Learning Lace

I grew up with the Saxon Math series, and I wouldn’t want to have learned algebra and trigonometry any other way. The premise of John Saxon’s teaching method is “incremental development.” Each concept builds on the previous one–and prior lessons are reinforced through daily practice–until little by little, what seemed “hard” becomes “easy” through repetition. One fine day, it all makes sense.

It’s impossible for me to remember things I only do once or twice. Daily repetition and practice is my painless way to learn. That’s how I progressed from yarn crochet to thread lace and finally made my first doilies.

This is my execution of a design by Ocie Jordan called “Graceful Doily” from Beginner’s Guide to Thread Crochet, by Leisure Arts.

I learned through experimenting with the projects in this book that not all crochet thread classed as #10 (also called “bedspread weight”) is exactly the same. Depending on brand and even on color within brand, thread is not all interchangeable–just as yarn is not interchangeable.

Gauge is at least as important with thread projects as with yarn patterns. I experimented with and adjusted my steel hook sizes to avoid dramatic differences in the finished sizes of the doilies I made.

This is the coaster size of Shobha Govindan’s design “Coaster Set,” also in Beginner’s Guide to Thread Crochet. With a different brand thread, and one hook size larger, it came out significantly bigger–perfect for setting under a teapot rather than a glass.

When I was less skilled at controlling my tension, thread crochet made me nervous; and the stitches were simply too small for me to keep even. Having practiced with smaller sized crochet hooks, and a new way to hold yarn and thread, I eventually discovered that lace crochet is a lot of fun.

Lace patterns are not necessarily very complicated. If you’re new to lace, choose a simple beginner’s pattern with a lot of chain stitches, single crochets, and double crochets. Save the front- and back-post-trebles until you’re more advanced. It’s amazing what beautiful doilies you can make with the most basic crochet stitches and a size 6, 7, or 8 steel hook. Start with the largest of the steel hooks and work up to comfort with smaller sizes. Lace crochet is a joy when you try it step by step.

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