We've already had a brief look at the joy of colour work and cables. Today Joanne introduces you to the wonderful world of lace.
What is Lace? Knitted lace is formed by creating yarn overs (sometimes known as yarn forward) and decreases in a pattern to form an open patterned fabric. It can be as intricate and complicated as you like.
Lace uses the same increases and decreases that we use in normal knitting. Here are definitions of the most commonly used stitches.
Yarn Over: (when moving between a knit stitch and a knit stitch)Bring the yarn from the back, over the top of the needle and behind again. A loop is left behind that sits on the needle like a stitch. Right Leaning Decrease: K2tog. Insert your needle into the next 2 sts together and knit them as one. Left leaning decrease: (there are several options here – search ssk and skp for more details but I like k2tog tbl) K2tog tbl Insert your needle into the back loop of next 2 sts and knit them as one. Double decrease: (again several options but only one that doesn't lean) CDD. Insert needle as if doing a k2tog, slip sts over, knit next stitch then pass slipped stitches over the knitted stitch.
Casting on and casting off?
Because lace is really stretchy you need a cast on and cast off that can stretch as wide as the rest of the fabric. YOu can cast on and off loosely but this takes practice and is a little unreliable. I use a special cast on shown in this video.
To cast off I knit two stitches together through the back loop and then pop the worked stitch back on the left hand needle and repeat to the end. (this is such a quick cast off, I love it!)
I'm in! Where do I start?
If you fancy giving lace a try then it is best to start out with an easy pattern. Look for one that is only worked on the right side and where the stitch count is the same at the end of every row.