Lace and Cables: Yarn Over’s

Now and then I feel like talking about something of relevance. This week its lace and cables mainly because I have Batik on the needles. We are a magnet for beginner knitters. I LOVE BEGINNER KNITTERS. I love all crafty people, but people who come to my shop with a clean slate seem to get excited by the littlest thing. “Hey, I fixed my own dropped stitch last night! I didn’t have to rip back.” We cheer on our knitters for this because it’s a big step in recognizing your booboos and then fixing them so that you can move forward. Hate to throw in a bit of spirituality here, but isn’t that true for many aspects of our lives?

So let’s talk Batik, a lesson in patience. I vowed not to have any dropped stitches. So instead I just forgot to yarn over. The first question: How do I know if I have a yarn over? There are enough videos showing how to make a yarn over. Let’s skip that tutorial. Instead I have a photo that shows the yarn over on the needle. So when you go to count your stitches and find you are off then you start looking for those extra loops or the holes missing after you completed the purl side.


Count three stitches from the left or right and you see that beauty right in the center. The most common error I have made on this journey is to forget to yarn over when it falls at the end of the pattern. You will find these little buggers on line 12, 33, 39, 57 and 63 on the Batik pattern. Stitch markers are a must to divide up your pattern repeats. However, I find that they also distract me because I think “Ah, there shouldn’t be a yarn over right before the stitch marker.” Just do it. You won’t lose the yarn over unless if you never made it in the first place!

If you are knitting on big enough needles (meaning you have a lacy gauge) and you find that you didn’t do the yarn over, then you pick up the bars between two stitches and create a loop. On the back side you just pick up the bar and purl it. If you find out after the fact and start a new pattern row, then you must go one bar down and stretch it up and over to make it reflect all the others on the project. My disclaimer is this. If you missed it on every pattern repeat then you need to rip back. At one point, you could compromise the pattern with too many tugged up bars.

So cabling with lace is tricky because we don’t always think of the two as fitting together on a lace shawl. Sweaters, yes. Shawls are a delicate subject because you want there to be big open designs and cables are just the opposite. You are twisting stitches to create thick patches of ornament. My first booboo on this Batik journey is that I think I should have gone up to size 9 for the body. I cast on with 9’s then switched to 5’s. I am working on my hand dyed sport weight yarn. Once the project hits the water, we will see the outcome. However, I will make a second with fingering weight to test my theory that the cables can hold their own and won’t affect the lace. It’s the nature of the pattern. I used cables on my beloved Penelope! Generally speaking you want to go down a needle size on cables to avoid holes and up two to three sizes on needles for lace to create holes. See where I am going with this if I were a beginner knitter?

I recommend this pattern for advanced beginners because you really get a lot: k2tog, ssk, yo, c4 back, c4 front, and more.
That’s the word!

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