Over the next few weeks we are running a knit-a-long for the four patterns in our Soakboxes. We will be posting detailed information on each of the patterns as well as fun things you can do with your Soakboxes for yourself, as a gift and as a group. You can order a kit from us directly or you can ask for it by name from your local yarn store. May your hands be soft, fibers fresh and nails match your knits!
Lace Kelly is probably the easiest of the four mitts, and is a great project to practice knitting lace. The cuff detail is only a handful of rows, so nothing to get too overwhelming. We love how organically the thumb grows out of the lace pattern. It is sure to add a touch of old Hollywood glamour to your day, even if it is just running out to the shops!
As with any small project knit in the round, there are a few options for what kind of needles (double pointed needles, magic loop, 2 circulars) to use. For the most part your choice will come down to personal preference, though there are a few pros and cons to each style. In the case of Lace Kelly I think that it mostly comes down to pros. Due to the relative simplicity of the design, there aren’t any strong cases against a needle type.
The biggest difference between the styles is the stitch counts on each needle. There are a few ways to arrange your stitches. This will change depending on which style you choose.
If you are using 4 double pointed needles you will want to divide the stitches evenly by 3 to fit around your needles. This is all well and good for the small size, as 48 divides quite nicely by 3 so that you have 16 stitches on each needle. Things are a little tricky for the larger size, which has 56 stitches and does not divide evenly by 3. It seems that it is a bit tricky to get 18.666666667 stitches on one needle! The stitches must be divided up as evenly as possible though, and there are two ways to do this. The best thing to do when deciding how to divide the stitches is to look at the pattern repeats in the design and go from there. Luckily Lace Kelly is quite simple and lends itself to dividing by pattern repeats very well. The main pattern has an 8 stitch pattern repeat, which means that we can divide the stitches around as 16-16-24. It does mean that margin of stitches between the needles is quite large, but has the added bonus of keeping the repeats together. Some people may find this annoying, which leads us to the second option of just getting the stitches as close to the same number of stitches as possible. This would give you 18-18-20 stitches on each needle. The downside of this is that there will be a few pattern repeats that span over two needles, which could be confusing to a newer lace knitter.
Speaking of lace knitting, I am sure that you will find most of the stitches in this pattern familiar to you, even if you are new to lace knitting. K2tog and ssk are very common decreases, often found in the top of hat, mittens and all sorts of other projects. The other two stitches are very common in lace knitting, but are less common outside of lace knitting. These are a yarn over (yo), which adds a stitch, and a Centered double decrease (Cdd), which decreases two stitches. Looking at the pattern you may ask, why a Cdd? Why not just knit 3 together (k3tog) or slip 2 stitches, knit 1, passed slipped stitches over (skpsso)? Aside from the confusing acronyms, they each look slightly different. Here, the Cdd is used to create an elegant line between the holes of the yarnovers. If you are interested in learning more about decreases Knitty has a great article with photographs that illustrates the decreases mentioned here. The Cdd in Lace Kelly is the second example under Double Decreases.
Another thing to watch out for is the Cdd on rows 13 and 19. In order to have the Cdd that is at the end of the row work out, it will need to steal the first stitch of the next row. One way for this to work easily is at the beginning of rows 13 and 19, knit the first stitch. Then slip this stitch from its needle to the needle before it. Then you can start the row as written.
Happy Knitting! Don’t forget to pop over to our Ravelry group if you have any more questions and to update us on your progress!