Too dense? Who, me? (edited)

There’s a huge “edited to add” portion at the bottom of the entry, in case you didn’t see it yet.

I’m feeling much better – thank you all for your ‘get well’ wishes. I’m happy that all of you liked the Spider Web border, it reassures me that my grandma will like it, too. In my opinion, even though it was murder to knit because every stitch looked like a googly-moogly, it was well worth it – very unique and quite breathtaking.

And now, the next part – the skinny border highlighted in orange. This one is knit perpendicularly to the main triangle of the shawl, and simultaneously attached by knitting a stitch of the border with a stitch of the main triangle every right-side row. Very cool technique, and things are moving along very quickly because the repeat is only 16 stitches and 10 rows big. Yeehaw!

However, as I predicted some time ago, this is proving to be the most challenging part of the shawl. I have changed the shape of the original shawl drastically, and this border takes the bulk of the burden of the redesign.

I need help, and a bit of advice. Where are my expert lace knitters? Emily, Claudia, Carrie, Eunny, June, others? As of right now, I’m knitting 2 rows of border per 1 stitch of main triangle. In addition, the border is knit on US 2s, and the main triangle on US 1s.

Click for a close-up. Shawl completely relaxed/unstretched in the photograph.

My concern is that the border is too dense, that perhaps I should knit 1 row of border per 1 stitch of main triangle. The pattern doesn’t offer any insight because in the original, this border is not really attached to the main triangle in this fashion. I want to be able to block the border nicely, in a way that really exposes the pretty mini-spider web pattern, and I’m just not sure what to do.

Thank you in advance!

Edited to add:

The reason I voiced my concern… or better, the reason I know there’s a concern to be had is because dry-blocking looks like this:

On the right, above the spider web border, I picked up the stitches with no rhyme or reason, and the density of the border looks “right on” when dry-blocked. However, above the main triangle the stitches are already there, and I was knitting them at a ratio of 2 border rows to 1 body stitch. As you can see, and I say this in my best Zoolander voice while puckering my lips, it’s not good-looking.

Resolution: I’m still mulling over the needle size; the spider web border was knit on 2s, the final border is also set to be knit on 2s, and the portion above the spider web border looks fine – any thoughts? But, the stitch density has to change, and according to my calculations, if I want things to look just as they do above the spider web border, I should knit at a density of 1 rows of border per 1 (!) st of body… pretty much exactly!

And no fear or dread of frogging, people – this stuff is a piece of cake to knit, especially after the googly mooglies 🙂 🙂 :).


18 thoughts on “Too dense? Who, me? (edited)

  1. eunny

    How is it possible that I am near the top of commenters? Usually by the time I come, there are, like, 400 comments already 🙂

    2 border rows to 1 main body stitch is about right, although I would knit them on the same size needle (just my preference – I think it helps the whole thing look more coherent to have the same gauge base fabric for borders and body). If you feel that the border absolutely looks better on size 2s, I’d change the ratio to 3 border rows for every 2 stitches, or maybe even 4 border rows to 3 stitches.

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, spiderwebby and beautiful. Can’t *wait* to see it blocked!

  2. Theresa

    I agree with Eunny — I’m not a lace expert, but I’d do the border on the same size needles and I probably wouldn’t do one to one but it seems like 2 to 1 on the bigger needles makes the top border a bit too dense. Of course, it’s hard to say too much without seeing it blocked. The spiderwebs are really gorgeous!

  3. Frida

    Hi Kathy! I´m no expert per se, but I have done this type of border many, many times and I would in your shoes change to the same size needle, then 2 rows border/1 stitch main body should be fine when blocked. Good luck, the shawl looks beautiful.

    Greetings from Iceland

  4. claudia

    I agree with the others. Also, I wonder if there is any way to test block just a bit of the edging to see if this will really work. I’d cry super hard if I had to rip out that border.

  5. Nancy J

    2 for 1 should be good — how does it look un-relaxed? does it stretch enough? too much puckering? if hand-blocking it doesn’t seem like the border will work, then i agree with others above that a bit larger needle or a 3/4 would work better (but then we’re looking at frogging….)

  6. Theresa

    Everytime I’ve knit this kind of border, it called for 2 border rows for 1 body stitch (thereby attaching the 2 borders rows to that 1 body stitch with 1 k2tog) BUT only when the body is st st based, the border is garter based, which is naturally shorter, so it works. Otherwise, 3-for-2 works pretty well, or even 1-for-1.

    I agree with the others about using the same size needle as the body.

  7. Sue

    The shawl is looking great.

    Here’s another approach that uses more math: Measure how many stitches per 4 inches in the body near where you will attach the border. Call this ratio_1 (#stitches/4 inch). Then measure how many rows per 4 inches you are getting on a swatch of the border and call it ratio_2 (#border rows/4 inch). Now calculate a third ratio by dividing ratio 2 by ratio 1. That result should be your border_row to body_stitch ratio. This might be a good sanity check in the 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 ratio recommended in the previous comments.

    Stitch to row ratio similar to this is described in a grafting section in Sally Melville’s Purl book pgs 24-25

  8. April

    Well, I know nothing of lace except that it’s pretty, and that I’m still scared to try it! LOL

    It all looks good to me, though, I’m sorry you’ve been sick, I must have still been in my fog b/c somehow I didn’t read that last time! I’m glad you are feeling better, though, it seems to be universal, everyone is either sick or has kids who are. Everyone take vitamin C! =)

  9. Lisa D.

    I’m with Sue. I have no advice to give. I’ve only done some very basic and fast lace projects. I’m still trying to pick out a shawl pattern for myself. Needless to say, I WON’T be picking the one you’re using. Just thought I would tell you I’m cheering you on anyway, and watching in awe!

  10. Kim

    I am sorry to say.. it’s all greek to me.. I am no lace knitter.. and reading this made my eyes go cross eyed.. even more so than the googly mooglies..

  11. Jen

    I’m with the non-lace knitters…I’m in awe of you calling the border easy! I think it looks great, just wanted to say it’s a beautiful piece. You go girl!

  12. June

    On my veil (border constructed using traditional Orenberg technique), I picked up 1 st for every 2 rows. Don’t know if that helps!

  13. June

    Mine was a cryptic comment, wasn’t it? Let me try again:

    Knit the lower border first, slipping the edge to make a selvedge, so there’s 1 edge stitch for every 2 rows of border. Pick up all selvedge stitches and then start making the body (borders are turned, and side edges are made simult. w/the body). When all you have left is the top border, you’ll be doing 2 border rows for every stitch of the body.

  14. Emily

    I’ve always used the method that Sue described. Sometimes I end up *attaching to the next stitch three times, then the second stitch once, repeat from *, or some such scheme. It depends on how lacy the border is compared to the body of the shawl. That ratio may be different over the border lace (on the right of the picture) compared to the body of the shawl (the left side, where the border is more bunched up). Good luck! It looks great so far.

  15. Liz (the crazed weasel)

    Ack! I see your difficulty. It looks great over the spiderweb section, and a bit too bunchy over the main lace. You probably need to do a pickup that varies in some annoying way, like somewhere between 1 and 2 rows per pickup; I’d suggest alternating the 2 to 1 with 1 to 1 and see if that spreads it out enough, using the size 2’s on the strength of how good it looks on the other section. Definitely do just a bit and dry-block as you’ve done here and see if it’s working.

    HTH and it looks spiffing, dahling, and hello.


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