Modifying the Ribbed Lace Bolero

Perhaps, and if so, alas, I don't have much vision. Rarely do I look at a pattern and think, "Gosh, I'd love this sweater . . . if the neckline were lower, the stitch pattern were different, the sleeves were shorter, the waist were shaped differently, and it had a belt!" So I guess that means I don't have much imagination, or maybe I'm just lazy. But at any rate, the result is that I usually don't modify patterns too much. I will make small changes here or there--usually to avoid doing a technique I detest--and I will often employ other people's modifications, if I like the look, but for the most part, I knit things as written.

But last week I made an exception. Am I growing up? Am I ready for my knitter's license? Perhaps. I mean, I voluntarily  added short rows to something. That's the kind of crazy that ultimately turns you into a Real Knitter, I think.

The pattern in question is the Ribbed Lace Bolero , from Kelly Maher. There are over 2,000 of these on Ravlery, so it's quite a popular little number. Here's how mine turned out:


I selected a completely different lace pattern, and added short rows to the collar (partly because I wanted more coverage at the back of the neck, and partly because I knew I was going to run short of yarn, so I wanted to best utilize what I had left, and not waste it on ribbing that would wind up under the arm where no one could see it).

Of course, given that this shrug is knit flat as a rectangle, these mods aren't too impressive--no mathematical acrobatics were required. Still, I consider it a Success in Modding (Although, given a time machine, I would go back and cast on fewer stitches, as the patterning I chose is quite stretchy, and the shrug is several inches wider than absolutely necessary.)


And in case you'd like a similar shrug, here are the finer details:


Ribbed Lace Bolero

Yarn: Valley Yarns Goshen, 3 skeins, 275 yards

Needles: Size 8 (since the lace pattern I used is not as airy as the original, I did not move up to a size 10 for the lace section as indicated in the pattern)

CO 130 stitches, based on the formulas Kelly provides in her pattern. This would be, by my estimation, more or less a size Small, my shoulder span is approximately 18 inches (rough estimate based on me trying to wrap myself up in a tape measure and read it at the same time; having an assistant for this exercise wouldn't be a bad idea).

Worked 2 x 2 rib for about 1.5 inches, increasing 2 stitches at the edges on the last row, taking me up to 132 stitches.

Lace pattern: 10 repeats, each worked over 11 stitches, separated by 2 stitches in stockinette. Because the edge stitches of the lace pattern are in reverse stockinette, I wound up with a somewhat ribbed lace, which is why it's so stretchy, and ultimately could've been smaller.

King Charles Brocade

(from Harmony Guides Lace and Eyelets)

1st row (RS): p2, k2tog, [k1, yo] twice, k1, sl 1, k1, psso, p2.

2nd and all wrong side rows: k2, p7, k2

3rd row: p2, k2tog, yo, k3, yo, sl 1, k1, psso, p2

5th row: p2, k1, yo, sl 1, k1, psso, k1, k2tog, yo, k1, p2

7th row: p2, k2, yo, sl 1, k2tog, psso, yo, k2, p2

8th row: as 2nd


I started each right side row with a k2 (slipping the first stitch of each row for a nicer edge, since there is no edge finishing), and worked a k2 in between each repeat of the lace pattern, ending with a k2.

Worked repeats of the entire lace pattern.


Since I didn't use Kelly's lace pattern, I didn't bother with the complicated cabled row she used to take the knitting back into ribbing, I just started it immediately after finishing the lace. I worked in 2 x 2 rib as described, ending with a k2, and decreasing a stitch at each edge on the first row back down to 130 stitches.

After the first row, I started the short rows: work to the last 5 stitches, wrap and turn, back to the last 5 stitches on the other side, wrap and turn. Keeping 4 stitches between each wrapped stitches, I worked this way until I had 5 wrapped stitches on each side, then resumed knitting all stitches until I ran out of yarn. This gave me about 1 inch of ribbing at each edge, up to about 3 inches at the center of the collar.

To finish up, I seamed the sides as directed in Kelly's pattern, but only for about 1.5 inches, because my shrug is shorter than hers--again, not intentionally, I just didn't have enough yarn, which seems to be my new thing.

I blocked it flat before seaming, and I think the yarn expanded a bit. I tried not to block the ribbing, but it still ended up looser than I would like on the bottom edge:


I suppose if I'd put a bit more effort, I could've worked the lace section so that it flowed more smoothly from the ribbing, with the stockinette in the lace matching the k2s in the ribbing, but, well I didn't.


So, it's not perfect (is anything I knit ever?), but I'm happy with the finished result, and plan to wear it frequently during the summer, over sundresses in horrifically over-aid conditioned restaurants.