Geeky knitter’s upgrade

There have been some changes made since I posted Victory over Lace Knitting 101.  Then, I was using a large cookie sheet propped on my music stand. My two-year-old grandson was staying with us after Hurricane Gustov while his parents waited for the return of electricity to their apartment.  He came strolling into my studio, and with great puzzlement pointed and said “Pan?”

That started my quest for a better solution.  Someone had posted on Secret of the Stole III that they used a magnetic dry-erase board.  I couldn’t resist cruising through office supplies when I made groceries at Wal-Mart.  There was nothing large enough for an extended shawl chart.  Today DH humored me with a stop at Office Depot.  They had this beauty, 24″ x 18″.

I also bought a roll of 1″ wide, sticky-backed magnetic tape because that was what I could get for long magnets.  I wasn’t really sure I wanted that, but it was only $4.99, so how wrong could I be.  When I got home, I cut a 10″ length, then divided it to 1/2″ wide strips. Inspiration arrived, and I stuck the strips down on a stained-glass scrap of fabric.  I used my rolling cutter to trim the fabric to the magnet, then slathered each edge with Fray-check to prevent raveling.

All in all, I’m very pleased with myself.  The dry-erase board is pretty light, so there is no problem with such a large board resting on the music rack.  I was going to say that I’ll never use the dry-erase function, but you know—you could write in big red letters “Remember to K the first and last 3 stitches of each purl row” or whatever caution you need.

Victory over Lace Knitting, 101

Gather round, my friends, and I will tell my lace knitting secrets. Since I have discovered these things, lace knitting has been a lot more fun and a lot less stress.

“Ah, ” they murmur, “words of wisdom from a knitting sage.”

“Not!” say I. Yes, my knitting has matured. But it’s the changes in the preparation that have made all the difference. Let me show you my set-up for lace knitting.

First, the hardware. I have a large cookie sheet/jelly roll pan upside down under the chart. It provides the steel surface for the magnet line markers. The cookie sheet is sitting on my music stand, adjusted to eye level for my chair. (Yes, I know you aren’t all performing musicians with a music stand handy.) I have been through several other ways to display the cookie sheet: on my kitchen bar, with me sitting at the counter; on a TV tray, with a notebook underneath to tip the top of the chart up. This is my favorite.

Now, the “software”, the chart itself. Take a look: first, I sat down with my

colored pencils and colored in each symbol. (Here, I’ve used blue for K2Tog, green for SSK, etc.)

Then I counted all the runs of just plain knitting, and wrote the number in the first knit square I come to. The designer was kind enough to print the number for any stretch of knitting greater than 10 stitches. I found myself repeatedly pausing in my knitting to count. It’s more satisfying to get all that counting done ahead of time, and let the knitting flow. You’re gonna do it anyway!

This picture shows the center of the chart. It came printed as two pages, and the designer has been kind enough to highlight in pale orange both the center stitch and the bottom of the chart. The bottom line has already been knit on the preceding chart; it is shown here as a starting point, not to be knit again. Likewise, the center stitch is shown on both the left and right chart, as a reference point. I have elected to trim off the left margin on the right chart and overlap these two orange stitches, scotch-taping the two pieces into one large chart.

“Can we knit yet? Are we there yet?”

Yes, my knitting friends, we are ready to knit! This is one of the charts from Secret of the stole-ii. The first clue of Secret of the Stole-iii comes out August 15th! Sharpen your pencils, there’s much to do!