First attempt at designing lace curtains....need guidance

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knitapeace wrote
on Dec 23, 2012 8:49 PM

I have been knitting for about 5 years - this however, is my first attempt at lace, and first attempt at designing my own project without a pattern, so I would appreciate whatever guidance might be offered. And I have a couple of questions about determining yardage and needle choice.

Project: I would like to knit lace curtains + valances for two windows. Another matching valance to cover one small shelf in a built-in shelving unit. Opptionally, thinking about adding an inset lace panel in the top of the shower curtain, and if there is enough yarn left over, I might trim some towels with a band of lace.

The lace pattern I've chosen is called "Cabled Feather." A multiple of 18, (minimum of 2 multiples) with 8 row repeat.

As to the design, I was thinking that I would work the first three inches at the bottom in the lace pattern, with the balance of the curtain panel or valance worked in stockinette, interspersed with a verticle line of pearl stitch every 2 inches (or so) across the body; echoing the verticle lines of the bead board of the lower half of the wall. But I'm open to other design suggestions.

Overall, the curtains should have a lacy country feel, allowing plenty of light, while still providing the necessary privacy from the outside. How do I determine what weight yarn would best achieve these goals and which needle size to use?

Cost of course will be a serious consideration. I think cotton or a cotton blend would be a good choice, for washability and durability, though it might make working the lace more difficult. (I want the project to be fun, not a bear!)

Finally, how do I calculate yardage needed for the total project?

Thanks in advance for your help, advice and suggestions!

Debbie R.

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salmonmac wrote
on Dec 24, 2012 4:47 AM

I would try a couple of different weights of yarn on a good sized swatch to see which one gives you the look you want. You may have some scrap yarn in different weights to use. You can play around with needle size at the same time. You'll want a needle size larger than that recommended by the ballband because you're looking for an open lacey look. Maybe look at some acrylic blends too when you know what weight yarn you want. Cotton can be heavy, pul out of shape and tend to sag. Good luck with your project!

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ZassZ wrote
on Dec 24, 2012 6:42 PM

Hi Debbie, 

You seem to have most of your pattern "look" laid out.  I would go to the various web sites after searching for lace curtain patterns online.  Observe what yarns they are using in their patterns and see which look best suits your taste.  That will at lease give you an idea of yarns suitable for the project of lace curtains.  Of course, they will recommend the proper needle sizes for the yarn and that problem is solved once you make your choice of yarn.  Cotton will be good as long as you remember to wash in "cold" water, so it doesn't shrink.  I think it will give you nice drape and it shouldn't make the knitting up any difficulty.   Also the patterns will give you the dimensions of that particular curtain which might serve as a guide once you measure your needed lengths and widths.   

 And all the women who were wise of heart spun with their hands, and they kept bringing as yarn the blue thread and the wool dyed reddish purple, the coccus scarlet material and the fine linen.   Ex. 35:25 

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knitapeace wrote
on Dec 28, 2012 11:35 AM

@ salmonmac: Thanks for the advice - especially the info about the characteristics of cotton. I think I'll stay away from that. Acrylic or acrylic blend might indeed be the way to go. Blessings, Debbie R.

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knitapeace wrote
on Dec 28, 2012 11:46 AM

@ZassZ: looking at what other lace knitters have done, needle size, yarn weight, etc. Is definitely good advice. I will take that advice and do a little spy work that way.  Since I wrote this question, I have been making a few swatches with fingering weight yarn on US 9 bamboo needles. This has been working well, though I haven't yet blocked my swatches to varify how open these samples will be.

Once I settle on these details, I still need to know how to figure yardage...that is how much of the chosen yarn I will need to complete the project. Can you help me with that? Is there a formula?

I'm thinking that I will need to know the dimensions of the window and then figure out from that the dimensions of the valance and curtain x's two. Plus the dimensions of the purposed shower curtain inset and the valance for the shelf, I want to cover. Add all that up, but then what?

Thanks in advance for your help! Debbie R.

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salmonmac wrote
on Dec 29, 2012 4:47 AM

You may be able to get a rough idea of yardage from the amount of yarn you use in a good sized swatch. Scale up from the swatch to the dimensions you'll need and you should have at least an estimate. Add an  extra ball or two.

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ZassZ wrote
on Dec 29, 2012 10:03 PM

knitapeace:
@ZassZ: Since I wrote this question, I have been making a few swatches with fingering weight yarn on US 9 bamboo needles. 

Once I settle on these details, I still need to know how to figure yardage...that is how much of the chosen yarn I will need to complete the project. Can you help me with that? Is there a formula?

I'm thinking that I will need to know the dimensions Add all that up, but then what?Thanks in advance for your help! Debbie R.

