Day 2: Elizabeth Scarf/Shawl Knit Along
Hello Knitters! Welcome back to Day 2 of the Elizabeth KAL. I hope you really enjoyed Day 1 because I have more fun in store for you today, and plenty of useful tips too!
Today we’ll be talking about how to identify your pattern row, track your lace repeats, and the correct way to measure. Oh yes, and we’ll continue to knit our lace.
Where am I? How-to Keep Track of Pattern Rows
By now, you've had a bit of experience working lace rows. Anything pop out to you such as a rhythm to the pattern, ease of making stitches, etc? Any “a-ha!” moments?
Here’s a Hint
Notice that the pattern stitches between the * are identical on both lace rows (the right side rows). That won’t change throughout Elizabeth. What does change, however, is the stitch count at the beginning and end (not counting the border stitches) on Rows 9 and 11. On Row 9, we start with the border stitches as usual, slip the marker and knit 3 the beginning, and at the end, before slipping the last marker, you finish with a knit 1. On Row 11 we work the border, slip the marker, knit 2, work to the end marker, and knit 2.
Have you figured it out? I’ll bet you have! The lace pattern jogs back and forth.
This is what I love about this pattern. I don’t have to count my rows to figure out where I’m at!
Stitches up close
Look at image below. I finished on the purl row and go to where my finger is pointing. Do you see the 2 knits, then the yarnover eyelet? Ok, check out the pattern. The row that has the knit 2 and then yarnover after the marker is Row 11, so I’m back to the beginning. The purl row I just finished is Row 8 and my next right side (RS) is Row 9, and that’s where I’ll start! How cool is that?
Now that we know that we can figure out what row we are on without counting every row, is there a way to figure out where we are on the row. Sure is and you can see below how it’s done!
Keeping Track of Your Lace Pattern Stitch Repeats
In a perfect world, we should all be able to finish every row, never miss slipping a stitch over or knitting two together. Of course, until that time, here’s how to figure out where you are and also if you find your stitch count is off after completing the row, zero in on the spot, correct it, all without ripping out the entire row.
How It's Done
Probably the easiest way to do this is to pick out a stitch that is visibly going to be different from the surrounding stitches; I call it an “identifier” stitch.
For Elizabeth, I think it would be the “pass slipped stitch over” (psso). Take a look at the image below. I’m pointing at the “pass slipped stitch over” or my “identifier”. See how there is a horizontal loop around the stitch.
Ok, bear with me here a second, let’s imagine I get to the end of my row and I count to make sure I have the correct number of stitches, and I don’t. I have one more that I should. That’s not good and will throw everything out of whack..so what do I do?
Now is when I will look for my last “slipped stitch over” with that horizontal bar closest to the end marker.
Next I’ll grab my pattern and match up the stitches, counting back from the end marker to that passed slip stitch. Do they match up? Is it right? Look at the next image to where my fingers are on both the “slipped stitch over” and the next yarnover. Yup, according to the pattern, I have too many stitches and I can see that those two stitches after the “pass slipped stitch” were supposed to be “knit 2 together”. There’s my mistake! Now I’ll rip back and fix it. You may have to keep going back until you find the offending stitch, but believe me, fixing it now is going to save you lots of angst later.
Now, if I have left off somewhere in the middle of the row, or thereabouts, and don’t know what’s next, I can again go to my last “identifier stitch” (the pass slipped stitch over) and count forward.
Counting As You Go
This is also a good way to start off on the right foot. It really helps you stay on track. I do this myself just as a check because I so dislike ripping out.
Here’s how I do it.
I’ve knitted my border stitches and slipped my marker. Now I will knit either knit 3 or knit 2 (depending on what lace row I am on) then knit my 9 pattern repeat stitches. Ok, worked the 9 stitches between the *. Now I’ll go back and count. Do I have 12 stitches (if on Row 9), or 11 stitches (if on Row 11)? Excellent! Now I can continue on counting by 9.
Knitting Doctor Tip: For this pattern, that has a short lace pattern repeat, I’ll think of the row in 9 stitch chunks. So, in this case if will be - yo, k2, sl1, k1, psso, k2tog, k2, yo, k1 and repeat it again (for the shawl you will do it several more times). Oddly enough, after several rows I found I was remembering the stitch sequence, and I’ll bet that with time you will too.
More Working the Lace and Measuring
Now that you know how to identify your rows and stitch count, it’s smooth sailing. Continue working your lace until you have at least 12" and then start to measure.
As much as you are tempted, like I am from time to time, don’t take the quick way out and set your knitting on your knee to measure it, etc. Sad to say, you almost never get an accurate measurement.
Knitting Doctor Tip: To get an accurate measurement, I like a wooden ruler, metal, or plastic tape measure. It’s probably more of a personal preference, but it forces me to use a flat surface to measure and I do think fabric tape measures have a little bit of give.
Take a look at the images below. I’ve laid my 1st panel out on a flat surface. Now, if you are using straight needles you are good, to go, but if you are using cables, you want to move several of your end stitches to the needle section of the cable so you get a level starting point instead of the curved one you get if measuring from the cable.
I like to measure from the actual tops of the needles. You can also measure just below the needle and that’s an accepted method too, but I don’t think it is as accurate. Whatever method you choose, make it yours and stay with it!
Measuring from the top of the needle
Measuring from below the needle
Next, I try to line my tape measure up to the side border stitches so I’m measuring straight and not at an angle.
Looking at my pattern. It looks like I got a little carried away with myself. Look what I’ve measured. I’ve knitted too much!
I’ll have to correct that. That’s the bad news - I’ll need to rip back. The good news is that there is a way to avoid the “rip-out” blues, and I’ll be sharing that with you during our next session!
I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s one of the essential skills for “No Fear Knitting!"
Sneak peak at what you'll need for the next session
- bring your dental floss!