Lace knitting is like a regression. It essentially harnesses and brings under control the one thing you try to avoid as a new knitter – holes. Terrible when created accidentally, some crazy knitters make these holes on purpose, arranging them into intricate and beautiful patterns.
I have dipped my toe into the frothy pool of lace knitting before, but only a little. A simple feather and fan scarf is the most complex piece of lace I have attempted so far, but I have decided not to be afraid of any knitting techniques anymore. What’s the worse that can happen? I take my toes back out of the frothy lace pool and instead visit the frog pond. So, armed with two absolutely gorgeous skeins of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn, I had a look through some lace patterns and found a design which I liked the look of, Ailsa Daly’s Red Emperor scarf, freely available for download from her website ‘Knitabulous’.
I have so far completed one of the edge panels of lace, and have enjoyed the knitting very much. I haven’t found the knitting too taxing – I can still listen to an audiobook whilst I knit, I can even listen to my sister without waving my hand in her direction in the internationally recognised knitter’s gesture of ‘shhh! I’m counting!’
Looking at the edge panels on the knitabulous site I realise how much comparative length is given to the stole by blocking. The lace portion I have knitted so far is completely different in its dimensions to the finished stole as pictured, which I think is a slight shame as I like the almost 3D appearance of the cockleshell shaped motifs in the border and I now have vague concerns about having enough yarn to make an adequately long stole, but I have sworn not to get too upset if I end up with a short but beautiful rectangle.
Either way, whether this stole is due to become my favourite knitted object ever, or simply an exercise in learning another aspect of the knitting tradition, I am no longer scared of lace. It’s just a series of yarn-overs and various decreases, reined in with a little bit of concentration.