Little Lessons: Limbering Up for Lace

By Jen Arnall-Culliford
August 10, 2020

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27 Comments
  • THANK YOU! Exactly what I need. Practice and a swatch, who knew?

    • I remember back in 2003 or so, teaching myself lace knitting in the library, and using that first “freeform” swatch as the basis of a multi-patterned scarf that I gave away! Such a warm memory! ❤ ♥️

  • Love this as a long time runner and a new knitter. I am so amazed by the skills of so many knitters. I practice and practice….

  • I’ve been running for almost 25 years and I still think everyone is faster than I am. I may be right.

    • What process did you use to start running? What app?

      • Ha ha! App. 25 years ago. I see what you did there.

        You know, in my day we didn’t need an app to run. And we did it in the snow, uphill, both ways. 🙂

  • Yay Jen! Good for you! You can be proud of yourself. You’d probably enjoy the movie “Brittany Runs a Marathon.” (Actually, everyone probably would.)
    I don’t know if it’s available in the U.K.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sr5Dn_O__Pg

  • I just finished my first lace work—a scarf with six different patterns. It was so worth it! Lots of practice to learn how to work the stitches and read the knitting. Learning how to recognize the yarnovers is key, because when I ended up with the wrong count it was usually a missed yarnover! Funny, too, since unintentional yarnovers were my most common mistake when I started knitting in November (was it only November?). The videos are so useful for the new knitter trying to learn while social distancing!

  • Thank you for the video and great job running!!! As a trade for the knit tips, check out Jeff Galloway’s website for running. He’s a former Olympian that has made life long runners out of couch potatoes for years with his run:walk method, it allows for significantly longer times and distances quick(er) and reduces burnout and overuse injury.

  • I’ve always been intimidated by knitting lace, and right now, my brain doesn’t seem to want to learn anything new, lol! However, I think I will try this out!

  • This is exactly the moment of quarantine when I need to know your running app, too. Also, timely in that I am picking up a lace project. I’m searching a shale pattern for a little cowl for my mom in one precious skein of silk/cashmere

    • The app I used is called Couch to 5k and was produced by the NHS. I don’t know if it is available elsewhere or just in the UK, but I’m sure similar resources abound on the internet. It started with very short bursts of running interspersed with plenty of walking and built from there. 🙂

      • Couch to 5k is great! The plan was originally invented by a runner named Josh Clark in the mid-90s. I used it 20 years ago in high school after a severe leg injury, to help me get back to playing soccer. Back then you had to copy over the plan onto a paper calendar, so I am sure the app is much more user-friendly 😉

        It really is a wonderful, thoughtful way to help someone start running and improve their fitness without pushing too hard too soon and getting discouraged or injured.

  • Thank you so much for the tutorials. I’ve watched each one twice now, and I would not have known how to do an SSP at all without seeing it demonstrated. I haven’t practiced that one yet and it looks a bit strenuous. I’m having some trouble with the k2tog already in the rib lace; I have to stick my right needle into the two stitches from the right to pre-stretch them (especially the one on the left), and then carefully sneak around without pulling on anything to get in there before they tighten up again.

    That being said, from my perspective the tumbling blocks pattern actually looks like it will be easier for me to keep track of because of the reassuringly short number of stitches that repeat over and over again. My rib lace swatch started off pretty rough because I kept getting lost somewhere in the row and not being able to figure out where I was. I get distracted and drift off a lot (really terrible at meditation). I’m just wondering if I’m the only one! I solved my problem by writing out the pattern for myself in groups of three instructions, like yo, p1, yo on one line, then k2tog, k2, k2tog on the next line, etc., and I just work in groups of three until I get to the end of the row. Even after drifting off I can figure out my most recent group of three. Maybe I’m the only one who needs this assistive device, but if anyone is having trouble with the rib lace maybe something like this will help you too.

    • I saw someone suggest using stitch markers after each pattern section or repeat the other day. That might work for you too.

    • My first attempt at the Rib Lace scarf led me to that realization that every knitter has at some point: the difference between “smart” and “dumb” knitting, and the need to have one of each on the go at all times.

      I got off to a great start, and then made the fatal error of deciding to work on it late in the evening with a glass of wine in hand. I made it about a row and a half before I botched my count and realized that while I could see exactly where the mistake was, I had no clue how it was created or how to fix it. It was a rookie wandering-concentration move!

      Now, attempt #2 is my smart project and only worked on with the right environmental conditions – during the day, in good light, after coffee, minimal distractions. For evening knitting with TV and pinot noir, I’ve now got a dumb pair of socks that requires no more reading (of either knitting or pattern) than your average box of breakfast cereal. Much better!

  • And I was proud of walking 15 min this morning. I’m just speechless, that you could get up to that amount of time so fast.

  • Wow

  • Thanks for these tips and videos Jen. I now also have a vision in my head of you coming out of your front door, hitting play on Kate Bush on the ipod and “Running up that Hill” 😀

  • Wonderful tutorials (as always), Jen. I have knit lace before but this makes the process so much more clear. I am curious as to what the two yarns are that you used in these three videos? It’s lovely how you create elegant visuals using the basic tools/supplies of knitting.

  • There’s a Guinness world record for knitting while running a marathon. In 2013, it was a scarf 12 ft 1 and 3/4 inches in 5 hrs 48 min. There’s a goal to shoot for!
    Video on youtube.

  • Can you tell me which yarns are pictured in this article? They are so pretty.

  • Love the videos and I too taught myself to run did my first 5k in my mid fifties and still run I have a question about the sap you do it differently than described in the field guide, theirs seems easier to me does it make a difference?

    • I just read my question and realized auto correct changed SSP to sap. My question was you do the SSP decrease differently than described in the field guide does it make a difference? Sorry for the confusion.

  • Regarding the SSK – so happy I watched the video as I’ve always slipped both stitches as to knit. I checked some knitting books and that’s the method they teach. I like the slip as to knit/slip as to purl method. When is it used versus other methods? Thanks for the education!

  • Jen, this is my first time doing ssp so I turned to the abbreviations page at the back of the Guide but found that Ssk and Ssp have the same knit definition. ? Thank you for the clarification of your video!

  • Thank you for the tutorials. They are a gift in the time of Covid!