Lace knitting is a style of knitting characterized by stable “holes” in the fabric arranged with consideration of aesthetic value. Lace is sometimes considered the pinnacle of knitting, because of its complexity and because woven fabrics cannot easily be made to have holes. Some consider that “true” knitted lace has pattern stitches on both the right and wrong sides, and that knitting with pattern stitches on only one side of the fabric, so that holes are separated by at least two threads, is technically not lace, but “lacy knitting”, although this has no historical basis. – Wikipedia
Is the year 2010 the year of lace? It would seem so to this writer, who has been following many of the threads posted on Ravelry. Many new KALs (knit alongs) are popping up for the new year and most seem to be lace related. Knitters can find KALs for lace shawls, lace hats and even lace socks. While the simple elegance and sophistication of lace intrigues knitters, the complexity of the stitches hinders many knitters from learning to knit lace.
So, if one has never knitted lace, what is one to do? First, take a look at the Harmony Guide: Lace & Eyelets by Erika Knight. This handy guide features over 200 lace and eyelet designs to entice knitters of all skill levels. Knitter’s can learn stitch patterns from easy-to-follow instructions and with a helpful photographs This guide is truly a must for your reference library and is small enough to carry in your knitting bag. Since there are so many lace patterns to choose from, start by selecting an easy stitch pattern and practice by knitting swatches, or even better by knitting face cloths. (Photo: Courtesy of Barnes and Nobles).
The Emerald’s Lace Bath Set by Tabitha’s Heart Design is a very simple lace pattern to learn. Not only is this cloth perfect to knit for gifts is perfect for learning a new technique. This pattern will teach the basic principles of using yarn overs to create a simple, yet elegant looking lace pattern. The washcloth will require a 2 ounce skein of cotton yarn or approximately 70 yards. Included with this download is the matching towel, that will require 5, 2 ounce skeins. This free download is available online at Ravelry. Once mastered, think of the possibilites this stitch pattern can be used for. (Photo: Courtesy of Azknitter)
Another quick and easy stitch to learn is the leaf pattern. The Fern Lace Washcloth by Sara Galley is not only easy to knit , but will teach a very basic stitch pattern that has a variety of uses. Once downloaded, you will find two other cloths included that will cover yarnovers, variable stitch counts and how to read lace charts. Once this stitch is mastered, you will be able to create shawls, hats and scarves, and even indulge yourself in many patterns using this particular stitch pattern. Another idea for mastering this stitch, knit a book marker using lace weight yarn. (Photo: Courtesy of Rachel/BludhavenOracle of Ravelry)
For those of you who love Tunisian Crochet, here’s a simple Tunisian Lace Stitch:
Row 1: Chain number indicated in pattern (desired number of stitches plus 1), insert hook in third ch from hook, yo, pull up lp, ch 1, (insert hook in next ch, yo, pull up lp, ch 1) across, leaving all lps on hook. Do not turn. To complete row, work lps off hook as follows: yo, pull through one lp, (yo, pull through 2 lps on hook) across until one lp remains on hook.
Row 2: Ch 1, skip first vertical bar, * insert hook under next vertical bar and also through top strand of next horizontal bar, yo, pull through both lps on hook, ch 1; repeat from * across. For last st, insert hook under last vertical bar, yo, pull up lp, ch 1. Do not turn. To complete row, work lps off hook as follows: yo, pull though one lp, (yo, pull through 2 lps on hook) across.
Repeat Row 2 for pattern. For last row, ch 1, skip first vertical bar, * insert hook under next vertical bar and also through top strand of next horizontal bar, (yo, pull through 2 lps) 2 times; repeat from * across. For last st, sc in last vertical bar. Fasten off.
For further information on mastering lace knitting, sign up for classes at your LYS. You can also find many online sites with step by step instructions on basic lace stitches. Join in a knit-along online where you will have support from experienced knitters. Take your lace project with you to your knitting nights or local meet-ups to gain further knowledge and tips from those in the know.
Related Blog Post: Vogue Stitchionary Vol. 5 Lace Knitting – Book Review