Tag Archives: wendy knits

An epic cat’s paw lace sampler (and review thereof)

Well, tonight I watched the Count of Monte Cristo (2002 version) and knit myself a handy-dandy lace sampler, featuring the ubiquitous cat’s paw lace stitch, which apparently can be made out of anything and everything (stitch-wise). Or just about. I only chose to look up and knit eight variations of the pattern, so this sampler can be considered expansive but certainly not all-encompassing. For the fibery freaks out there, this sampler was knit using KnitPicks Telemark in the Drift colorway on a nice pair of vintage size 4 US 10″ aluminum needles.

Cat's Paw Lace Sampler

The top two stitches (which were the last two I knit, naturally) both feature a k2togtbl stitch. The left one is from Jennifer Jones’ blog,  The Knit Monster, and has a stitch called a double decrease, which I’d never done before. The double dec was interesting in general, as it creates a very straight bar running through the center between the yarnover. However, for the purposes of the cat’s paw motif itself, I thought it made the yarnovers below it look uneven.

The right one is Elizabeth Lovick’s version, from her website Northern Lace, which has, in addition to the k2togtbl, a k3tog in place of the double dec. I think this stitch, while it created an even-looking design, was not my favorite. The k2togtbl made one side look a bit “wonky” (there’s your techy term for the night) and the k3tog was quite simply, just a pain to do.

The bottom six cat’s paws were all knit directly from the chart compiled by Wendy Knits, as I have cited previously:

Courtesy Wendy Knits

The top two motifs on the chart, as well as the bottom-most right one, all feature a sl1, k2tog, psso stitch between the final two yarnovers, and I rather like the way this stitch creates a nice roundness to the center knitted portion of the design. The top right one seemed to be most effective at this, in part because of the alternating k2tog and ssk stitches around the yarnovers. Every motif that used the mirror design of the ssk stitch (symbolized in this chart by the “\ ” mark leaning to the left) created a more round, even appearance in the final lace.

The second stitch down on the left side in the chart had a unique center yarnover, which I thought was interesting. However, it did not create the appearance of either a cat’s paw or a flower, but rather a simply honeycomb design. The two stitches that I found looked the most like cat’s paws were the bottom left design and the right motif in the second row up. The placement of the k2tog and ssk stitches caused the yarnovers to stretch toward the highest point, making the midle yarnovers so small they are almost nonexistant and creating very large holes at the base. They look like the arching, flexing claws of a cat.

Even as I begin to finish cataloguing and describing the different traditional cat’s paw lace motifs I’ve knit, I am seeing where I could have tried other variations of the stitch. For example, you could substitute the k3tog with any of the other patterns, or moved the k2tog to the other side of the “honeycomb”-looking one for a more even appearance. Really, the combinations and possibilities therein are nearly endless. I shall leave that for others to take on, however, as I am quite satisfied with my own results. Enjoy!

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Nothing is ever simple

I’ve been knitting a Flutter Scarf for my mother for Christmas. Ok, I lie. It was for her birthday, but I discovered, shockingly, that I couldn’t knit as fast as I thought that I could. So, since her birthday was yesterday and the scarf is only 1/3 of the way done, it has become a Christmas gift.

This reminded me of other “Christmas” gifts I’d like to make. Like my Forget-Me-Not Shawl for my grandmother. I’m not in the mood to wrestle anymore with mohair this week, so I decided to look up a nice cast-on, pick a number, and start knitting some soothing rows of stockinette stitch. I feel that this project would make me feel accomplished because I could get through 100 rows of stockinette in a finger-snap. Unfortunately, there are multiple methods of casting on. I’m undecided which is better and what I should use, or how many rows of a knitted border I should have.

So I moved onto looking for examples of the lace pattern – the Shetland cat’s paw lace. The cat’s paw lace creates six holes that resemble petals, and even though a forget-me-not flower only has five petals, a cat’s paw only has four main digits, so I think that I can be as “imaginative” as the Scottish people were and say that this is the abstract idea of what a forget-me-not flower looks like.

Unfortunately, there is not one single way to knit the cat’s paw lace pattern. Oh no. It could never be that simple. There are oodles of ways to make the lace pattern that causes the lace holes to shift and slide in different directions. Wendy Knits’ blog has a nice diagram that outlines most of them. And by “nice,” I mean, “it hurts to look at it too long.” Then there are a couple others that involve strange things like k2togtbl that I found other places. So now, before I cast on for anything, I must knit myself multiple little swatches of the Shetland cat’s paw, using all sorts of methods, until I hit on the one that creates the nicest, most round version. headdesk