I have always looked at lace projects in admiration. I love the way they look- the openness of the stitches, the patterns, the intricacies. I decided, being a “fearless knitter” to try lace several years ago. My first project was easy enough – a scarf knit in bulky weight yarn. It had a lace pattern in the center, so it wasn’t overly involved and I could follow the written directions easily. (I had a fear of charts at the time.)
My next lace project was Branching Out. It seemed like everyone took that on as a first project. I learned all about lace knitting by reading up on it. I learned about lifelines and finally took on reading charts, although I admit that most of Branching Out was completed using the written directions. Branching Out took roughly 4 tries to get started and I used the lifeline numerous times.
Then, about a year ago, my stepfather passed away. For his memorial service, my mom borrowed a black silk wrap from my aunt. She mentioned wishing she had a black wrap for general use and I decided to knit one for her. At a fiber festival last year, I found a skein of Alpaca With A Twist Fino in black. I held on to the yarn, figuring I could make her the wrap for Christmas this year. And I started searching for the right pattern. It took me a long time to find the pattern I wanted and I finally settled on the Shetland Triangle. It was a beautiful pattern, about the size I wanted, and lots of people had recommended it as a first lace project. I boned up on reading charts (I had actually been getting lots of practice with some of the cable projects I was knitting) and then it sat for a long time, unstarted. I think I was totally intimidated. I finally realized that Christmas was approaching and I needed to get started if I planned to get it done by Christmas. I had no clue how long it would take me and I was really afraid it would be the only thing I would get done for Christmas.
I finally started. I was so pleased to realize that it was simple! I didn’t need lifelines! It went rather fast. I only knit in the evenings after everyone is in bed and there are days where no knitting gets done at all, and I had it done in just under a month’s time, while also working on numerous other projects. I love the end result and can’t wait to work on more lace. The pattern that emerged was amazing and I am always in awe over the magic of blocking lace. It grew and stopped puckering and, in general, became a beautiful, wearable piece.
But this project taught me one thing… I hate working with laceweight yarn! I find it to be annoying and it seems to tangle rather easily. I have the beginnings of arthritis in my hand and grasping that thin yarn is really hard on my fingers. I wish for more substantial stitches and a heavier end project, especially if knitting for myself.
So, I made a decision. I will continue to knit lace. But I will stay away from lace weight. Instead, I will knit with nothing lighter than fingering weight, and even possibly heavier. I want so badly to knit Ene’s Scarf, but will only consider doing it in a heavier weight yarn.
I am glad I have come to this conclusion, rather than suffering through more lace weight knitting. Instead, I can knit with yarn I enjoy knitting with, and I can knit a pattern I really like with a fabric that I like, too.
That Shetland Triangle? I do love it. I love looking at the pictures of it and realizing that I made that! But I doubt there will be a repeat anytime soon.