Donna's Writings

07/21/2010

SUMMER OF LACE: Beaded Hand Warmers and Socks by Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer

Successful Lace Knitting

DD: Jackie, I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time and I love the way you combine beads and lace in your accessory designs, so I was thrilled that you agreed to create not just one, but two! projects, especially for Successful Lace knitting. Can you tell us a little bit about your design?

JE-S: The Beaded Offset Chevrons Hand Warmers and Socks combine the beauty of lace and tiny sparkling beads. By using the technique of stringing beads on the yarn before knitting, only one strand of yarn passes through the beads. Therefore, the smallest beads possible can be used to reduce the overall weight of the wide lace cuff and retain the dainty scale of the pattern.

DD: What stitch pattern did you use and why did you choose it?

SwatchJE-S: I adapted Dorothy Reade’s Offset Chevrons stitch pattern for embellished beaded knitting. I had let you pick one of her favorites of Dorothy Reade’s stitch patterns, as it otherwise would have been difficult for me to make a choice out of all of Dorothy’s wonderful patterns. One of the great things I like about the creative part of designing is to set some constraints and maximize the possibilities for original artistic expression. By Donna making the choice, I was able to have fun playing my ‘game’ of creative designing.

DD: Did you make any changes to the chart, or use different decreases than Dorothy Reade used? If so, please explain the changes you made and your reasons behind them.

JE-S: In adapting Offset Chevrons for embellished beaded knitting, I used the opportunity to enhance the graceful lines of the original pattern within the relatively solid areas by substituting purl stitches and purl-based decreases to one side or other of where a bead would be placed. This purl-stitch structure combined with sliding the bead in place on the running thread between stitches is an easy technique to keep the bead visible on the public side of the knitting.

Although the beaded cuffs of both the Hand Warmers and Cuffs are done in the round, I retained a ‘fake seam line’ at beginning and end of round. Therefore the original multiple of 20 stitches plus 1 stitch is used.

Beaded Socks and Wrist Warmers

Beaded Hand Warmers and Socks

 

DD: What yarn did you choose for your project? What made this yarn particularly well suited for this project specifically, and for laceknitting in general?

JE-S: I chose Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn, a firmly twisted and smooth yarn that has performed well for me on many occasions of knitting beaded projects. Lorna’s Laces offers many closely toned colorways that allow lace to still be seen even though there are subtle color variations. The Tahoe color is just one of my many favorites. I chose the Silver-Lined Light Blue beads to contribute subtle sparkling lights to the lace. You could also choose beads with more contrast to the yarn if that is your preference.

DD: Do you have any special lace knitting tips related to your project?

JE-S: Fingering weight yarn as used in the Beaded Offset Chevrons projects is a good transitional yarn weight to practice lace knitting before embarking on projects with finer lace weight yarns. When knitting with finer yarns/threads than you might otherwise be accustomed to, you will find that good lighting and good contrast between needles and yarn are increasingly important.

DD: What kind of knitting needles do you prefer for lace knitting and what makes these needles work well for lace?

JE-S: I don’t have a preference of needles for lace knitting. The thing that I do watch out for more so with lace than for other types of knitting is if using a circular needle, that the join is smooth so as not to catch finer yarns/threads.

DD: Would you like to add any personal comments about designing this project? Perhaps you’d like to comment on any connection between Dorothy Reade’s foundation and your own creative spirit.

JE-S: The lace of Dorothy Reade definitely had an imprint in my introduction and upbringing in lace. Although I never met Dorothy, I somehow felt a kindred spirit. That is why I accepted your invitation to participate as a contributor to Successful Lace Knitting.

DD: Thanks so much Jackie! We all appreciate the time you take to share your knowledge with us and we look forward to seeing more of your beautiful designs in the future.

Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer (Jackie E-S) is a long-time knitting enthusiast who shares her love of knitting and experience through designing, publishing and teaching. The structure of hand-knitted lace has infinite variations — creating excitement in Jackie’s artistic discoveries, and ever-challenging her to intriguing possibilities. With a background in music and mathematics, she enjoys the process of capturing the melody of lacy light and shadow, and harmonizing it with the style and function of the intended article. The process of design and experimentation evolves, sometimes through many iterations. But ultimately must be a coherent whole before she is satisfied. Her growing roster of HeartStrings patterns are available at an ever-increasing network of retailers and can be seen at www.heartstringsfiberarts.com.

 

Be sure to check out Donna’s book “Successful Lace knitting“. A sequel to her Arctic Lace Book.

Knitting articles by Donna

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