Knitting with lace yarn
Here are some pointers to successfully knit with lace yarn:
If you are knitting a loose shawl (with large needles or a in pattern that’s
very lacy and open), begin a new skein by tying the two ends together
(using a square knot, see illustration below) instead of darning in ends later.
Darning will be too visible on loosely knit lace garments and shawls and scarves
should look attractive from both sides. If possible, begin new skein of yarn
at beginning or end of row and thread in ends along edge of piece.
Cast on and bind off loosely. You should be ably to stretch cast-on and
bind-off to width of knit item (in other words: bind-off or cast-on should
not be the tightest area on shawl or scarf). If necessary, use larger needles
for cast-on and bind-off.
Wood and bamboo needles are less slippery than aluminum or plastic ones.
Stitches will be less likely to slide off by accident.
For lace knitting, straight needles are better than a circular needle.
On a circular needle, stitches move off short shaft onto plastic loop
as you are knitting, and they don’t easily or automatically move back
onto the shaft when you turn and begin knitting new row (and with very
fine lace yarn, stitches often catch at the base of the shaft). You’ll
find yourself threading stitches onto the shaft of the circular needle
every few stitches. It’s annoying and it interrupts the flow of knitting.
If working with several skeins of hand painted variegated lace yarn,
Knitting with variegated yarn.
Morehouse Merino Lace Yarn consists of a single strand of pencil roving
twisted around itself in one direction. So there is a slight bias in the
yarn that may become noticeable if you are using small needles (#0 to #2)
and are knitting a relatively tightly knit garment. Washing and blocking
the garment will help to correct it.
Most lace knitting, especially loosely knit shawls and scarves, looks limp
and unattractive before blocking. To show off the pattern clearly, the garment
needs to be stretched out and blocked properly. See below on how to block lace knitting.
Blocking Lace Shawls and Scarves
Please note: the following washing recommendations apply to Morehouse
Merino Lace Yarn. For shawls, scarves and lace creations made with otheryarns,
refer to the yarn manufacturer’s washing and care instructions.
Soak your lace creation in warm water, add mild soap (at Morehouse Farm, we
use PalmoliveÒ Dishwashing Liquid). Let it soak for a few minutes. Then rinse
in same temperature water as washing water. Squeeze out as much water as possible
(you can use a towel for this one: wrap shawl or scarf in towel and squeeze—don’t
wring—towel to remove as much water as possible from knitting).
Unwrap shawl or scarf from towel. Now lay it flat on a large surface. Most shawls
are about 80” long, about the length of a bed. So a bed might be the ideal place
to use for blocking a large shawl. Cover bedspread with a sheet to create a smooth
surface (don’t worry about getting the bed wet: thin lace yarn absorbs very little
water and after squeezing most water out of it, the shawl or scarf is damp, no longer wet).
Now stretch out scarf or shawl to final width and length. This process takes a
little patience, since the knitting wants to return to its un-stretched condition.
Just keep stretching it until it remains in place. We don’t use pins to block shawls.
We find the process of pinning too tedious and we don’t like the scalloped edge it
sometimes creates (especially if you are not using dozens of pins). For triangular
shawls, use corner of bed for tip of shawl and stretch tips along side and bottom
edge of bed. Sometimes it helps to keep shawl in place by stretching it slightly
over edge of bed. Let it dry.
Designing your own lace shawls
It’s very easy. The simple eyelet or lace patterns in a shawl are worked as a
yarn-overs followed or preceded by knit 2 together (so the number of stitches
will always remain the same). To create or design your own pattern, use a
piece of graph paper. Draw in your eyelet pattern by filling in the squares
(see illustrations below). The filled in squares will be your yarn-overs.
You can make it a very simple pattern by repeating a simple motif every
10 or so stitches and every few rows, or you can make it very complex
with every row a different design and with very few repeats.
You’ll need a piece of graph paper
that has as many squares as you plan to have stitches and as many rows as you need for your design.
> FREE GRAPH PAPER