Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Branching Out Complete!

As promised here are my completed photos of Branching Out. I am very pleased with how this turned out, and although I struggled at the beginning (mostly because I didn't know what a yarnover really was), it did get easier once I got the hang of it.


Pattern: Branching Out
Yarn: Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in Stream Heather Less than 1 skein (about 0.5?)
Needles: Size 8 needles


Now that I am knitting the Flower Basket Shawl by Evelyn Clark, I realize just how challenging this scarf was, especially as a first lace project. There are many unusual stitches in the lace, although it was nice to only have 25-31 stitches on my needles at one time! Less counting!

I also want to say that I adore this yarn. The subtle heather colors, the softness, the bounciness....

A few tips for those looking to try lace:

1. I would not say that this is a good first lace pattern (even though the pattern says it is). There are a lot of different stitches, and there are easier patterns out there. I might try an Evelyn Clark Pattern first or the Airy Scarf out of Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. You could probably do one of these in no time and be better prepared for a more adventurous lace project with a basic understanding of yarnovers and how needle size affects the look of the piece.

2. I used the recommended Size 8 Needles. This results in a fairly open scarf, but if this is not what you are looking for either go down a size or 2 (or 3) and see how that looks. Or double the yarn or use fingering weight instead of lace. Actually, for a first lace project, fingering is probably not a bad idea in general.

3. Check out Eunny's Majoring in Lace Tutorial before you start and probably during the project too!

4. Use lifelines, especially after you get comfortable with the lace. I found that just as I got comfortable, I would go 4 repeats without putting a lifeline and then realize that I had the wrong number of stitches somehow or find a major error somewhere. Lifelines will save you from having to rip out your whole project. The stitches in a lace project are very hard to see and especially as a new lace knitter, virtually impossible to pick up if dropped. I am getting a little better at it now, but my current project also uses doubled yarn and smaller needles, which makes the stitches easier to see. Waxed Dental floss works great and is easy to carry in your project bag. I would put a strand of floss through the stitches on my needle at the end of a repeat when I knew I had the correct number of stitches. If I messed up, I just inserted my needles into the spaces (stitches) where the dental floss was, counted and viola, I was ready to start knitting again without ripping out my whole project or tediously unknitting all those stitches!

5. Your project will look like a hot mess. You will wonder if it will ever look like the beautiful projects you see on everyone's blogs. It will look uneven and you will have trouble discerning the pattern. Blocking takes care of all of this and makes your lace mess into a beautiful piece. Do not despair!

5. Lace blocking wires are fantastic. Knitpicks sells them as does Joanne Fabrics.
Posted by Picasa

5 comments:

SJ said...

Beautiful job! How did you get that lovely loopy edging? Did you add it on or did it just block out that way? It's a very nice feature.

(P.S. Evelyn Clark patterns are fantastic.)

Rachel said...

It was actually a garter stitch edge but it ended up loopy with the blocking....

Lisa said...

I love that shawl, but I like mine bigger. Now that you've been working on it, can you tell if you can just keep knitting the pattern until it's as big as you want, or will that mess up the border? I should be able to figure this out, but...

Gorgeous scarf!

Rachel said...

You can definitely add as many repeats as you want, but as far as width, I am not sure....

fear of pop said...

Your scarf is beautiful! I just finished this project as my first lace scarf, too. Mine isn't as open and lacy as it should be, though, because I couldn't make a trip to the yarn store...so I just used some worsted weight yarn that I already had. But it still looks nice. I also struggled a little bit with yarn overs and always having the correct number of stitches on the needle, but now that it's finished, I'm glad I tried it!