Tigger: I decided to make that square into a bonnet and I’m knitting this to go on the front. It is a Sunday bonnet so I thought it would be nice to have lace but I couldn’t remember how to do that.
Me: Well, lace is pretty easy. You make holes by doing a YO and then when you knit that in the next row it leaves a hole. You need to do a decrease to match each YO so you still have the same number of stitches.
Tigger: (looks like she’s mulling this over; examines her knitting)
Me: So if you wanted a line of little holes you would do K1, YO, K2tog, YO, K2tog, all the way across the row. And then knit the next row.
This is more or less how our conversation went. The bonnet has a row of eyelets. The next thing I know, she is knitting a matching scarf doing eyelet rows with 2 rows of garter stitch between them.
Then we talk a bit about how you can design lace patterns by working out where the holes are going to be. I mention that in garter stitch it doesn’t much matter which way your decreases lean but if you did it in stockingnette you’d want them to lean a particular way because that forms part of the pattern. We stick with garter stitch. I go dig some small ends of fingering and lace weight yarns out of my stash for her.
She starts another scarf with a row of eyelets at the end. I grab a graph paper index card* and show her how you could put the holes in a diamond pattern and fill in around them by placing the decreases (slanted lines) and knit stitches (straight lines). I actually do this wrong the first time, temporarily forgetting that you read a chart right to left because she doesn’t appear to be really paying attention.
She tries this. I then notice my mistake and rewrite the chart, putting in plain rows in between. She knits until she runs out. This is going to be a headband because it isn’t long enough for a scarf. (You do all realize that the bonnet, scarf, etc are for DOLLS, don’t you?)
I think you can see where the first chart didn’t work but then it was sorted out. And she finished off with a row of eyelets. She had JUST enough to cast off. This needs a good blocking, BTW, to really show off the pattern.
So now I need to find my copy of the Dolly Faroese Shawl pattern from Heartstrings because there is probably enough of Ray’s laceweight left (without breaking into the full skein) to knit one of those.
So, for all of you knitters who are scared to knit lace, go back to the beginning and read my little dialogue. That is it. More or less. And you don’t need a complicated pattern or anything to try it out. Get yourself some yarn and some needles (lace is usually knit loose; that first scarf isn’t but the second one is a better match of weight of yarn to needle size). Cast on a bunch of stitches. Knit. Put holes in your knitting. The only rule is to have a decrease for every YO. You can even play with where you put it to see what effect you get. Knit scarves for all your teddy bears. Or knit scarves and give them to the charity shop because you are embarrassed about them. Or knit scarves and rip them out again. Just play!
Tigger tried to say that what she was doing was really different from my “complicated knitting” (so named because I have to pay attention to it and can’t knit it when I am talking to people; thus a contrast to things like stockingnette socks). So I got the pattern and showed her. She admitted that there was nothing on that chart she couldn’t do though she wasn’t going to try for a while. Part of that is to do with the size of the project. A doll scarf is something she can actually finish. (And she still has a UFO problem.)
*Cassie finds these in her local branch of Staples.