Lace Frustration

Decided to try lace , once again. I have had a couple of runs at lace before and always gave up after a few attempts. No matter how careful I try to be, after a few rows I invariably end up with more stitches than I am supposed to have. I know theoretically how it is supposd to work = decreases eventually neutralise the yo's, or something like that. But it never seems to work out. The same thing happened last night, and it is just a simple scarf with fingerweight yarn. I dont get it. Now, I am not abnormally stupid, and I can count, and I never thought myself a careless knitter, but perhaps I am all three and just never realised it!!! Frog Pond again.

I will try again, eventually. Just needed a place to blow. Thanks guys.


Now, now, now. The problem may not be you at all. Did you know, for instance, that not all lace patterns have a constant stich count? It's true! Some patterns will have increases for a series of lines and then an equal number of decreases sometime later to get back to the original number of stitches. (I'm guessing that this p'rolly isn't the case with your pattern but it's worth checking out.) Even when I decide to sample a pattern listed in Walker - especially if it has a line run of more than 24 lines - I'll sit with the pattern and count each line to make sure that when she claims that the stitch count is constant from line to line that it really is. I've found at least three of her listings where this is not the case. Be that as it may,

Do this: Forget the fingering weight for now. Take some fat waste yarn that you have lying around the house and, using the same needles that you were using for the fingering weight yarn, cast on at least two repeats if not four of the pattern and knit away. If it's a four line pattern, knit at least 4 repeats of the pattern. Any problems that arise in terms of screw-ups with YOs and decreases will be much easier to identify with fat yarn than with thread. You'll also be able to really get a good look at the architecture of the pattern which will enable you to memorize the pattern and be able to notice flub-ups when you make them. And you *will*. Trips to the Frog Pond are part of the *Glamour* of knitting . . .

If you'd like to, you can send me the pattern and let me look at it. Send to:
and put lace pattern in the subject line.


~Mike in Tampa
Yahoo Id: stickywarp2001

MMario's picture

what mike says. Listen to him.
but don't give up on lace.
MMario - ambiguity is cultivated, it doesn't happen in a vacuum!

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

Bill's picture

I haven't attempted lace yet....except for a onehour class...but I will definitely follow your advice!!!

BuduR's picture

I feel your pain. I have promised myself that I WILL cast on MMario's QAL by May, and I WILL finish it (even if it does come out looking like some retarded attempt at freeform knitting) by August.

And some patterns are just written to confuse. I recently came across a pattern that was written

CO 5 st
K2 yo k1 yo k2 in each stitch (7 sts)

O.o obviously if you have 7 sts at the end, you aren't doing that in every stitch.

MWK's Token Estrogen-American

MWK's Token Estrogen-American

Don't give up. As stickywarp said, not all rows have the same count. When I did the Liesel scarf, I was so frustrated in the beginning as I was counting. Turns out...rows 3 and 4 have two more sts (I think those were the rows).

I doubt this is your problem as you may be more experienced in general an example, a P1 YO K1 caused me in the beginning to add am extra st too.

What pattern are you doing? Who knows.....maybe there is something wrong there too.

TomH's picture

What I do is go back and count every stitch (of the repeat I just completed) as soon as I do each pattern repeat. That way if I've screwed up, I'll catch it before I do the next repeat.

Mario and Mike (stickywarp) have been a tremendous help as I launched and continue my lace career. So go ahead and lean on them - they're both great helpers.

Asbjörn's picture

I also had some lace frustration that caused me to set it aside for sanity's sake. I'm geared up for my next go at it and I did a couple things to get ready. I printed a HUGE double-spaced, bold-faced copy of the pattern in a word processing program. I also put a count of how many stitches should remain on the needles after each row. And finally, I have some smooth (non shedding) yarn in a contrasting color at the ready to use as a "lifeline" after each repeat. I think I'm optimistic enough to try it again.


BuduR's picture

I use dental floss as a lifeline, my dentist gives me an abundance of floss, toothpaste, toothbrushes and occassionally free dental work, we'll not talk about the hugging. so I have lots of it laying around/
MWK's Token Estrogen-American

MWK's Token Estrogen-American

Asbjörn's picture

That's a good idea, it seems like it would be easier to keep out of the way when working the row directly after inserting the lifeline.


BuduR's picture

it is much easier to keep out of the way, and even if you have to buy it it's really inexpensive, doesn't take up much room in the knitting bag. and I have never had a problem with it deciding to mate with the yarn I'm working with and not wanting to come free.

MWK's Token Estrogen-American

MWK's Token Estrogen-American

Kerry's picture

Stickywarp and MMario have give excellent suggestions. And lace is worth it in the end.