Sunday, April 28, 2013

Knitting with laceweight yarn

A few years back, like most inexperienced knitters, I preferred thicker yarn and larger needles.  Now that I have practiced the craft, I have no problem knitting with laceweight yarn.  I don't prefer it, but I can do it.  That's why I ordered a lot of laceweight when I first saw a sweater pattern that recommended it. 

It was the Tissue Cardigan, by Deborah Newton, in the Spring 2010 issue of Interweave Knits, simultaneously with a sale on the recommended yarn, Misti Alpaca Lace, that sparked my impulse to buy laceweight--a lot of it.  By the time my buying frenzy was done, I had a lot of yarn and pattern ideas on hand.

I'm about halfway through this laceweight-sweater-and-shawl knitting phase now, progressing from heavier, lace-like yarns to very thin ones and from small shawls to complete sweaters.  I can handle knitting with the stuff and see some advantages.

First is versatility.  Laceweight yarns can be combined to produce a combination of colors or fibers that knits like a fingering weight yarn. 
Second is comfort.  A lighter yarn produces a lighter garment.  Depending on fiber content, it can be as warm as a heavier weight garment.
Third is economy.  More yardage per ball of yarn, more stitches per row, more time to knit. 

Basically, I am spending less on yarn because it lasts longer.  Since I have a lot of sweaters, shawls and accessories and don't really need more, I want projects that fill up knitting time.  I have lots of knitting time, as proven by my latest project:

It is a square shawl, literally two triangular shawls worth of knitting time.  The pattern is Vixen, by Tori Gurbisz, available online from Ravelry or Knitpicks.  Though I used two laceweight yarns held together (the darker Misti Alpaca left over from my last sweater and some Malabrigo Lace), I think it would be nice in a single strand of laceweight yarn. 

One advantage to using a lighter yarn is the result when the shawl is folded in half. 

Folding produces a triangular shawl, making this two shawls in one, one that is destined to see a lot of use in the cool Colorado summer mornings and evenings.

A final note:  I loved the colors in the Malabrigo but hated the pooling.   Double stranding it with the brown alpaca subdued it just enough.  In case others just might have a difficult variegated yarn to tame :), they should see my project page for construction details.  I did make some changes to adapt the pattern to the lighter weight yarn.

1 comment:

Marjorie said...

I used to knit with lighter weight yarn when I lived in overheated Manhattan apartments and worked in overheated offices. But now that I keep my thermostat down, I have been on a jag of knitting with "rustic" yarns of a slightly heavier weight. For me, it seems to go in cycles. I definitely have problems saying "no" to beautiful yarns of any weight.