Knitters, I’m proud to present Chris’ first blog article! She’s a real yarn enthusiast, and knits prodigiously, so has a great eye for projects. She sifted through all of the lace patterns out there to bring you our top picks for spring. Enjoy!
I’m a strong believer that you should knit with the best yarn you can possibly afford (even if that sometimes means I’m eating ramen because I decided to splurge on some vicuna. Don’t judge me; you’d do it too.) The right yarn, together with loving blocking, can turn even a garter stitch scarf into a thing of beauty. But I’ve had the privilege today of going through the lace projects on Ravelry, and picking out some favorites I’d like to knit up. I’m very excited about Knitcircus yarns, so I picked out the yarns I’d want to pair the patterns with, but of course you may have special skeins stashed which would fit perfectly.
If you want easy-ish lace, you should consider The Age of Brass and Steam. Mostly stockinette with increases, it features a few garter ridges (work one wrong side row as knit instead of purl) and eyelets (yo, k2tog, repeat) to make something that looks much more complicated than it actually is. Let the yarn do the work for you. I’d pair it with our Brass and Steam on a shiny base- perhaps Pirouette?
Berkeley, CA combines the best of a feather-and-fan base and stripes to break up a variegated colorway- but I think it’d be gorgeous on a gradient. I’d work it up on a color that has a lot going for it- possibly Eat, Pray, Knit?
Tiny Princess needs a pattern that has both the sensible, down to earth goodness, and the fancy knitting skills, to properly honor Amy Detjen. Lilac Wish is perfect for that. It’s mostly stockinette with garter ridges, perfect for knit night- but has a border of dainty lilac leaves, to keep your interest and impress the people that see it.
I’m only recently learning not to block my lace by pinning it down and stretching it to within an inch of its life, but the French Cancan is perfect for that. Yes, absolutely, pin it down and stretch it out so that the lace gets to show off- but there’s also a cable in there to poof up. Impressive-looking? Yes. Easy? Very. It’s mostly stockinette, with some shaping, some yarn-overs and k2togethers, and a simple braided cable. I think it’d look gorgeous on Fireflies.
I’m a huge fan of DyeForYarn (seriously, go check them out)- their bases are buttery and their dyework is stunning. I’m so happy to see they’re fantastic designers, too, when I finally connected that the Crescent over Lothlorien that I loved so much, was their design work. I completely understand and love you anyway if you decide to buy some of their yarn- I certainly would- but I also think it would be gorgeous worked up with our Lothlorien. It’s mostly reverse stockinette, with stockinette stems and some lace for the leaves.
I fell in love with a skein of yellow sparkle base by Alicia Goes Around, and thought it went perfectly with Felicia Lo’s Shattered Sun. There’s little I wouldn’t do for Sweet Georgia yarns- but can’t you imagine it on our Lemon Meringue?
The garter stitch emphasizes how gradual the gradient is, and it’s super easy to do- cast on one stitch, increase one at the beginning of each row, work until you run out of yarn, bind off. But that’s hardly lace, you say! Well, no, but it’s the beginning of the super-popular Aestlight shawl. And, as a bonus, it has a crochet version- the Magnificent Mantle.
It could just as easily turn into a Rock Island, though- although that, I’d love to see worked up on Fog Comes On Little Cat Feet
I absolutely loved making Summer Flies on a handspun gradient gifted to me. And while Knitcircus doesn’t offer handspun just yet, this color is very close to our Baby. And do use the cashmere. This project is worth it. It alternates mostly-stockinette with some eyelets for butterflies, with knit-togethers and yarn-overs for visual interest. It’s the most complicated pattern on this list so far, but I still managed to knit it while walking and having a conversation, so it definitely makes this list of “easy, but looks impressive because it’s worked on a gradient.”
Royal Tulips is one of those projects that is super impressive on a kettle dye/semisolid, but showstopping on a gradient. Leafy stalks flow into a border of blooms, and once you’ve got the hang of the repeat, it’s almost zen watching it flow out. I’d choose something that starts with a natural hue and goes to the drama- Robin’s Nest would be perfect.
All of these so far have been horizontal knitting- either cast on at the neck or at the base of the spine, and work up or down until you’re done. The Storm Warning is an interesting take on garter stitch- cast on at one end, increase until you’re halfway through the skein, then decrease until you’re done, with some lace along the edge and the same method of horizontal cable you learned with French Cancan. Beads give it extra pop, but are optional. I think it’d be gorgeous on most double gradients, but I’m most eager to knit it on April Skies or Shades of Gray- on Pixie Dust, if possible!
If you’re not a fan of cabling, perhaps Semele is more your thing? The leaf lace repeats are a little tricky at first, but by the time you’ve made the first, it’s really easy to keep going- and the gradient will keep all the stockinette interesting. I’d do it on a double gradient of Holly Leaves- on something with a lot of slink, so the silk or the tencel.
And, of course, I wore the Leftie at Yarn Con, made up on a skein of our Fashion Week and some undyed leftovers. Most people make Lefties with one solid color background, and lots of leftovers for the leaves and stems. The most common comment I got about it was “Wow, how many colors did you have to use to make that?” My response? “Just two- one gradient and some undyed leftovers.” Not everyone believed me- it was so complicated looking, but was basically garter stich with some increases and the very occasional short row.
Read more of Chris’ knitting adventures on her blog, Chris Furuya.