Argh! What's my problem with lace?

I’m so frustrated!!! :hair: Every time I try to do lace patterns–and they’re the easy ones…just like 4 row patterns with not very many fancy maneuvers!–I always wind up with the wrong amount of stitches on my needles!!! I have tried going really slow to see what I’m doing wrong–did I forget a yarn-over? Did I forget to knit two together or something else? I usually knit while everybody’s in bed, so it can’t be a distraction factor.

I want so bad to be able to break out of my “garter stitch only” mode (or for that matter, stockinette stitch, moss stitch, whatever doesn’t require increases and decreases!), but I’m getting really frustrated. :verysad: It’s worse than feeling like a total beginner, because at least when you begin, your frustration level is because you don’t know how to do the techniques. Now that I know how to do the techniques I need to work on these projects, I’m still screwing up left and right, for what appears to be no good reason! :grrr:

Try putting a marker on your needle after each repeat. this way you can keep close track of your pattern. Also, until you get the hang of each pattern, take the time to count your stitches after each pattern row…I often do this until I can see the pattern emerging then you can recognize your stitches more easily DON’T GIVE UP!!! Tillie

:hug: it’s okay! I still haven’t gotten lace yet… just keep on trying. You can do it :hug:


I haven’t tried my fingers at lace yet, just got the yarn yesterday. I love the idea of a marker after the pattern.

Keep at it, you’ll finally “click” about it and want to slap your forehead. That’s how all my knitting hurdles have been jumped.

What kind of yarn are you using? “Regular” lace weight yarn doesn’t give me problems, but I bought this very thin, fuzzy yarn to do a shawl and I had a horrible time with it. I used a lifeline but that didn’t help me because the yarn is sooooooooo fuzzy that it “sticks” to itself and is impossible to frog! I gave up. :!!!:

when knitting lace especially those with repeats…u must not be distracted at all…meaning no tv going on…no talking …no noise… so that you will not miss any stitches or miss-read pattern…

they took alot of your attention that’s for sure !

put on live-line if you have to …so that you dun have to fog too much if anything goes wrong …

it take time to master it…now i can chat and do lace knitting at the same time…keep trying !

Hi Cookworm

I do sympathise with the lace problem - I got so fed up trying to keep tabs on a Feather and Fan pattern that I developed a hook for straight needles, so that increases and decreases can be marked out FIRST, before knitting them.

After that, KH members asked if I could make a marker for circs and I came up with a loop fastening -again, that can be attached before you start knitting the row.

I’ll send you some photos if you like but if you care to check out my website: - you’ll find a factsheet giving more details.

It’s much easier to mark out the changes first, then all you need do is concentrate on the tension. The hooks certainly help you to get the ‘feel’ of a new pattern.

All the best


The only lace I’ve ever done is a really small bracelet (like 20 sts across!). The first one I did resulted in few problems… Once I started on a second one in a different pattern though? Nothing but disaster! Like four times I cast on the wrong number of stitches and didn’t notice until I got a few rows into the lace work (Dear garter stitch base, I hate you so much). Then I got like two pattern repeats in, and DROPPED HALF THE STITCHES. :wall:

So I switched over to the original pattern that gave me no trouble… yeah, apparently it decided it didn’t like me any more and gave me just as much trouble as the other pattern. Dropped stitches down the most lacey part of the pattern… increases or decreases without meaning too… the yarn got so messed up from being ripped and reworked, that I had to rewind the yarn to start from the other end (winding a tiny amount of tiny yarn is a lot harder than one woukd think).

What I learned out of it? If a pattern is trying to kill you in your sleep with haunting terrors of lace-work… pick a new one! Once you’ve had to restart the pattern while wishing a slow and painful death on lace knitting MORE than once, it’s time to put the needles down, wrap up the yarn, and go look for something completely different (better still if the pattern is from a completely different book or website as the first one).

Oh and one more thing I learned… if you’re having bad knitting juju and you get a lot of done on a pattern, DO NOT think that you have beaten the evil knitting spirits, and are actually going to finish now… that’s at the point when something terrible happens and you are MORE at square one than you were before you started the pattern.

Here is some feedback from my experiences with lace.

  1. Put a sticky note under the line you are knitting (use a charted pattern!!) Get a fresh pack of stickys–they lose their stick.

  2. Write the hard to remember symbols on the sticky in biggish print.

  3. Choose a yarn that doesn’t have much fuzz (when you have to frog, and you will, it will be much easier).

  4. Count your stitches after each lace knitted row (I don’t count rows that are just purling back). I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH!!! After several lace projects, I still have to kick myself now and then for forgetting to count stitches, only to be off a row and a half later.

  5. Lace patterns are read from right to left (<–) and left to right (—>) on the next line. (?? even rows read right to left, while odd rows read left to right–check this out to be sure! I’m a rookie myself.)

  6. Relax. Unknitting is part of the deal. If unknitting is a BIG drag for you, may reconsider the idea.

  7. With the exception of Charlotte’s Web, which I just finished, I have had to retart every lace pattern at least twice, okay, three, no five, or more times! Keep at it. You’ll get it.

  8. If there is a center stitch, place a marker before the stitch and count at the halfway point. That way if you are off, you will only have to frog part of a row. Also, the marker signals you that the center is coming, which often is accompanied by a break in the repeating stitches.

I ditto everything. However, I personally had to buy a magnetic chart keeper (from knit picks) and use a row counter before lace clicked for me.

I often talk myself through the row. Speaking each stitch action as I do it. I’m in my craft room sans TV (but I do play music) and no DH or cat.

last week i made my first lacey pattern and it took 10 tries before i really got it. at first i was counting my yarn overs as a stitch (not the part where you actually make a stitch, right before this when the yarn comes over). then i figured it out and made a huge photocopy of my chart and used the sticky notes, used stitch markers, counted on the wrong side to make sure i had all the stitches and WALLAH! keep working on it, it will come soon.

I felt really dumb because this was a VERY easy lacy project. I knew how to do each of the techniques, and it was very easy to memorize what to knit on each row–only two rows of pattern (it was a four row repeat, with the other 2 rows being just plain knitting in the round).

I figured out what I did in this case, though, and I can’t believe how dumb it was!!! :doh: I was supposed to be doing a YO at the end of the one repeat, and then, I was supposed to just knit the last stitch on the round. Well for whatever reason, I guess I didn’t think I had to make that last YO because I was going to be knitting the last stitch, so that is why I had one fewer stitch on the needles! :figureditout: While I can’t say that I’m “glad” to have made a mistake, I am glad that I figured this out…I think that has been my problem with knitting lace…that when it comes to knitting a part of it plain, I don’t follow what’s between the * *'s exactly…I seem to have been omitting part of it. I’m not sure why I did it, but I did, and I’m glad to know what I’ve done wrong. I’m sure I’ll be frogging my next project regardless :teehee: , but now I have a starting point of where to troubleshoot for the future. Thanks everybody for being so helpful and supportive. I’m going to make a neatly compiled list of all of your suggestions and I’ll keep it right next to me while I’m knitting my next project! You guys rock! :hug: