Is Knitting lace hard?

Hello ladies,

I’m sure this has been asked twenty times over but is knitting lace hard? I thinking I’m an okay knitter - I can knit hats, scarves, but no sweaters or lace. I taught myself how to knit cables (which was super easy) so I’m wondering if I can teach myself lace? Do you have any recommendations for beginner projects? TIA!


I taught myself lace. You should try a small lace item, like a dishcloth, headband, or wrist warmer, to get the hang of it, and a simple pattern with a couple of rows for starters. Here are some patterns you might want to try:
Feather and Fan Dishcloth
Arrowhead Lace headband
Branching Out
I’ve made a couple of things with lace, and once you get the hang of the pattern, it can be very hypnotizing. When I was working on my asphodel scarf, the six row lace pattern (with no purl rows) required me to concentrate to keep from dropping stitches, and I would find myself reciting the pattern to myself like a mantra. Very zen.

Good luck! Make sure to post pictures!

Knitting Pattern Central has a bunch of lace bookmarks and stuff here.

Lace can be VERY easy, but if you are easily distracted (like me :oops: ) or have cats (like me :teehee: ) my best advice to you is use a lifeline.

I :heart: lifelines.

Lace is easier than the finished product looks but it takes concentration. I did Branching Out- suggested above. Used a life line. Took me 4 tries to get going but once I did I was better. I couldn’t talk or watch TV while working on it. Toward the end I was better and could actually listen to conversations around me and answer yes and no questions- but that was it. I did some socks with a very simple lace design and once I had the repeats memorized I could talk while doing that. I did not need a life line for that and I know I made a few mistakes but they don’t show!

The ease of it I think depends on the pattern. Start with a simple one, no more than say 8 rows in a repeat and it’s even better if every other row is purl.

I love knitting lace very much but it did take me a while to learn. What I learned is no matter how confident you are use a lifeline!!!

You can also break down the pattern and use stitch markers so you can have something to count to help you figure out where a mistake may have been made.

Starting off with a small project is a wonderful idea and remember, lace can be knit with any size yarn as long as the needles are way to big for the yarn so you can knit lace with worsted weight yarn, which make be more comfortable to start out with than lace weight yarn.

Good luck, you’ll love knitting lace!

Thank you ladies for your advice. One question…what’s a lifeline?

I think I will start with a dishcloth. There are SO many hats I want to knit that feature lace, I’m excited to try it! Thank you!


A life line is a piece of scrap yarn that you run through your last set of stitches when you know the knitting before that row is correct.

What it does is give you a safe space to rip back to if you make a mistake. It prevents you from having to rip all the way back to the beginning.

You just take a piece of scrap yarn and a tapestry needle and just thread it throught all your stitches on the needle then you can proceed on to knitting the next row. You can insert life lines as often as you’d like so you don’t have to rip back as far. Only leave one in at a time though or it may distort the stitches.

The white pieces of yarn in the picture below are life lines.

here’s another easy one, though i’m not sure a garter is at all practical (unless you’re soon-to-be-wed, or know someone who is…)

Lace Garter

i’m making one for my sister, and will post a photo when it’s finished!

I get ace knitting… mostly. I just have one question:
I’ve seen two different kninds of yarn overs; one where you put the yarn inbetween the two needes, and another is when you wrap the yarn around the needes. Which one’s a yarn over and which one is… not a yarn over? (I think I’ve asked this before, but I forgot :doh: )

Oh, and if you use a lifeline and stitch markers, don’t thread the lifeline through the stitch markers.

I’ve never done that, nope. :shifty:

I’d like to think lace knitting is easy once you learn the basics, but I am crazy-determinded to do everything… So far I’ve only done a small lace bracelet, but I thought it was really good fun, and easy too! The one I did only had 21 stitches, with a 10 row pattern that was really easy to follow with the chart, and then from memory.

