Well, I've done it! I'm up (or down?) to the lace part of the shawl. With 193 stitches on the needle, I'm ready to really dig in.
Before I get started on the lace, I printed out the pattern, gathered up some stitch markers, and found my post-its:
The next thing that I did before getting started was to go back and read through the "Notes" section of the pattern. Any time you do something new in a pattern, or any place that a pattern switches gears, it's good to look for any notes, tips, or other details that might make things easier for you while knitting.
This pattern does have some notes, right before the actual pattern starts (click to see it larger):
Reading the notes, I learn that the stitch counts change over the lace rows, and that I should only try to count stitches on the rows where stitch counts have been provided. The next thing to do is to check out the chart. I always look at the chart very closely before starting to knit. If I can get my head around what the lace will look like and how it's formed before I start, it's easier to follow along while knitting.
I also see that there are *two* repeat sections of lace, highlighted in pink, one is worked 3(4, 5) times, then one central snippet is worked once, and then a section is repeated another 3(4, 5) times. I've never seen this done in a lace chart, so I'm glad I checked it out!
The next thing that I'm going to do is add a lifeline to my knitting before I start working through the charts. A lifeline is just a length of yarn threaded through all of the stitches on the needle. This makes it so that if I need to rip back for some reason, I don't run the risk of dropping stitches or losing track of where I was.
If I can get that done today, I'll post more pics!
How are your Holdens coming along?
If you're finding the shawl too difficult, or are interested in joining us but are feeling intimidated, Craftsy has a great online shawl knitting course, taught by designer Laura Nelkin.
"...An active knitwear designer, blogger, and workshop leader, Laura is the ideal guide for every stage of your lace knitting adventure, from learning to choose yarn and knit borders and edges, to reading multiple charts at once."