Regular readers of this blog will know that I’ve recently taken up knitting socks. I received the book “Sock Knitting Masterclass” for Christmas and knitted my first pair in January. As you can see from the photo, I just finished knitting my second pair. I had thought that knitting socks would teach me some new things about 3D construction. But it turns out that socks are teaching me way more than that.
The pattern is Almondine by Anne Hanson. I chose this pattern because I wanted to re-knit the standard sock construction techniques of top down, round heel, wedge toe. I also wanted to try some lace and I was very taken by this quote from the designer “Because this simple pattern is easily memorized, it is an ideal take-along project.”
The main thing I learned from knitting these socks is that lace knitters are ninjas. Lace designers are jedi ninjas.
I launched into the pattern with wild abandon and made a horrible mess. I went away and read something about openwork and reading charts and came back slightly wiser, although still a neophyte. There are three mistakes in these socks which I didn’t have the heart to frog and correct. Towards the end of the second sock, I did feel as though I understood the lace pattern, although I still needed to refer to the book for every row.
I understand the basic building blocks of lace, the yarn over, k2tog and ssk all make sense to me. I’ve even made some very simple lace patterns of my own. But constructing a lace pattern that’s not just an easy repeat, is still out of my grasp (for now).
For any other first time lace knitters I can offer the following advice:
– Keep a sticky note on the pattern chart, just below the row (or round) you are knitting and move it up each time you finish a row.
– Breathe in the even rows. The pattern of knit or purl stitches in the previous (odd) row matches what you are knitting in an even row.
– Let go. Stop trying to understand that pattern and just watch it unfold, stitch by stitch. Appreciate how clever it is, just don’t appreciate too hard or you might loose your place.
– Never, ever knit lace in that cheap yarn you picked up at Jo-Ann Fabrics (Sensations Truly to be specific). If it washes badly you’ll lose all that hard work, or at least most of the stitch definition. It’s quality sock yarn only for me, from now on.
What a thrill. I mean a whole branch of knitting which is really complicated? Something new to learn? Something almost useless for designing toys, but still. There are plenty more lace sock patterns in this book and even more in the whole wide knitting world. Maybe one day, I’ll get my black needles in lace knitting.