In Which We Play Lace
March 5, 2008
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You slip stitches 5, 6, 7 & 8 over stitches 1, 2, 3, & 4…
…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:
Can you dig it?