by Janice Jones |Updated 08-17-2023
Lace knitting is an intricate art form that creates delicate patterns using yarn and knitting needles.
It is a technique that requires a certain level of skill and attention to detail. In this article, I will share some tips and tricks that will help you master the art of lace knitting stitches.
If you are interested in the lace knitting stitches I have provided, feel free to jump down the page.
Last week my daughter got dressed for the theater, a lovely dress, stilettos, and a lightweight hoodie. There was just something that needed to be fixed with the look. I decided I needed to make her a lovely lace shawl for such occasions.
Lace is not a strength for me, but following simple lace designs is well within the realm of beginning knitters. Yes, lace can be very complex, and those patterns should be reserved for advanced knitters.
Lace knitting has numerous benefits, both physical and mental. It is a great way to reduce stress, improve cognitive function, and boost creativity. The repetitive motion of knitting can be soothing and meditative, allowing you to relax and unwind after a long day.
Additionally, lace knitting can be a great way to challenge yourself and improve your knitting skills. It requires a certain level of precision and attention to detail, which can help you improve your focus and concentration.
There may be a few knitting techniques that you will need to know, including how to read lace charts, simple increases and decreases, and how to make simple eyelets. That might seem like a lot, but it is doable.
You will need some essential tools to start lace knitting, including knitting needles and yarn.
When it comes to knitting needles, choosing a pair that is the right size for your project is essential. For lace knitting, there are a few choices for needles. You will want to choose the size needle the pattern calls for. However, experimenting with several different needles might be a good idea.
Most lace work is created on either straight or circular needles. It makes good sense to pick a needle that is right for you, but here are a few thoughts to keep in mind.
For your first attempt with lace, consider bamboo needles because they are a bit stickier, so you would be less likely to lose stitches accidentally.
Other knitters prefer steel, brass, or aluminum needles with sharp, long tips. Many companies will call some of their needles lace needles.
For example, Addi Lace knitting needles and Red Lace are ChaioGoo or HiyaHiya Sharp interchangeable needles. These needles are slick, smooth and have extended tips that allow for faster knitting.
In terms of yarn, it's essential to choose a high-quality, fine yarn that will create a delicate and intricate lace pattern. Look for yarns made from natural fibers, such as wool or silk, as these will give your knitting a luxurious feel.
You can create lace with any yarn, and for the beginner accustomed to working with worsted-weight yarn (Craft Yarn Council number 4), this might be a good choice for practice. However, following a lace knitting stitch pattern, you will want to choose either the recommended yarn or a suitable substitution.
You will find yarns labeled as lace yarn, fingering, sport, or DK weights are often used in lace patterns.
Beyond needles and yarn, you will want to have a couple of other supplies on hand:
It's essential to understand the different types of patterns that are used in lace knitting. Lace patterns often involve a combination of yarn overs, knit stitches, and purl stitches, which create the intricate lace design.
Increases and decreases are used to keep the stitch count the same from row to row and still create the little delicate holes that make up the lace fabrics we are creating.
When reading a lace knitting pattern, paying close attention to the stitch count and pattern repeats is essential. Ensure you understand how the design works before you begin, and take your time to ensure that you follow the pattern correctly.
Row repeats are important when knitting lace. More complex patterns will require more row repeats. Using a row counter comes in handy to help keep your place.
Knitting charts are another way of writing instructions in pictorial form using symbols. Some patterns provide just the written instructions, others offer just the chart, and others provide both. As you gain experience and confidence, you will decide which instruction delivery method works best.
On lace charts, a yarn over is often represented as a circle, matching a hole in your knitting. At the same time, decreases are usually shown as diagonal lines, just like the decreases create slanted lines in your fabric. Knit and purl stitches are symbolized by a blank box depending on whether you are on the right or wrong side of the fabric.
The chart can give you a good sense of how your lace is created and how it will look.
Lace knit stitches are just a series of knits and purls, plus increase stitches and decrease stitches.
