Learning lace: as hard as it looks?


Lace shawls and beautiful garments can look very intimidating to the trepidatious knitter. Never fear: we have some quickstart tips and tricks to send you on your way.

We asked some knitters about their experiences learning to knit lace. We asked them for stories, tips, tricks, and ideas for newbie lace knitters, and how to ease the transition from plain knitting into more complicated projects. 


Angie says: 

I was intimidated by lace for YEARS. It seemed like every time I tried a lace project I'd end up with the wrong number of stitches! I avoided all lace until I discovered the Essie pattern by Anna Nikipirowicz, It was absolutely gorgeous and I just knew I needed to try it! After a couple of attempts I was still messing up my stitches, until a friend suggested I put in stitch markers for every repeat of the lace pattern. After that, everything made sense. 

Essie shawl for lace knitting

Above: the Essie shawl by Anna Nikipirowicz

Jess says: 

Don't overthink a lace pattern. I've knitted lace projects before without even thinking about the lace portions too much, because I just saw it as a series of stitches. 

Trish says: 

You're going to suffer if you can't see your stitches properly! Make sure you're sitting somewhere well lit, and use dark needles for light colored yarn and vise versa. 

Lace knitting needles

Above: lace knitting needles by Addi

Louise says: 

Lifelines are an important tool for all lace patterns, whether you're a beginner or not. I've knitted some very complicated lace but I still use lifelines even on simple patterns, even now! A lifeline is when you thread some scrap yarn through your stitches at the beginning of a lace repeat or a difficult section. That way if you have to rip it back those stitches are safe, and it's faster and easier to pull out the mistake and get knitting again. Here's my favorite video tutorial on putting in a lifeline: 

Sue says: 

I wouldn't be able to get anywhere if I didn't mark off each line of the pattern or chart! I use a highlighter and color in each line as I've done it, so I don't get confused as to where I'm at in the pattern!

Ready to get started with lace? Check out our post on our favorite lace knitting patterns!