I love knitting lace, I don't do as much of it as I would like to but when I can really get into a project I am so very happy. Lately I have been really enjoying patterns with the combination of a large area that has a simple repeat, and then a small area with that 'wow' factor which of course is a bit more involved. I love being able to work through the simple repeat section that has enough going on to keep me interested but not so much that I have to pause the show. And then finish it all off with the striking border, or edging or whatever it might be.
Samarran was designed with this 'recipe' in mind, it has a center section with an 8 row repeat. Some of the wrongside rows are worked as knit rows for an extra little touch of texture but mostly the pattern is a simple diagonal lace pattern. Then when the center is complete you pick up stitches (and place held stitches onto holders) to work the border in the round.
Increases are worked in the corner sections using the same pattern as the middle area, and the remaining stitches are worked in a graphic and romantic design that has a series of ovals finished with points. The sample is worked with 3 skiens of Alpaca Prima from Plymouth Yarn Company, this fingering weight yarn was a dream to work with and the slight halo from the alpaca fiber almost makes the shawl seem like is glowing.
There are a few beads in the border, not enough to overwhelm but just enough to highlight the aspects of the lace pattern and give a bit of sparkle and weight to the design.
Placing beads in knitting can be done in two ways, one way is stringing the beads onto the yarn and then working them into the stitch. For the Samarran shawl I use the other method which is to place the bead onto a stitch using a very tiny crochet hook. The size of hook that I am using is a 0.75mm hook and it works well for Size 6 beads.
This method of placing the bead requires you to work the stitches as indicated by the chart (or written if you prefer to follow the written directions) and then place the bead.
To place a bead on a regular knit stitch, begin by knitting the stitch.
'Load' a bead onto the crochet hook.
Insert the hook into the stitch, and remove it from the knitting needle.
With tension on the stitch and using your finger tip slip the bead from the hook onto the stitch.
The alpaca is fuzzy enough that the stitch with bead is pretty solid, using a slippery fiber like silk or rayon would be a bit trickier.
Replace the stitch back onto the knitting needle.
If your bead is placed on a decrease then work the decrease as indicated, and then follow the steps to place a bead onto the decrease.
I like to purchase beads from www.artbeads.com since they have a great selection and if you live in the West they tend to have fast shipping.