Is Starshower the new Honey Cowl? Only time will tell (but it looks good).

In Which We Play Lace

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Dear Ann,
I am loving knitting this lace edging. (As it turns out, it is Elizabeth’s Lace Lattice, not Mary’s Lace. The book is Nicky Epstein’s Knitting on the Edge.)
Knitting unfamiliar lace is like walking through a maze with directions but no map. The pattern is telling you, turn right, turn left, walk straight–WHOA–stop–turn around…..After you’ve knit a few repeats, you start to see what the landmarks are, creating a map in your head. I am at the stage where I haven’t memorized it yet by any means, but I see the plan and recognize the parts. I know that experienced knitters are at that point just looking at the swatch, but I need to knit a few repeats to know which end is which.
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Across the top of the swatch you see the bass line. (Metaphor Switch Alert!) These 7 stitches are like the tuba section in the marching band, going oom-pa-pa through the whole piece. No matter what else is going on, every RS row starts with sl 1, k2, and then 2 yo, k2togs. On the way back, you purl the yos and knit the other stitches.
The rest of the parts are also pretty simple when you break it down. (Break it down now!) On the left you see the first row, which is formed with yo, k2tog eyelets–in other words, the tubas get a solo. Then you knit 4 rows of garter stitch.
Then you get to the Cool Part. Watch! Be amazed! It’s very Mary Walker Phillips-ish. Not so much knitting as weaving or braiding.
On the next row, row 6, you do 4 yarnovers between each stitch, all the way back to the oom-pa-pas.
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Yarnovering at this order of magnitude makes the row very tight. But not to worry. It’s not like you have to knit them or anything.
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Because on row 7, after the oom-pa-pas, you drop all the yarnovers, and slip all the knit stitches between the yarnovers. Now it’s not tight, but it’s messy. Releasing the quadruple yarnovers makes the stitches very long.
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Row 7 is a multi-event row. Before you’re done, you have to put all those sloppy elongated stitches back on the left needle. Now comes the SUPER EXCITING PART. It’s Coltrane! Stay with it.
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You slip stitches 5, 6, 7 & 8 over stitches 1, 2, 3, & 4…
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…then you knit them immediately to stabilize them in this twisted position. Then you do the same thing with the remaining 8 elongated stitches. The key here is to keep all the stitches in order despite the funkadelic situation. Focus!
Now the fun is over until the next repeat. You work 3 more rows of garter stitch and oom-pa-pas. You’re vamping.
A bonus to this pattern is that it’s completely reversible. I love the look of those criss-crosses so much that I don’t mind the fiddliness of rows 6 and 7. The effect is too neat to begrudge the effort. Let’s review:
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Can you dig it?
Love,
Kay

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54 Comments

54 Comments

  1. Ooh! Kay! The garter-Coltrane-garter part is “Indian Cross Stitch” from Barbara Walker’s Treasury #1! I’m knitting a throw in Filatura di Crosa “Multicolor” in this stitch. The mohair in that yarn helps tame the swoopy-loopy aspect– linen must be a lot slipperier. My hat’s off to you and your sweater– it’s going to be spectacular!!

  2. Hey, I recognized the Indian cross-stitch too! Your musical analogy is excellent; it will really help me swing those cross stitches next time out. . .

  3. Hey, I recognized the Indian cross-stitch too! Your musical analogy is excellent; it will really help me swing those cross stitches next time out. . .

  4. Ooh! Your lace is so pretty! I’m sure it’s going to make great edging on your sweater. I’ve only knit lace out of soft stretchy yarns (almost exclusively wool); what’s it like doing lace with linen?

  5. I absolutely BEYOND dig it! I dig it the most daddy-o! (just in keeping with your musical tribute!)
    The coolest!!!!

  6. that is WILD

  7. Poor, good ol’ garter! Doesn’t she deserve some jazzy moniker?
    Looks great!

  8. I love that your knitting has a tuba solo..my sister would be stoked to the max..

  9. It’s very pretty and it will look great, but do you think there might be a problem with the long criss-crossy stitches catching and pulling–snagging? That’s what I would worry about.

  10. For whatever reason (not enough coffee, total lack of experience with lace, brainpan otherwise occupied by Clive Owen obsession) I thought the swatch was knit horizontally, as in top-to-bottom in the picture. Lo and behold, it’s knit vertically! What a mind-bender. It looks gorgeous no matter how it’s knit, though — the magic of knitting!

  11. I did something similar as an alternative to seed stitch in a One Skein Wonder I made a year or two ago (when the OSW were all the rage). I love the long crosses with their openwork cable-ness.

  12. Preddy! Are you making yours wider for the sweater? Did I miss the resolution of the Great Lace Edging Question of 2008?

  13. ok, see…as a musician, NOW you’re knitting my language!

  14. Lurve the musical analogy. it makes me want to give this stitch a try. the messiness always deters me from trying the multiple YO stitch patterns but when you put it this way i may just try these out again soon! :o)ek.

  15. This is poetry! I often find myself thinking of music when I’m knitting a complex pattern, but it is a tour de force that you’ve actually captured it. The lace looks wonderful!

