Who can resist the chic delicacy of lace with its beautiful use of eyelets and decreases, pushing and pulling yarn into an airy fabric that is as fun to knit as it is to wear? Lace on its own is enchanting, but there is something special about testing out new techniques to morph everyday yarn overs into openwork that is captivating, unique and, sometimes, wonderfully unusual. When it comes to exploring openwork in ways beyond the eyelet, it helps to think of the spaces rather than the stitches.
Imagine where space should go and then experiment with different methods to create that opening. One method I tried was combining a bind-off and double yarn over, resulting in a slightly diagonal effect. The bind-off edge created a sort of slash on one row while the double yarn over, worked on the next row, re-created the stitches that were removed. I took advantage of quite possibly the EASIEST method ever: giant needles. Using needles that were way oversized for the yarnin this case, size 11 (8mm) instead of the called-for 4 (3.5mm) needles blended delightfully with yarn overs and decreases to create a fabric that is vivid in its sheerness.
For another swatch, I alternated working a series of bind-offs on one row with a standard backward-loop cast-on on the following row. Using this with garter stitch ensured a continuous pattern with a thrilling flexibility. The trick to this concept is in the blocking; go crazy and stretch it until it looks pleasing to the eye. And finally, even though I’m not a crocheter (other than edgings!), I pulled out a crochet hook to attempt something different. Here, I knitted a rectangle and then worked chains all around the edge, forming giant loops. Then, I went a little crazy by going back to the knitting needles and picking up one stitch from each loop before continuing to the next loop by casting on stitches with the cable cast-on. I can see using this technique for a gorgeous panel on a shawl! Innovation comes from trying new things, so grab some yarn and play with a few of these ideas. Imagine where the space should go and then remove the stitches from it. What new and unusual ways can you create windows in your knits? The magic is all in the play when it comes to openwork that captivates and delights.
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