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How to Choose a Lace Pattern?

Shawl progress
Shawl progress
This is my progress so far on my Pi Are Square shawl. I’m about halfway through the 12-ridge section. It turns out that both of the stitches used here look very similar to each other. I don’t mind that… but what’s next? How do I choose?

One of my biggest faults is that I worry so much sometimes about doing something wrong that I over-study, and over-study the problem, and then that leads to progress paralysis. You’re familiar with project paralysis, right? It plagues every knitter, every writer, every doer of anything creative from time to time. Well, I seem to have an extreme case. I have consulted all of these books for inspiration over the last week:

That’s an entire library on knitting lace and a practical encyclopedic collection of lace stitches. And you know what? I’m confused! I’ve gone overboard, again.

I’ve narrowed the field to a few criteria, but I have to go through the stitches again to find things that I think will work. Here are my thoughts:

  • It has to somehow fit into the area that I want to knit it into, not exactly, because I can use filler stitches and rows, but close enough.
  • It should be different from, but not clash with, the stitches that are already there, and the ones that follow (as if I know what that means yet)
  • The stitches have to be just complicated enough that they will keep my interest, but not so complicated that they make my brain hurt or that I can’t learn them, or read them from my knitting, after doing a couple of repeats
  • I’d like my stitch choices to be something that adapt easily to garter stitch
  • And they have to be beautiful, without looking too much like “old lady” lace, whatever that means. I have purple hair, for goodness sake, and I’m going through a bit of a midlife crisis. Not that old fashioned lace can’t be simply stunning, I’m just not sure it’s me.

So, have I driven you mad with my craziness? Does anybody out there have any thoughts on this? HOW the heck do I sort this all out? I feel like I’m only taking my first, tentative baby steps with lace knitting, and yet, I’m seeking a master’s degree straightaway. I am nuts, and I know it. For now, I’ll keep knitting, since I still have another 14 or so rows before I must commit. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


As always, I thank you in advance.

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