Why would I want to do this? More importantly, why would I want to be responsible for leading 10 other people into the land of lacy-loop-de-loops? For a year of my life? For a shawl I will likely wear only once or twice? Before snagging? Or losing?? Or staining???
Here’s why – because I believe that until you have knit lace – with its foundation in give-a-stitch-take-a-stitch, its inherent inability to create anything that isn’t gorgeous, and its deep history and connection to knitters of the past – you have not truly discovered the heart of knitting. Okay that’s a bit corny, but what’s even cornier is that I really feel that way. I love lace. It is a passion with me. I love its order, its repetition, its endless possibilities for creating light, airy “pictures” that you can then wear on your body or display on a table, chair or window.
It’s either that, or I am totally nuts. What do you guys think?
There are two versions of this shawl in the book. The first – a smaller version, shown above in pink – is a center panel of seven different lace stitches repeated several times surrounded by a garter stitch frame. After that is complete, a Van Dyke border (think pointy collars in old Dutch master paintings) is added around the garter stitch frame. This version takes 1650 yards of laceweight yarn.
The second version – the larger version, shown in white above – is the same center panel, but outside the garter stitch frame is another border, knit row by row with the center panel – that is real “knitted lace” – every row, front and back, is patterned. Tricky, challenging and fun. When it is completed, the whole thing gets a Van Dyke border, too. This version takes 2850 yards.
For a class sample, I knit up the first four lace patterns and the result is now hanging at K2Tog. Here are some pictures . . .
“Small Diamond Pattern” is the first lace pattern in the piece and it is a great intro or reintro to lace knitting. Moves along fairly quickly and with a good rhythm.
“Large Leaf Pattern” is a very logical next step in the knitting, this pattern expands on the stitches in the previous pattern . . . .
In “Medium Leaf,” the tempo of the stitches picks up – see how there are more holes?
And “Small Leaf” is where the knitting begins to get interesting – you are making lace on both sides of the piece. But the pattern here is simple – as knitted lace goes – and isn’t so difficult. It’s a great intro to this kind of knitting.
So here’s how the class will work -
There are seven different lace patterns inside the main panel. We will spend the first meeting of the month mastering this new pattern. The second Monday will be given over to questions, problem-solving and knitting together. I also have some brief histories and “lectures” about lace knitting traditions from around the world to share with the class on those days. And there will probably be some wine and food too. CAN’T KNIT WITHOUT WINE.
Students will have to choose between versions at the beginning of the class. I am doing the larger version – I want the challenge. I will encourage any of my students who feel they are competent at knitting lace patterns only on the right sides to try it too. Slower knitters will be encouraged to try the smaller version. THERE ARE NO KNITTING NAZIS IN MY CLASS. If you don’t want to do a particular pattern YOU DON’T HAVE TO!!!! This class is for my students to enjoy, not for me to enforce. Clear on that?
This is not a class for the absolute lace novice. For full details on that and on yarn requirements, etc, go to the first link in this post.
One more thing – in the past, students in year-long classes begin to suffer from fatigue. They think they can “only” knit on the year long project, that they “have to” finish it, they “have to” be at the same place at the same time as the other students. NOT IN MY CLASS. If I had to knit on only one project for the whole year I’d stick knitting needles in my eyes. I don’t expect you, too, either. But I do expect you to come to class, even if you’ve put your knitting down for a week. Come and keep current with where we are. Come for the support – both of you and by you. Come for the wine.
The class costs $50 per month – all $$$ is handled not by me, but by K2Tog – which includes 4 hours of class time at the store each month and access to me by email, phone, etc at all times for help and questions. I’m also happy to meet privately with students on Friday afternoons or early Friday evenings somewhere near the store. I will also be blogging about the class, so you’ll be able to go online and look up stitches, techniques, pictures, etc. The class will also have its own Facebook page – for class members only – where we can talk to each other and solve problems.
I can take 10 students in the class. I understand 6 slots have been sold, which thrills me. We are going to have so much fun, and at the end you will have an heirloom piece that you can wear, hang on the wall or drape over a table. Make a white one, if you want, as a christening gift for your future grandbabies. WHATEVER. Just come and play lace with me. FOR A YEAR.