 

Hi Debbie,

Right - That's it, you have it already in your head.  First swatch (as you are doing) and then take your dimensions from your swatch and apply to how many inches you need to cover for your window (doubling dimensions to cover where applicable.  Once you know how many stitches you knit/to your inches in your swatch go from there to figure how many sts per in. to the inches of fabric you will be needing to cover window, etc.  All this will vary depending on the yarn you choose. 

Also a helpful hint:  I buy from a shop that allows you to return unused balls/skein of yarn.  So they tell customers not sure of their needs, to purchase a few xtra, then if they find not needing all, can be returned to the store.  You can always take it back. 

 And all the women who were wise of heart spun with their hands, and they kept bringing as yarn the blue thread and the wool dyed reddish purple, the coccus scarlet material and the fine linen.   Ex. 35:25 

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knitapeace wrote
on Dec 31, 2012 1:12 PM

 I greatly appreciate everyone's feed back. 

ZassZ, is the "stitches per inch" figure only the stitches running horizontally across one average row? Or is it a 'square inch' measure. That is, is the figure the average number of stitches in the entire swatch, vertical as well as horizontal stitches?

In other words, once I arrive at the 'stitches per inch' I don't have to multiply  that number by the number of rows to get yardage, do I? I have never been very good at math, so these calculation are a bit confusing to me. Sorry, if my questions are tedious, I don't mean to be. And a BIG thank you for your patience and help.

Debbie R.

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ZassZ wrote
on Dec 31, 2012 4:56 PM

Hi Debbie,

You know, just a normal swatch, usually 4 x 4 because you want to know your stitch height as well as your stitch width when calculating.  How are your swatches coming along? 

 And all the women who were wise of heart spun with their hands, and they kept bringing as yarn the blue thread and the wool dyed reddish purple, the coccus scarlet material and the fine linen.   Ex. 35:25 

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knitapeace wrote
on Jan 3, 2013 3:28 PM

Hi ZassZ,

Waiting for sample yarn to come in the mail. While I wait, I am happily swatching with a similar weight sock yarn. It is giving me a chance to get an idea of size of needles and how open I might want the finished project to be and also giving me a chance to gain familiarity with the pattern. I think this sample will turn out to be a nice summery scarf, which I will give to my daughter for her January birthday! Also it will give me a chance to practice blocking the finished lace. 

BTW I changed my mind on the lace pattern. Going to use 'Afghan Feather' instead of the previously mentioned pattern. It is only a 2 row repeat and one of the rows is all purl. I think I will do better with that to begin with.

Debbie R.

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ZassZ wrote
on Jan 3, 2013 4:29 PM

Hi Debbie,

I think it will be pretty in your Afghan Feather pattern.  You could put a pic up here for us see a sample of your swatch, that would be great!  So glad you are having fun with your project.  Take care!  Keep me posted if you can.   

 And all the women who were wise of heart spun with their hands, and they kept bringing as yarn the blue thread and the wool dyed reddish purple, the coccus scarlet material and the fine linen.   Ex. 35:25 

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mrsfroitz wrote
on May 23, 2013 10:37 PM

I read this thread and noticed that no one has commented on your choice of stockinette fabric with a vertical purl stripe and mentioned to you the tendency of stockinette fabric to curl. It may be worth your while to add a garter stitch border to keep your fabric from curling. While you will want to finish your project by wet blocking and pinning to open up the lace pattern, the blocking will eventually lose its effectiveness. You could check out other curtain patterns to emulate the design of the border to ensure flat curtain panels. I wish you the best. 

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knitapeace wrote
on May 24, 2013 2:20 PM

mrsfroitz,  

I really haven't gotten much further on the project, since I can't find the color I want.

I briefly  thought about knitting up my pattern in white, which the brand I chose still makes, and then dying the curtains to match the color I want ...but I think I don't want to learn another hobby, just to make curtains! 

So I'll just keep looking.

Curling stockinette is only fun, if you want it to... The lace across the bottom and top of the curtain takes care of the curling issue, but I do appreciate the advice! Thank you for taking time to respond to my inquiry.

Debbie 

 

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knitapeace wrote
on May 24, 2013 2:30 PM

ZassZ, Here is a picture of my swatch - Afgan Feather pattern. I found this yarn to be very inexpensive, washable, dryable, the perfect aqua color to match my color scheme, and it has a nice drape and sheen.

Unfortunately, the company has discontinued making this color and I can no longer find it in stores. I checked all sorts of places on the web to find stray skeins, but alas! I only found one. So I'll just have to keep looking for a suitable substitute. Debbie

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JanetEllen wrote
on May 24, 2013 3:20 PM

Hi,

I like your idea of knitting curtins, I have thought of it also, but never did.

Are you using worsted yarn? My thoughts were to use Paton's Grace. It is a Cotton yarn that gives great stitch defination.

Probably a size 4-6 needle though. Would that work for you?

Janet

ptruncali2@hvc.rr.com

 

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