By Patty Lyons
Welcome to the Fan the Flames Knitalong!
Today we want to get started off right, which means swatching and design, but before we get started, grab a copy of Fan the Flames Cowl HERE for a limited time only. However, if you purchase Patty’s Annie’s Video Class, Circular Knitting Essentials, on sale November 2014, this pattern is part of the download materials provided with the class.
Now, you might be thinking, “Design? I thought we were following a pattern!” We are, but it’s a modular pattern, which means you have lots of options!
Swatching & Design
Fan the Flames was designed like the pieces of a puzzle; you can swatch one fan chart and one flame chart in the yarn you like — no need to try to match my gauge! Then you can measure the length and width of each puzzle piece and see what you like.
For example, in Tahki Mesa the cowl has a fan stitch that measures 4 inches wide.
So, if we used two repeats of the flame stitch on each side, and one repeat of the fan stitch we’ll get:
9 inches (2 repeats of flame) + 4 inches (1 repeat of fan) + 9inches + 4inches = 26 inches wide.
They are both 3 1/4 inches tall, so if we repeated the whole pattern three times we’d get a cowl that is 9 3/4 inches high x 26 inches in circumference. You can create your cowl as skinny, wide, tall or short as you like.
Let’s look at one more example:
The swatch below has a fan stitch that measures 3 inches wide.
If we used two repeats of the flame stitch on each side, and two repeats of the fan stitch we’ll get:
7 1/2 inches (2 repeats of flame) + 6 inches (1 repeat of fan) + 7 1/2 inches + 6 inches = 27 inches wide.
They are both 2 3/4 inches tall, so if we repeated the whole pattern four times we’d get a cowl that is 9 inches high x 27 inches in circumference.
By now hopefully you’re itching to get swatching. Just remember to lightly spray each piece with water and pin out to desired look and let dry. Since you’re not necessarily trying to match my gauge, just use the needles that create the look you like and open up the lace in blocking as much as YOU like. Isn’t it nice to be the boss!
If you’re new to chart reading, it’s not a scary as you think. Since this pattern includes the words and the chart, you can use one to check yourself to see how your chart-reading skills are coming along.
There are three things I want you to know about chart reading:
- The chart is a visual representation of the RS of the work. That’s a fancy way of saying the chart is really a picture of your knitting. Notice how the symbol for a yarn over is a circle, and the symbol for a k2tog (a single right-slanting dec) is a line that slants to the right.
- Since you are working in the round, each round of the chart is read right to left.
- In a chart, the red bracket is a pattern repeat. It’s the same as an * in the instructions text. In the case of the flame chart, the stitches outside the bracket are the “balancing stitches.”
If you were to work two repeats of the flame stitch, you would start with the stitches outside the bracket. Then, you would work the stitches in the red bracket, repeat those 14 stitches (two repeats) and then end the section with the stitches. You can see that in this case two repeats of the flame chart will create three flames.
It’s time for a little myth busting. Have you ever heard “To create an elastic edge, cast on loosely, or cast on using a larger needle”? Hooey. That will just create big or sloppy stitches in your first row. What makes an elastic edge is the spacing between the stitches.
Watch the video above where I demonstrate my favorite elastic cast-on for lace.
Stitch markers are sooooo helpful. I would suggest using a unique color for the end of round, and then using other markers as indicated in the pattern to separate the fan and the flame, but you also might want to use another color within the flame section to mark the 14-stitch repeat. It kind of stops you and reminds you, “Hey, don’t finish the section — you have to go back and repeat those 14 stitches.”
Creating the Lace
If you are new to lace knitting, you can check Annie’s StitchGuide.com. From here you can find instructions for all the stitches noted in the pattern.
If you are an experienced lace knitter, I want to address a couple of things that might have always bugged you — perfectly matching yarn overs (yo) and slip, slip, knit (ssk).
Well, that was quite a bit to get you started. Don’t worry if you run into any problems while you work, because guess what Week Two is about? You guessed it — fixing mistakes in lace. If you do get in a jam, just set your work aside and I’ll meet you back here next week.
Just joining the knitalong? Check out this post to get started!