my group as well.

Next post in series: Cables

The Secret Code of the Librarians

Back in April 2010, one of the Ravelry groups I belong to started an -along. There are lots of knit-alongs or crochet-alongs or spin-alongs out there – a group of like-minded people work on a particular project or kind of project at the same time, and cheer each other on. In this case, the Friends of Abbys Yarns (started as a fan group for Abby Franquemont’s work but continuing as a community as well as a fan group) started the Friends of Abby’s Yarns Spin and Knit Along for Lace, FOAYSAKALFL for short. The goal was to have spun yarn and knit it into a finished lace project by the end of 2010. Only, you know, the rules weren’t really that hard and fast. I’m still knitting.

I had some batts that Abby had made just sitting around, and so I thought it would be apt to use those. I decided to use my two Backwoods batts that I picked up at Sock Summit 2009 (photo was taken in late afternoon, so the color is off):

I finished my spinning and plying during the Tour de Fleece 2010 and ended up with about 595 yards of laceweight:

So, what to knit? At first I thought of making a cowl, but that ended up not appealing. Then I hit upon a brainwave: why not encode something meaningful to me? A significant source of numbers for me is my job: I’m a reference librarian. So I figured out the right numbers, worked out a way of encoding them (I had to leave any zeros out, unfortunately), and then started swatching. Some things needed adjusting, but the original numbers are still where they belong, which has the extra benefit that I can tell even more easily when I’ve gone wrong with my knitting.

I was lucky in that the two numbers I used each had their digits fit nicely in a 27 stitch wide pattern, though I can see some other ways to play around. I will have a blog post after I reveal the secret about how I worked things out.

In the meantime, here is a photo of my work in progress as of yesterday. I blocked it gently with steam from my iron. This is one corner of what will be a crescent-shaped shawl or scarf (depending on how far my yarn goes):

What’s in the works

I am theoretically rewriting my free pirate baby boot pattern.

I am also theoretically deep in the throes of designing and knitting a shawl. That’s going pretty well, but it’s being more finicky than I expected. I got about a quarter of the way, then frogged the whole thing. Then I charted a lot, and did some samples, and then started again with lots of life lines. Thank goodness for that, because I got more than halfway and had to frog another large chunk of it. Not only that, but I dropped down some stitches from there and worked them back up again (but at least I didn’t have to frog another eight rows). I’m making good progress on it, but I’m feeling a little beaten up by the whole thing. I’m charting and taking notes as I go, which is a good thing. I can tell I would never remember what I did otherwise.

I am also spinning for the FOAYSAKALFL (Friends of Abby’s Yarns* Spin and Knit Along for Lace). The idea is to spin a bunch of yarn for knitting something lacey, all to be finished by the end of 2010. I haven’t even finished spinning the yarn for the FOAYSAKALFL, but planning the design started to consume my brain today. I’ve even been sampling the stitch patterns for that and seeing if I can make them flow well. So far so good, and I’ve even been improvising some stitch patterns, which pleases me.

I like using stitch dictionaries, but there are some gaps in what I need for this pattern. Not going into great detail, but I need five different stitch patterns with a particular overall character, and with five different repeat numbers. I found one that was exactly what I needed, two more that just needed slight modifications, and have worked out the fourth. This gives me confidence that I can come up with the fifth on my own. This is all very satisfying.

And then, of course, there’s all my other works in progress. I periodically need to sit down and unravel the things that just aren’t going anywhere, so as to clear out the backlog and free my brain a bit. I have a suspicion that the time is nigh. (Interesting that this seems to happen in the spring or early summer.)

*a Ravelry Group.

Pinion hat pattern!

I’ve just posted a new pattern on Ravelry, the Pinion tam:

Pinion Tam blocked on a plate

I will donate all proceeds for Haiti Relief (after PayPal fees are deducted) from sales of this pattern through the last day of February. Money will be split evenly between Doctors Without Borders/MSF, Partners in Health, and the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund. Thank you very much for your help!


This lacy tam is worked from the center outwards. The design spirals outward and flows into a ribbed brim. It looks more complicated than it is–if you know how to knit in the round, purl, knit two together, knit three together, and make a yarn over, you can make this hat.

Both charts and written out instructions (in abbreviations) are provided, along with suggestions for modifying the brim size to fit.

Other materials required include a darning needle for working in ends, about a yard of smooth, thin yarn for making a lifeline, and a plate for blocking (about 10 inches or 25cm in diameter).

You shouldn’t need a Ravelry account to buy now.

Thank you!