Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lace on the Bias

Good news! All the patterns from the "Fascinating Lace" workshop are now available at verenaknitting.com. If you are already a subscriber you'll find them all, for free, by clicking your Bonus Patterns link. They are also available for individual sale in our Pattern Shop.

I've been neglecting the Orenburg Shawl to knit up a swatch in answer to a question in our Forums. Since it relates directly to lace I've decided to share the results with everyone.

The pattern is Moody Blue from our Summer 2009 issue. It's an all over lace pattern and the decreases were causing the fabric to slant dramatically on one side:

I knit, frogged and re-knit several times, trying out different tactics for working the decreases and the result was always the same. I then decided to work the pattern without any decreases to see what that looked like and I got the smaller swatch below:

Both edges slant at almost the same angle. So even though the straight right edge of the decreased swatch seemed like a regular selvadge it was clearly different than the right edge of the un-decreased pattern. The left edge is slanted but not as dramatically as the one with the decreases in it.

Further research reveals that this is the result of all the decreases being worked in the same direction, in this case a PSSO. Seams will keep a garment knit in an all-over lace pattern that tends to bias like this from twisting around. I would be careful to pin the seams together and make sure that the pieces are properly matched up on both sides before sewing.

While we're here, some general tips for working decreases in all over lace patterns seem in order. The pattern here includes instructions for Full Fashion decreases, which can be worked more easily by keeping the first and last few stitches in stockinette and working the decreases in those. Alternatively, since the wrong side rows are knit across in purls, working the decreases on that side will prevent confusion with the yarn over/decreases of the stitch pattern itself. I tried several ways, in one case eliminating a yarn over from the stitch pattern rather than working two decreases and a yarn over right at the edge. This is a perfectly legal way to work a decrease in lace provided you can keep track of what you are doing well enough to maintain the pattern itself and make the decreases correctly.

Stay tuned for our regularly scheduled programming: More adventures in Orenburg Lace.

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