Lace Knitting: The Art of the Scarf

The scarf is the first project that most knitters start with. Learning how to make the fundamental stitches, the knit and purl stitch, will lead the new knitter to more complicated knitting. Lace knitting looks very complicated and puts many knitters off, but it is only a combination of the two basic stitches, yarn overs, and combining stitches together.

Once Lace knitting is on the horizon of the intrepid knitter they should already have a good understanding of the basic stitches, the knit and purl stitch. So, these stitches will not be the focus of this article. We will focus on yarn overs and the two basic lace stitches, the knit two stitches together (K2tog) and slip two stitches from the left needle to the right and knit together (SSK). The K2tog and SSK are what make the knitting slant either to the left or to the right. With the addition of yarn overs (YO), a single extra wrap around the right needle that does not get knitted and creates a space, lace knitting begins to take on its distinctive look.  This look is what draws many knitters to the complicated world of lace knitting. They discover, either to their delight or despair, that lace is a great addition to their knitting stitch library.

Learning to knit lace is all dependent on knowing the two basic stitches, knit and purl, and learning how to YO. Once you have mastered the knit and purl learning to knit the two lace stitches is easy. The one thing many knitters find hard about lace knitting is the continuing length of the lace row. Depending on the pattern, the stitches per row can change and keeping track of these changes will keep you on track as well.

Counting the number of stitches can be accomplished a few ways. The first way is by closely following a pattern. The complexity of the pattern can scare some knitters away, but some perseverance will show the pattern to be easier than first expected. The second way is to count to yourself as you go. This is an easy habit to acquire. Counting the stitches gives a knitter a sense of control that is not always there when reading a pattern. This type of counting normally is only useful if the pattern is a repeating, easy pattern. If the knitter finds that the pattern is too complicated; keeping a few sticky notes handy to bookmark your place on the pattern is another good habit to get into.

Lace scarf knitting is a great addition to a knitters stitch library. Learning the basic stitches of knit and purl opens up a world of different looks and styles of knitting, and it not limited to only lace. With the knit and purl stitch a knitter can learn how to use a cable needle, make lace hats or gloves, try out the knitting pattern from a grandparent, or even learn to tat. Lace knitting is a great adventure and is one that every knitter should try.

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