Monday, June 26, 2006

Lace Nomenclature

In the current issue of Intereave Knits, Amy Singer (yes, of "fame") informs us that there is a difference between the terms "knitted lace" and "lace knitting."

According to her, when you "work a pattern with lace forming stitches on both sides" what you produce is "knitted lace." However, when you knit a pattern where the lace stitches are only on the right side (thus the wrong side has all purl or knit stitches) this is called "lace knitting."

Now, the odd thing about this is that the terms she is comparing are different parts of speech. One is a noun (the thing you produce- "knitted lace") and the other is a verb (this thing you are doing - "knitting lace").

Note: I've been rather out of the loop this summer as to what is going on in the internet knitting communities (I can't even remember the last time I checked my bloglines or the various knitting LJ communities - it might be more than a month for LJ) so I have no clue if there are discussions going on about this distinction.

I understand the difference between what is being produced, and honestly, if anyone is brave dedicated enough to undertake creating "knitted lace" they probably deserve to have a term to set their work apart from those of us who rejoice in the one row without a pattern.

But, what I'm wondering is if anyone had ever heard of this distinction before? Any sources? I'm aware of the technical differences between fulling and felting (which doesn't mean I actually follow the "correct" usage), but this is a new one for me.


Opal said...

I've heard of this debate before, most recently in the latest issue of Vogue Knitting. Meg Swansen wrote an article and mentioned it. I'm not too clear on what she said about it as I don't have the magainze handy.

I think it's a small distinction that most non-knitters will never understand. I also think it can be an important distinction to the knitter who just knit a 6'x6' shawl with no "plain" rows. :-)

Gwen said...

I've heard about it, but I suspect that this is no more than an insignificant bit of pedantry that some people like to bring up to show how much better than the rest of us they are.

I guess that sounds kind of hostile, eh? Maybe it just reminds me of all the time I've been told I should learn to knit Continental because it's sooooo much faster and easier on the hands. (N.B. I know how to knit Continental and it's slower and more painful for me.) I can just see one lace knitter leaning over to another and saying archly, "Lace knitting, huh? Well, maybe one day you'll be ready to try knitted lace."