After passing in the thesis, I decided that I really needed to reclaim some of my evenings and weekends if I wanted to remain sane for the rest of the quarter. I worked very hard last week to avoid the urge to keep working all night (and all weekend), which meant that I suddenly have some time to myself again. Which means knitting.

The only problem is that the project on the needles is my handspun sweater, and the heavy yarn hurts my hands after just a few rounds. So, I needed a new project.

I asked myself what I wanted to work on, and my brain immediately cried “lace!” I laughed and said that I didn’t think it was really smart to think about designing lace with so much going on right now. So, what else is there? And the little voice popped up again: “Lace!”

After a few exchanges, it became obvious that I wasn’t winning this battle, especially since there was a new yarn also pushing for lace. So, I picked a simple pattern (only two rows), and started swatching.

(Warning: excessive swatching details to follow…you’re welcome to skip to the final swatch shot at the bottom if you like!)

First, I knit it as written (Stripe with twist bars, BW #2 p 260). It’s a garter stitch lace with a single stitch rib separating the columns. (Right side is on the left, wrong side on the right, backwards as that sounds…)

I actually think I might like the wrong side better…

Then, I tried a three-stitch rib, which I liked a lot better.

Working both ribs and lace with a garter basis made it all turn to mush.

Then, I tried a stockinette lace to match the stockinette ribs:

I’m not sure that you’ll be able to see it, but the bottom 4 repeats use a k3tog, and the top three repeats use a centered double decrease. It gives it a slightly different texture, but the left-leaning diagonal bars were a little too heavy for my liking, so I stuck with the k3tog. (It’s more obvious in person. Even Branden says so.)

I really like the scalloped edge that the pattern creates, and the firm vertical lines of the ribbing:

I think I’m going to make a lace shell out of this, and so I wanted some internal shaping to help with the garment fit. The join between a one-stitch rib and a three-stitch rib was a little more obvious than I’d like for garment shaping:

So I tried a two- to three-stitch transition instead:

This one is much less jarring, and the decrease makes the perfect ratio for the hip-to-waist transition. Here’s the swatch after blocking:

You can see the difference in width really well here; over three pattern repeats it’s almost the equivalent of adding a full repeat to the width of the piece (which is what I did at the top of the swatch).

And with that, I’m off into a new project. It’s actually quite a simple piece (or at least it looks simple on paper), so I’m hoping that it will be a good distraction from other things. So far, I’m finding it really helpful in keeping me from jumping back to work every 10 minutes (yes, my workaholic tendencies are showing). It’s a very simple lace pattern – I think I had it memorized before finishing the second repeat – so it’s a good transition project. Yay for new knitting!