The only problem about it is when I went to make one for myself (the first one was for a friend), I had the most horrible luck with it and ripped it back to the beginning more times than I want to talk about. If I give it one more try, I will most certainly use a lifeline. The bad knitting juju scares me though so it might not happen, LOL!

(I did the ‘Bluebell’ one)

Oh and it doubles for a handy introduction into beading if you haven’t tried it already!

If you put the yarn between the needles, bringing it to the front, and then do a knit stitch after that - it’s really the same as a yarn over.


Advice from a lace knitter:

Be picky about your needle! If Addis or Options are too slippery, if you tend to drop stitches from them…convert your work to wood or bamboo.

Keep track! Utilize post-its and highlighters to mark your work. After a while, you will memorize the pattern, but don’t get too cocky! Check your pattern often! Like hiking the 12" trails on the edges of the Grand Canyon, you gotta know where you are placing your feet at all times! No daydreaming!

Count stitches! Do a “head count”. After every working row, I count my stitches in each *section. My errors are usually in missing a yarn over, or, for inserting an unnecessary yarn over.

*Utilize stitch markers to define sections of stitches determined by you or by the pattern. Stitch markers make the “head count” easier. Be a good ‘hike leader’…make sure everyone is accounted for! :happydance:

Don’t try for SPEED with lace knitting. ACCURACY is the mantra.
Lace knitting requires a different mindset.

Maybe I sound a bit like Monk, :doh: but, I don’t want to TINK more than one row, and don’t usually have to.
I do not leave mistakes uncorrected, regardless of the ‘invisibility’ of the error.

1 Like

As someone new to lace knitting - but loving it :hug: - i prefer wooden needles myself… the only problem i find (and maybe this is the novice in me, who hasn’t spotted a probelm that needs correcting yet), is that on my patterning rows, my work can get twisted around the needle and tight to move, unless you to a little untwist manipulation first, however this tends to work itself out on the purl rows, where it becomes very easy to manipulate again.

:shrug: Maybe i do my yo’s too tight, but practice will make perfect.

Do it, its fun! :muah:

To five_six:

If your work is becoming too tight to move: loosen up. Your work should not be that tight. Takes the joy out of the RS pattern row. Try to throw your stitches more loosely. (well, if you knit using the “throw the yarn” method). Just keep practicing at a looser gauge. You are tense, and that is why you are knitting so tight. The work should easily move back and forth on the needle.

Another thought: are you using CLOVER needles? They are “stickier”. They drive me crazy. :pout:

For wood, I prefer Lantern Moons, either ebony or rosewood. Smooth as butter.

I am knitting a cashmere scarf at this time, fingering weight, and I am using OPTIONS (metal) because of the sharper tips. They are REALLY slippy, I have to watch my stitches, but the sharper tips make all the K2Tog’s and SSK’s easier.

you know, it could be the way i wrap the yarn, i find it works great for straight knit work (but it is fairly tight i guess, i apparently knit the ‘welsh’ way, and i double wrap my pinky finger normally, then either double or single wrap my pointer, depending on the yarn)… i guess, i just have to get the hang of my work being ‘looser’ and not thinking it’s of poorer quality if it does…

oh and my needles, they are just some cheapy $5.00 things, i haven’t really ‘invested’ in them yet. My dh thinks my yarn habit is quite enough, and when i did say i needed more needles, his response was to say, don’t you already have a pair :wall: … so needless to say, i think ‘nice’ needles are just abit out of my league at the moment, and i’ll have to learn to adapt to the ones i have.

thanks for your resonse :muah:

I love knitting lace. I taught myself, it’s not that difficult. If you know how to do YO K2tg etc, you can do lace. Just follow the pattern and everything will work out fine. I never used a life line before, I always manage to get my stiches back on the needles without a life line, although a life line would make things easyer (but I’m to lazy to use one) One thing with lace knitting is you have to stay concentrated. I can watch tv, while knitting lace, but I notice I miss more of the program than with simple stockinette. Just try it and you’ll see you love it.