Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Dreaded YOs

I finally 'bit-the-bullet' so to speak by taking my first lesson in lace knitting (or is it, knitting lace?). I have always had difficulties with yarn-overs and avoid them at all costs. I decided to finally 'grow-up' and address my nemesis; and not the least, many sock patterns I want to knit have yarn-overs and I LOVE to knit socks. So I asked a very accomplished lace-knitting friend to give me a lesson in YOs. I realize it is not so much making the YO...that is easy enough; my problem arises when I come back the other way and have to the case of the pattern I am using, purl...into the YOs from the previous row. My friend, knowing I like both cats and history, chose the perfect first lace pattern for me: Elizabeth Lovick's Cat's Paw Scarf, which is a traditional Estonian lace pattern stitch. I am generally not a 'lacy-type' of person but this pattern appealed. For the lesson, I brought some stunning Merino light sock yarn in a gorgeous shade of brown (those of you that know me will not be surprised by my yarn color choice), a size US#5, 16" Addi Turbo needle, cute stitch markers from MDKnits and as much courage as I could summon to face the 'dreaded YOs'! Everything went very well as I cast-on 34 stitches (the yarn was slippery...not a good sign for my first lace attempt)...twice, and then k 5 far-so-good. Then I tackled the first row that had yarn-overs...under the keen & learned eye of my very patient teacher, success was mine! A full row containing...count them... EIGHT YOs, I was on a roll! By the end of the lesson I had completed 6 pattern rows making the complete Cat's Paw which could easily be seen when the scarf was stretched a bit. I thanked my friend & teacher profusely and headed home with my new skill in and 11 row scarf in tow. I was sure I had mastered the art of the YO. I was too cocky, too soon...what was I thinking...a 2 hour lesson made my an expert??? Not!!
That evening I sat down calmly and picked up the scarf, confident in my newly found ability to not shudder & shake at the thought of a YO...instead, I should have been trembling!. The first row went smoothly, the second row was a little bumpy & I had to frog most of the stitches. I persevered and the next 2 rows went pretty well...although all of my confidence had vanished by now...and then DH comes into the room asking me how many miles I had put on my car over the past 12 months? What??? I lost my place and had to frog that row....grrrr. Deep breath, tell DH not to talk to me until I come out of my knitting-space...he shakes his head & sighs (he knows how 'relaxing' I find knitting)...and I start the next row...which turns out to be a disaster! it is not even a YO row, it is a plain purl row...but I must purl into the YOs from the previous row and THAT is what I just cannot do succesfully every time. I wound up with 5 extra stitches by the end of the row :-( and when I tried to frog it, I could not figure out which were the YO's and which were the K2tog or SKPs...and so, I think, I will have to rip out the entire 17 rows and start all over again! But I will prevail, I will outsmart the dreaded YOs without a nervous breakdown! Maybe if I brew a cup of Lladyhawk Tea and sip it as I think calming thoughts, I might be able to sleep tonight.


Ruth said...

Once you "understand" the lace pattern, you'll get much faster at it. And to make you feel better, I will tell you that I'm a very experienced lace knitter, and every single lace project I try, has to be frogged at least 4-5 times. Even my own designs.

Hang in there; it really is a lot of fun. Especially knit in brown yarn!

Patti Shreiner said...

Using lifelines (or safety lines as they are sometimes called) can also make lace knitting less stressful. I insert mine through the back of the stitches so that there is no twisting when knitting the next row.

DJNL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DJNL said...

Thanks for your comments and I appreciate your support. The scarf is now 48 rows long and the mistakes are getting fewer & long as I follow the written instructions & not the chart.