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Monday, July 24, 2017

Why I knit lace

I've just realised it's 10 years ago since I received the book that ignited my love of lace knitting. The book was Jane Sowerby's Victorian Lace Today



I had done a couple of very easy lace patterns before I got that book but the patterns and photography in Victorian Lace Today was simply stunning! I only knitted two patterns from that book: a shawl for me and a shawl for my Mum. But that was enough to give me the confidence to go on and start designing my own lace patterns.

As I said, I'd only knitted a few very simple things when I got that book. I'd done a couple of dish cloths in simple lace patterns I found in a magazine and I'd knitted a shawl from an American magazine. My first obstacle was to work out how to do a yarn over (or yarn forward). The written instructions in the magazine I was using was aimed at English style knitters and didn't make sense to a continental knitter like me. I looked in a big knitting reference book I had but I still couldn't work it out. I then discovered www.knittinghelp.com and found a video which demonstrated how to do a yarn over the continental way. That was it! I was off.

I was a bit daunted by the lace charts too but I realised that I'd spent years knitting from fair isle charts and that lace charts weren't any different. It was only the symbols that were different. I'm a very visual person so I must admit I prefer to knit from charts. However, I know not everyone does, so my patterns include written instructions too.

Once I started lace knitting, my confidence grew quickly as did my skill level. I challenged myself to knit more difficult patterns which in turn improved my confidence.


My 'Victoria' shawl

The first pattern I knitted from Victorian Lace Today was a shawl with a knitted on edging. It was the Victoria Shawl which I knitted for my Mum. Learning how to do the knitted on edging with it's single, double and triple joins was a challenge and I didn't have anyone I could turn to for help. I didn't know about You Tube in those days (did You Tube even exist then?) and I didn't know anyone who was more experienced in lace knitting I could ask but I persevered and I was so pleased with the result. There was a bit of ripping out and bad language involved in knitting that shawl but I got there in the end.

When I teach workshops, one of the things I notice is how little confidence many knitters have in their abilities. Most knitters are much better than they think they are. They're also capable of knitting things they think are too difficult. It's as much about your mindset and confidence as it is about your skills.

There is so much help online now and most people have access to a computer, so finding help is fairly easy. If there's a technique you don't know I bet there'll be a You Tube video explaining it. Just do an online search.



On Wednesday I'm launching a new Facebook group - Love of Lace Knitting - and a new knitalong for August. The aim of the group and the knitalong is to help you learn lace knitting or improve your lace knitting skills. Sign up to my newsletter and you'll be invited to join the group on Wednesday. More details on Wednesday.

(You can request to join the Facebook group now - click here).

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