Lace Knitting: Love It, Hate it, Wear It

It is too complicated. What! I’m off by how many stitches? You’ve got to be kidding me!? Where did all these extra yarn overs come from? These are only a few of the curses knitters say when knitting lace.

Lace knitting is its own hemisphere. New knitters hover around its mysterious landscapes, afraid to land and possibly be eaten alive. It seems so hard what with all the openness and scary structure involved in its construction. It only takes a little courage though.

I remember when I started learning lace. I was always off somehow no matter how much I counted my stitches and went by the pattern. It was so frustrating. Then one day I had an ah ha moment. You know, those moments when everything works out and all is rainbows and candy canes. I wish it happened spontaneously, but no. A nice woman at my local knitting group told me some wisdom that I have lived by since, “count your stitches between markers” and I have never looked back.

Lace is a demanding task master. It hordes your time and regardless of the mission you are on, can take you down. It bleeds your soul and at the same time lifts you up so high that you cannot even see that extra yarn over or the slipped stitch. You don’t care! It is a beautiful experience, until you want to throw it across the room or bunch it up and stuff it deep into your knitting bag. It is so frustrating.

Knitters love it so much. It is a crazy path to follow, but so easy to get sucked into. Once you have learned the basic stitches you think “Wow, this is great! I can do anything. Let’s try lace.” And then you go completely nuts.

Only knitters know the feeling of longing when another persons walks past with a fabulously knitted shawl or cardigan. It is a secret drive that pulls knitters down lanes that normally they would never have the courage to go. Beginning knitters look at those wonderfully intricate shawls and drool and only hope one day they will be skilled and brave enough to attempt it. Or more rightly, they will hide behind their knitting bag and tremble at the thought of SSK or K2tog, or even a dreaded yarn over.

Once though, lace has been conquered, sort of, knitters dance down he lance of possibility. No longer are they relegated to simple stocking net scarves and plain hats; they can achieve the impossible and create a fabulous hat or spectacular shawl that will blow the other knitters away. Walking into the next knitting group will be the highlight of your whole day. The other knitters will oooh and ahh over your new creation. You will be feeling euphoric.

Then the next project will humble you, but you will not give up. Lace knitting is an adventure. One that gives and takes, but it is so worth while. Afterward, you get to walk around wearing a beautifully intricate piece waiting to be recognized for your skill. The next big thing! Until you see someone wearing a knitted piece so phenomenal you race back to find that pattern and start the process over.

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