The Jeanette Sloan Dionne Shawl of my dreams is turning out to be pure, 100% knitting satisfaction. I have a few tips on knitting this graphic snuggler. These are remedial tips, because I haven’t knit lace in a long while. It’s amazing what you can forget when you’ve spent four months knitting tubes of sock, one after another.
This would have been easier had i made a swatch first.
Tip No. 1: Knit a Swatch. I did not do this. My reasoning was simple: I typically knit swatches to figure out gauge for a project, so in this case where I was making a shawl, I didn’t really care about gauge. I cared deeply about cranking out my Baa Ram Ewe Winterburn Aran as soon as possible. The reason a swatch would have been a good idea? I would have practiced making the teardrop lace pattern—which would have saved me a fair amount of futzing around as I started the shawl.
In the MDK Shop
See those stitch markers? Yeah, neither did I.
Tip No. 2: Stitch Markers, Oh Yes. I forgot this most basic rule of lace, and wasted a lot of time counting stitches when I could have been knitting. Use a lot of them when you’re first getting started—every repeat if you want. Stitch markers tell you when you’re off a stitch, when you’ve forgotten a decrease or increase. They’re the friend on your shoulder, whispering, “Watch out.”
Two truths: A yarnover makes a hole. When you fail to make A YARNOVER, you a) don’t get a hole and b) screw up your stitch count.
In the MDK Shop
Tip No. 3: The Case of the Missing Yarnover. With my rusty lace skills, I found that I was sometimes forgetting to throw a yarnover. When I found my count off, I learned to find where I’d failed to over the yarn. (Stitch markers will tell you quickly when you’ve botched a stitch count—and that missing yarnover is likely to be a culprit.) It’s one of the easiest fixes to make—you just reach down below and catch the running thread between two stitches to pull that forgotten yarnover over the needle.
ON MY CHART I NOTED WHERE THE TEARDROP THINGIE GETS POINTIER AT THE TOP. NEWS YOU CAN USE.
Tip No. 4: Highlight Your Chart. The symbol for knit-3-together can look a lot like knit-2-together. Do what you have to do in order to flag any weird symbols, symmetries, asymmetries, and curiosities. Colored pencils, whatever! Get into that chart and bling it, bedazzle it, think of it as a therapeautic coloring book. Whatever it takes to make it behave.
I’m now in the last quarter of this shawl, and I’ve arrived at the moment when I can work the teardrop pattern without checking the chart. I’m so clever! If you’re feeling down, go knit some lace. It’s one of those learning curves you climb pretty fast. And the intricate fabric you’re making is a marvel to see.
I’ll be finished with this shawl soon. It is huge fun to make, so if you’re in the market, get in on the Jeanette Sloan Dionne Shawl bandwagon.
PS I’ll put in a massive plug for Winterburn Aran. The dark gray Masham fibers are the star here—knitted up, this yarn has a shadowy, deep tone to it. My guess on skeins required for the Dionne Shawl? Four.