Our July KAL is the Kookaburra Wrap - an easy lace, lightweight, summer scarf/shawl/wrap/whatever you want it to be! If you've never knit lace before, this is a great first project, since the repeat is short (easy to memorize), the stitches are simple (yo, k2tog) and the pattern is both written and charted!
I've included a couple tips written right into the pattern instructions. I highly recommend using stitch markers for this, especially if you haven't done much lace knitting. It will help keep things on track, and help you find your mistakes (if you make any) easier! I prefer the ring-type stitch markers in soft rubber, as I feel they are easier to move as you come to them, and don't tend to wrap around the yarn. The removable type markers hang loose around your needle, and can sometimes trick you about placement if they're sitting on top of a yarnover.
I mention in the pattern about modifying for a different size by adding or removing repeats of the lace pattern. You can also use this information to modify for a different size of yarn too! I decided to make my Kookaburra with Juniper Moon Farm Cumulus, a light and bright cotton yarn we just received this spring. But it's thicker, with an Aran gauge, so I can't just follow the pattern. Well, I could - but I probably wouldn't be happy!
First step is to decide what needle size to use. Knowing that lace looks best knit loose and blocked open, I knew that I would use a needle size larger than the ball band recommends. Now start swatching. I cast on 17 stitches for a swatch - 4 for each edge, and 9 for the lace repeat pattern - and knit one repeat of the lace pattern with 4 stitches in garter on each edge. Switch needles and do this until you are knitting a fabric you like - not too loose, but not too tight - spread it a bit to see how the lace pattern will looked when blocked.
I ended up with a US 11 - but since every knitter is different, you could end up with something different! Next, I measured how wide the lace repeat is when knit with size 11, shown here:
It measures 3.5 inches. Now that I know how wide the lace repeat is, I can decide how many repeats I need for the desired width of my wrap. I ended up choosing 5 repeats, which should give me a wrap about 22-23 inches wide (I added 2 inches each side for the garter stitch border). I also decided that just 4 stitches would be right for the garter stitch border, so now it's time to do some math to calculate how many stitches to cast on. 4 st border + 5x9 for lace repeats + 4 st border = 53 sts.
See, that math wasn't too hard! This is the same process you would follow if you wanted to make your wrap wider or narrower. Just calculate how many repeats of the 9 st lace pattern, add on your border sts, and you have your cast on number. That's all you need to know to modify any pattern with continuous repeats!
We have a nice long, 4th of July weekend coming up, so I hope you find lots of knitting time in the sun in the coming days!
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