- Don't be afraid of charts. They might be intimidating at first, but they really are easier to use than written instructions.
- Make an extra copy of your chart so that you can mark it up with colored pencils, and still have the original "just in case." Depending on the pattern, it might make sense to mark off every x stitches, where x is an arbitrary number like 10 or 20; or, if there are multiple repeats across a row, mark off each repeat.
- Use some kind of ruler (PostIt notes work well) to block off the rows above the one you are working on. That way you can see the current row as well as previous ones, so you can check your progress against the pattern.
- Make liberal use of stitch markers. If practical, use them in the same places as the colored lines you have put on the chart. Sometimes they have to be moved, if there is a multiple-stitch figure (K2tog, SSK, etc.) that spans the marker, but it is a small price to pay.
- Use a row marker to keep track of which row you are working in case you put your work down and come back to it a day, week, or month later.
- Count, count count! Count the stitches between markers, and count again on the wrong-side row if it is a plain purl row. If you have lost or gained a stitch, you will be much more likely to find it right away and not have to tink or frog.
- Use lifelines! They are easy to do... just thread a contrasting piece of yarn through the stitches on the needle after you have completed a row that you know is correct. It seems easiest to do this on a wrong side row, at least with patterns that do purl (or knit) across WS rows. If you make a mistake that you can't correct, you just have to frog back to the lifeline and pick up the stitches -- much better than having to start all over from scratch!
- Don't panic if you are off by a stitch. It is often possible to fix the error in the next row, as long as you have been counting and catch it right away.
- Don't knit in bad light.
- DON'T KNIT WHEN YOU ARE TIRED.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Lace Lessons Learned
As a beginning lace knitter, I have learned an enormous amount by working on the Fiddlesticks Venus Vest and then Mystery Stole 2 by Melanie Gibbons. Here are a few tips for anybody just beginning to knit lace: