Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

Challenge accepted


You know how it is.  We get up, go to work/school, do the day things, come home, do the chores, find the time for a bit of recreation (read:  knitting), go to bed, wake up, do the same thing all over again.  Life goes on.  Day in, day out.

It’s easy to get into a routine, and not think about anything different.

Lately however, I’ve been getting a feeling of ennui.  I look at the patterns on Ravelry, and think same old, same old.  Nothing really new.  I fall asleep into my knitting, and find it intensely annoying that I can only sit down for half an hour in the evening before my eyes become heavy, and I find myself helplessly dropping into the land of dreams…  Am I, shock horror, become bored with knitting!!!??

My continued avid interest in the act of knitting means that I cannot be bored with knitting.  The fact that within five minutes of sitting down with my needles, my strung-out self feels warm and happy means that knitting remains an essential tool to relaxation.  However, the falling asleep thing can only mean that my brain has become too relaxed, and thinks that knitting time means bed time!!  Humph!  It is reasonably late by the time I sit down, but not that late!

What to do!?

There is of course the very convenient forgetting of the one type of knitting my eye keeps skipping over… you’ll know what I’m going to say next… lace.

I’ve been talking about mastering lace for ages, and I think that the time has come to do something about it.  I obviously need a challenge.

Learning timeSometimes the act of practising stitches is not enough, and I find I need to learn in an academic manner in order to fully understand.  I did this with cables and knitting techniques when I first took up my needles again, but have never done the same with lace.

These two books will be my texts, and these lovely yarns my tools.  The books are “The Very Easy Guide to Lace Knitting” by Lynne Watterson and “Creating Original Hand-knitted Lace” by Margaret Stove.

I have knitted lace items before of course, but I always get the feeling that I don’t quite understand the language.  The charts are a real challenge, and I don’t read them like I do cable charts – road maps that I only need to glance at and refer to from time to time to ensure I’m doing the right thing.  This is where I need to get to with lace.

I decided to swallow my pride and buy Lynne Watterson’s book even though I consider myself an advanced beginner/intermediate lace knitter.  And I am glad I did.  Getting up early this morning to take advantage of my mind being fresh and able to process information, I started at chapter one.

Tools to learningI studied the book for 15 – 20 minutes as if I would learn an academic topic, before it became time to get on with the day.  It has paid off.  I already ‘see’ more in a lace chart than I did yesterday.

The objective will be to read through each chapter, and then go back to the beginning, and utilise the swatch patterns she provides to knit and fully master the basic concepts of lace knitting, progressing from very simple to intermediate skills.   Once I have finished with this book, I will then progress on to Margaret Stove’s book, where she explains how to design your own lace motifs.

At the end of each stage, I will undertake an ‘exam’,  in which I will design a lace project utilising the skills I have just learned.  I figure there will be one basic design and one to two intermediate designs.  Finally, I’ll pick an advanced pattern that I have been too scared to knit before, and knit that as my “final”.  And with that, I hope that I will never have to grumble about not understanding lace ever again!

Hopefully, it will also mean that my brain will have learned by that stage that knitting time does not equate to bed time.



Author: kiwiyarns

Welcome to my blog where I talk about knitting in New Zealand and the beautiful yarns you can find here.

16 thoughts on “Challenge accepted

  1. Sounds like you have set yourself a great challenge – I’m sure you won’t be falling asleep in your knitting!

  2. Wow, what a thorough preparation – bet your brain will have plenty to do now..

  3. Love the organization! A knitter after my own heart 😉

  4. Aloha,

    As a beginning knitter, I definitely follow your plan. Pick a pattern with a new stitch to learn and complete. Amazing how many stitch patterns can be made from knits and purls!

    Mille grazie for the great book suggestion too!


  5. That sounds like a sure fire way to get through your lace knitting block. I’m looking forward to seeing what you select as your final.

  6. It’s always great to buy a book that teaches you something and is worthy of that money spent.

  7. Wow go well with training your brain for lace knitting…..a good winter project.

  8. That is such a fabulous approach – I am experiencing the same thing with the falling asleep, so on the basis of your post decided to sign up for a short row knitting course online (again, I can ‘do’ them but don’t really ‘get’ them) as a bit of revitalising!

    Thanks for the inspiration – looking forward to seeing how you get on 🙂

  9. For me in knitting, as in the rest of the things I’ve learned, I have to actually DO it a million times before it really makes sense. Otherwise I’m just following directions, which I don’t find nearly as fun. Funny how much learning styles carry over across all walks of life!

  10. this sounds great, looking forward too see the challenge’s result

  11. well I am a complete “dunce” in the chart stakes I am afraid. I have been knitting since I learnt from my twin cousins, crammed between them in bed on a frosty morning or five, with cotton on match sticks and I am 68 this year. I still love knitting with 2 ply wools but my lace knitting has been reading the written line patterns, ticking with a pencil [and using a good rubber in days gone by to preserve the pattern] though i often photo copy the pattern which preserves the original as well 🙂 However, I simply do not “get” the chart system.for lace. I can sort of manage for cables which are a bit of a love affair, but lace is very difficult. Yet i can zoom through the written row no problems. Good luck with your approach to this and it is really healthy for your brain of course to be mastering such a new challenge.
    They say you can help prevent the onset of some forms of dementia through various forms of mental exercises which include card playing and knitting patterns. I am not a bridge player but I do drum a pattern into my brain so I can knit it without much more than a glance through the written row to check I am on target. So it will be healthy for your brain to take this up. Not that you are as old as me of course.
    I think that the sleepiness is perhaps more …being winter, the end of the day, being warm and comfortable in “your” knitting chair and becoming very, very relaxed as a result and if you are knitting a stocking stitch project yo sort of slip into a bit of a “meditative” state that tips over into a doze …..and it maybe what your body needs at that point is also a thought. I am sure you are using your brain “hard” at work each day, so when you put it into this winter evening mode it relaxes too far for your liking. Don’t fight it too hard, maybe go to bed and get up an hour or three earlier in the morning before the boys surface and whiz through some rows then.
    I have written far too much as usual I am sorry!! Enjoy this new approach to lace knitting, you will have it sussed before you know it!! 🙂

  12. good luck with this!
    I’m lookig foreward to see your results!!!
    and think about Margots advice to just go to bed and relax and maybe jump up early and eager to do your knitting with full fresh enthusiasm…
    this is what I do a lot and I can only say: it’s great; to sit there, it’s getting light and the birds start to sing and the knitting grows in your hands….

  13. Good luck – your research and method of practising bit by bit will no doubt have you mastering lace in next to no time…and then you’ll be hooked!
    I just wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the WordPress Family Blog Award! Thanks for making me feel at home here,despite being at the other side of the world! 🙂

  14. ADORE lace knitting, and if you can read cable charts you will ‘click’ into lace charts once you start working more with them. I love how with both cable and lace charts I can visualize the finished pattern as I look at it. Once you become familiar with the symbols you will find how much fun lace knitting can be I am sure.

  15. You sounds very organised with your learning, which is quite impressive. I think the problem I have with lace knitting (apart from the fact it required teeny tiny needles and yarn) is that if something goes wrong its really hard to fix it the way you can when a cabling pattern goes wrong. It’s all the yarn overs. Look forward to seeing some lacy projects on this blog!

  16. I’m only now catching up on blogs and am so glad I reached back to this post of yours. Now that it’s properly summer here in the US, I’ve set myself a very similar goal to yours … that is, teach myself some knitting techniques in a more academic way. Really looking forward to this method and seeing how you get along with your lace projects.