Lace Knitting Tip: Check Your Mirrors

By Kay Gardiner
September 3, 2020

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  • This is clever as it builds in muscle memory ( or is that eyeball memory!)
    I use a counting technique in much the same way 1 – 6. 3 is always the pass slip stitch over.
    I hope the move has continued to be uneventful. I won’t ever get there, I live in the UK, but I enjoy reading about it.

  • I’m really tempted to join the Knitalong on this lovely sweater and might just have to use Cooper Circle as well. Question: Do we really need three skeins of Rustic Fingering? From your picture it looks like three would be enough.

    • I won’t know for sure until I get there but it is looking that way for the third size!

      • Kay and Catherine, now you have me really confused. The third size of the Mood Cardigan calls for FIVE skeins of Rustic Fingering on the product page. And you planned for four, but might only use three skeins? Can someone confirm just how many skeins I should buy??

    • Oops … meant to say do we really need four skeins, like the pattern states.

  • Thank you so much Kay! I failed to check my mirrors so many times in the making of my current project that this is really valuable information. Am looking forward to viewing all the completed Mood Cardigans. Love the swing of it! Chloe

    • I’m excited for the Parade of Moods, too! I fell in love with the inspiration garment back in January, it’s just very wearable.

  • Teaching someone to drive —-

    • Well he’s had his license for more than a year now, but I still remind him to check his mirrors. Driving in NYC has a tendency to make you expect people to get out of your way, because you have to get out of the way of so many people who do not check their mirrors! That’s not us! You come from a long line of mirror-checkers, my son!

  • I am getting lots of practice because I haven’t managed to get gauge yet. My trick is to say in my head yarn over, 1,2,3, yarn over, and knit three. The 1,2,3 are the steps to do the slip, knit 2, and pass over. It especially important to pay attention on the first row when starting a new repeat. Having found this particular counting I haven’t missed a pass over yet. Now if I can find the right size needle to get gauge…. For those who think lace is hard I am finding this pattern easy to do, easy to read, and very handsome.

  • I’m currently knitting a shawl/scarf with the same, simple lace pattern. An easy 6-stitch repeat. I also keep making the same mistake you describe. Funny I solved it (mostly) the same way with the addition of an odd 3×3 counting method. I can also recognize the mistake on the return purl row so it’s quick to correct. Thanks for the lesson in checking mirrors.

  • Like so many in the comments have done, when there is a sequence like the sk2p within a pattern, I do some sort of mental counting or chanting the steps, but try to think of them as a whole (that is, don’t stop in the middle for anything!). But I like the idea of building in a quick check that I’ve done it correctly, too, especially as I like to listen to audio books as I knit.

  • This is very similar to what I do when knitting lace patterns like this. I count the stitches in the pattern repeats on the reverse row to make sure they are correct. Mistakes are easy to fix at that point.

  • Just started the Mood Cardigan as of last night and I’m still trying to get the feel of the lace stitch. Thanks for the tip! I know it’s going to help me out.

  • This the sweater in the to picture a child size? It has that rounded shadow a child or baby sweater often has.

    • No, it’s me-shaped. It’s an unusual construction so I get why you wondered. Click the link above to the look book or the product listing for Field Guide No. 15 to see photos of it on a woman.

  • Perfect timing for this post. I’m a new lace knitter struggling with how to stay alert. Mistakes happen, some you rip, some you correct, but I also found and enjoyed a previous post on “fudging.”

  • Thanks Kay! I usually put in a marker, this is much easier. I believe I could apply this in many situations. Like before I buy everything except what I ran out to get.
    My latest rule is if my brain says that looks odd, do not ignore it. It may be fine or it may be something that requires ripping out if you keep going, but now it has a name. Check your mirrors!

  • Excellent advice! As someone with ADHD (both a blessing and a curse, believe me) I’ve had to give up knitting lace because of the silly mistakes I kept making. I drove myself mad and my precious knitting time became something I dreaded. I tried counting/chanting, but my wonderful kids all inherited my ADHD, so our house is usually a circus and getting a chance to count without constant interruptions would be a miracle! But I can drive, and I always check my mirrors, so I think I could actually manage this with some discipline at first. I loved that cardi the moment I saw it and thought it would never be a possibility for me, so thank you for showing me a way forward.

  • Kay
    Do you really ever read these? I hope this makes it to you. You and Ann and your honest and sincere reflections on knitting and true life experiences have carried me along thru these turbulent days. Know that all of the blessings you and your staff have extended to all of us are cause for your own blessings

    • Hi Etoyle,

      We read every comment, every email. Thanks so much for this very sweet one.


  • Learning to read your lace knitting …. is important. And practiced by those of us who have knit lace …. Lovely analogy. I do this a lot. (It also helps not to be tired, or have bad lighting). My mantra — no new lace late at night. The morning will not be kind.

    I can’t wait to see how this goes together — I am so very intrigued!