  16. LOL on the musical analogy!!!

  17. Hi
    I made a beautiful scarf like this with koigu!

  18. Hi
    I made a beautiful scarf like this with koigu!

  19. … and where did you say I should send the address for you to ship this to when you’re done? I love the color, I can wear the size, and since I do prefer things on the longer side, I’m so glad you settled on this lace edging.
    You don’t even need to worry about it being “just-so.” I prefer an irregularity here or there so others will believe me when I lie and say I made it for myself (actually, I’ll only say it’s handmade and will let them draw their own conclusions…)

  20. The edging is a wonder, and made even more wonderful with the musical analogy. One might even say it is ‘tubular to the max!’ But, then again, one might not!

  21. I’ve knit some of this before just to see how it would be… I’m rather relieved that I’m not alone in being delighted by all that yarnover-yness
    I enjoyed the musical metaphors – you’re like the Kandinsky of knitting.

  22. O yea for those long dropped yo’s!! Knit wider it would be such a great curtain out of that half linen/half mohair louet stuff! or a cone of black linen from a Henry’s Attic kind of place! WITH sticks and stones woven in!!!!! Yours is ladylike with a hippie edge.

  23. Please tell me I am not the only one who, upon reading “break it down now”, thought of Yo Gabba Gabba.

  24. I thought Coltraine played tuba? (just KIDDING!) (it was my brother, who majored in tuba) (no, really) (his senior recital was amazing).
    Was just gonna chime in that it’s a very fun scarf pattern, without the bass line (or with bass line + descant?) particularly with mohair or mohair-y blends (spell it with me, k-i-d-s-i-l-k-h-a-z-e)
    Parenthetically, (amber)

  25. Will have to try this sometime! Having never done it before, it’s still about as clear as mud, but it looks amazing! I could dig it, I think!

  26. I’m impressed that, even in these extreme close-up photos, your knitting still looks good. My knitting wants to be like that when it grows up.

  27. So afraid of the first-time lace but I lived to tell. Nowhere near as purdy as yours but respectable.

  28. Have that book. Have been pondering that lace for the better part of two years now. Please do post after you’ve worn the finished sweater a few times, about the snagginess or non-snagginess of that lace. Thanks!

  29. i am having flashbacks to late nights at the original knitting factory.

  30. Oh my, what a creative way to explain what you have knitted. loved it.

  31. ~snort~ It’s great!

  32. I’m married to a musician, so I hear craziness like this before and after all these years, it sounds like a normal conversation to me! Ha ha! Your sweater will be beautiful, melodious even, and you can say you played it, I mean, MADE it yourself! :o)

  33. Thanks Quinn for that comment. I actually went to a knitting party at the old Knitting Factory a while back, not quite how I remembered being there, but still fun!

  34. Love the lace.
    But the other stuff has me totally confused….
    I’m going to look it up in my book now.

  35. Wow! Now that’s just nifty, that is. I can’t wait to see the finished product. Thank you for walking us through it so musically!!

  36. Dear Kay,
    Now that’s what I call knitting on the edge ;-)
    Love,
    Maggie

  37. I have that book and have long admired that pattern. Sadly, I’m not musically inclined.
    All that surgery makes me weak in the knees just looking at it. I’m starting off with Nicky’s Berry Cluster II and will have to work my way up to the big band.

  38. I adore the jazz references! How perfect. I may never look at this crossed stitch concept the same way again! Thanks!

  39. Stephanie B – knitting at the Knit? Full circle!

  40. I can dig it!

  41. I can dig it!

  42. I took one look at that and quailed in the corner, that wasn’t knitting that was scary. But once you introduced the tuba and friends it all made sense :) Peter and the Wolf for the tentative knitter LOL

  43. I just gave up on a lace project but maybe I just need to break the pattern down into musical sections. I totally dig it.

  44. THanks for the foto-laden tutorial- very inspiring to see how that is done. Not so awful after all. The labels really helped, esp. since I was looking at it top to bottom instead of left to right. oops.

  45. Wait! Is this for that sweater that makes you fall over on the lawn when you wear it? Wow. Imagine what wearing it with this lace border will do! (Keep your wits about you on the driveway.)

  46. the lace work is just lovely

  47. Thank you….simple as that! I am loving my introduction to the wonderful world of knitting here. I am a “scarf maker”…about to launch ; ) You help me to feel brave enough to try! You all are amazing!

  48. very cool!

  49. Awesome. Just awesome. I love the music metaphor. Although, as a bass player, I wish you woulda thrown one of those into that bass line….

  50. I love edgings. And this makes me really love edgings. I will point out that the Coltrane rows are really fat, so you get a lot of bang for your fiddly buck.

  51. If we can change the tuba solo to bassoon, I’m totally with you!

  52. Dear Kay,
    I am so amazed that you don’t put yourself in the catagory of an “experienced knitter”. Such modesty is rare these days.
    Your lace is “doggone” lovely, to boot. Thank you for showing it in such detail.
    LoveDiane

  53. To me, this is screaming “knitted skirt” in a very powerful way. And now, I am calculating how long it will be from now (7:30 Sunday morning, really the worst time) until I could get my hands on Barbara Walker 1. Public library opens at 1:00, but I don’t think they have it…. Knitting shop opens at 10:00 — on TUESDAY.
    Given what you’ve laid out… Maybe I’ll just improvise until then.

  54. That is a seriously beautiful lace edging….