Top Ten Tips for Lace Knitting

tree of life lace shawl

I undertook a challenging lace project, this beautiful lacy shawl. It took a long time to make and with the intricate lace patterns, I needed to be focused when working on it. Definitely not TV knitting!

Knitting lacy patterns can produce some stunning garments, but it also has a few challenges – so here’s my top ten tips for knitting lace patterns which will help you get to grips with your next project.

  1. Use a lifeline – this is simply a piece of smooth yarn, ribbon or dental floss threaded through a completed row of your knitting. Do this every 5 or so rows so that if you do make a mistake you have to unpick only as far back as to the lifeline.
  2. Use a high contrast lifeline – it can make it easier to pickup stitches.
  3. Place a stitch marker after every pattern repeat to keep track of where you are in your pattern. Note that you may need to shift your stitch marker one or two stitches to the left or right as your complete your pattern.
  4.  Make several photocopies of the pattern chart and mark off each row as it is knitted throughout the pattern repeats.
  5. Try enlarging and colour coding the charts to help make them easier to read – with a colour assigned to each stitch type.
  6. Natural fiber yarns are generally better for lace knitting as they’re far easier to block so keep this in mind when choosing which yarn to use.
  7. After knitting, your project may not look like much!  Dampen it with a sponge or spray, lay it out, stretching to the appropriate shape and pin. Leave to dry.
  8. Use point protectors – invest in some to make sure your knitting doesn’t fall off your needles when left unattended, which happens easily especially with lace knitting.
  9. For small projects, use sock needles with protectors on the ends. These are ideal for small lacy patterns like thin scarves, lace edging or baby clothing where longer needles just get in the way.
  10. Count your stitches regularly and after every pattern repeat.  Where possible, count them after completing a plain row such as knit or purl as this is easier.


I hope the tips help you in your next project. Any questions? Just drop a note in the comments box and I’ll help if I can.


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