To become a master of lace knitting stitches, it's important to practice regularly and pay close attention to your technique. Here are a few tips to help you improve your lace knitting skills:
When first learning lace knitting, it's common to make a few mistakes. Here are some common mistakes to watch out for:
You can avoid these common mistakes and create beautiful lace knitting projects by being aware of them.
Once you have completed your lace knitting project, it's important to finish and block it properly. Blocking helps even out your stitches and create a more polished and professional-looking finished product.
To block your lace knit project, soak it in lukewarm water and lay it flat to dry. You can also pin it in place to help it maintain its shape as it dries. Learn more about blocking.
What makes lace stitches easy for the beginner? Firstly, you want to find a pattern with a minimum row pattern, such as a 4-row repeat.
Next, you want to find a pattern with a simple stitch repeat. This first stitch is one of the easiest I've ever seen.
If you're new to lace stitches, you should try one first. It has one row of stitches repeated until you reach your desired length.
This pattern creates a lovely, reversible lace pattern, meaning that the right and wrong sides are identical.
CO a multiple of 4 + 2 stitches. For this swatch, I cast on 18 stitches.
Row 1 and all further rows:
K2, *yfrn, P2tog, K2* repeat to end of row.
One of the easiest beginner-friendly lace knit stitches is the Feathers and Fan stitch. It's an old stitch, and you will find different variations across the internet, but it is a good stitch to practice lace knitting.
It is worked on a multiple of 18 stitches and comprises a 4-row repeat. You can add stitches on either side to create a project where a border makes sense, such as a scarf. A garter stitch border works well with the feathers and fan pattern.
This is an easy lace pattern that uses just four techniques.
K: Knit stitch
P: Purl Stitch
YO: Yarn over
K2tog: Knit two stitches together.
To create a swatch, Co multiples of 18 stitches. (at least 36, but 54 will give you a better idea of how it looks. Refer to the lace knit chart above or use the directions below.
CO multiples of 18.
Row 1: K across
Row 2: P across
Row 3 *(k2tog) 3 times, (YO, K1) 6 times, (K2tog) 3 times* Repeat from * to end of row.
Row 4: K across
Repeat Rows 1 to 4 until you reach your desired length.
Check out the full tutorial on the Feather and Fan Pattern
This is another easy lace pattern that creates eyelets every three rows. It is not reversible but can be used in several easy projects, including shawls, cowls, and scarves. It also works well if you are making fingerless gloves. It does require a cast on of multiples of 3 plus two. I cast on 12 plus 2 or 14 stitches for the swatch pictured.
Cast On: Multiples of 3 + 2
Row 1: (RS): Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: K2, *yo, k2tog, k1; rep from * to end
Row 4: Purl
This swatch was created with worsted-weight wool yarn and has not been blocked, so it isn't easy to see the individual eyelets.
Work with a multiple of 4 plus 3.
Row 1 (WS): Purl.
Row 2: K2, * yo, k2tog, k2; repeat from *, end yo, k2tog, k3.
Row 3: Purl.
Row 4: K4, *yo, k2tog, k2; repeat from *, end yo, k2tog, k1.
Repeat Rows 1–4 for the pattern until the desired length is achieved.
This swatch pattern falls into several different catagories of knit stitches, but I've included it here because it is an eyelet stitch and an easy beginner friendly pattern that includes purls and knits with a couple additional techniques that are not difficult to learn.
The pattern is worked on multiples of 5 + 2
Row 1 (RS): P2, *sl 1 purlwise, k2, psso, p2; rep from * to end.
Row 2: K2, *p1, yrn, p1, k2; rep from * to end.
Row 3: P2, *k3, p2; rep from * to end.
Row 4: K2, *p3, k2; rep from * to end.
Work these four rows for the pattern until you reach your desired length. Bind off, and weave in ends.
Learn more about the Eyelet Mock Cable Ribbing Stitch
Lace knitting skills can be a challenging but rewarding technique to master. By using the right tools, understanding lace knitting patterns, and practicing regularly, you can become a master of this intricate art form.
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced knitter, plenty of resources are available to help you improve your skills and create beautiful lace knitting projects. Before you know it, you'll be on your way to making your designs!