Please help a begining lace knitter

Although I’ve been knitting off and on since I learned to knit scarves for soldiers in WW II, I’ve never ventured from socks (college), sweaters & mittens (kids & hubby), and hats until now. I’m knitting lace for the first time - and having trouble. I keep dropping stitches & can’t seem to keep the pattern when I bring them back to the needles. I’ve started over for the fourth time &, at this rate, I’m going to wear out the yarn before I get six inches done. Clearly I’m doing something wrong but I can’t figure out what. The yarn is the finest I’ve ever worked with, the needles are my new Options (which I like very much) and I suspect that somehow I’m sometimes knitting behind the stitch instead of into it. I also have new glasses I’m trying to get used to. This was supposed to be a shawl for my daughter-in-law"s birthday in May. Any tips from lace knitters?

By the way, this a great site and I can’t believe I haven’t stumbled across it before now.

Hi. Welcome to the Forum:hug: I copied your post to the How to Question Forum under the title “Begining Lace knitter needs Help”

One suggestion I would make on my own is to use a lifeline. Look at a video Amy has on this.

Yes lifelines lifelines! It will take a while to get used to small needles and thin laceweight wool on them. If you continue to drop stitches you might find it easier to use bamboo or wood needles.
You might also find it helpful to knit a swatch of the pattern on thicker wool and needles. If that goes fine, your problem is just fetting used to the slippery fine needles and wool. You might also like to drop down some stitches on your practise swatch, and bring them back up: see how that’s done (easier to work stuff out on bigger wool and needles). Practise picking up a yo on the next row, practise dropping a stitch in stocking stitch and picking it up a row or two, practise picking it up when there was a decrease in the row below and how to redo the dropped decrease, etc.

I agree that a life line can save you so much trouble. Basically you thread a piece of yarn through a row that you know is correct so if you make a mistake you can tear out just to there and get your stitches back on the needle correctly.

Another help is to use markers if it’s appropriate for your pattern so you can check that you have the right number of stitches in each repeat before you move on.

I often find that if the back is purled or knit straight across, it’s helpful to read the chart backwards as you work this row to double check that you’re knitting into a yo where there was supposed to be a yo on the previous row, for example.

If you are using lightweight yarn I think you will benefit from using needles that are not quite so slippery. That is the most common cause of dropped stitches with new laceknitters.

There are a couple of needles I would recommend. One is the Inox/Prym Gray needle. It has sharp points that are good for decreases and the finish is enamel. It is not as slippery as metal but slicker than bamboo. The other brand of needles are the new Addi Lace needles. They also have sharp points but the finish is brass with some sort of coating on it to make it less slippery.

A lifeline is a good idea if you drop stitches but the main thing is to get to the point where you are not dropping them in the first place and the choice of needle can really help with that. Good lighting is essential and having time to knit undisturbed is a help too.

When knitting lace, it helped me to make sure that if I dropped a stitch such as a yarn over that I would start at the beginning of the row and make sure that each stitch was in place and the dropped stitch was picked up at the right place. You might even make corrections from previous rows by working the pattern up from the prolem stitch from an earlier row. (If this doesn’t make sense and it’s the area you’re having problems, let me know and I will go into greater detail about dropping a stitch on purpose to correct an earlier problem and redoing the one stitch for several rows.) It might take longer then to just redo but you learn the pattern and can get very good at recognizing the problem area and make corrections instead of having to redo. Others are correct about lifelines. If you put one in, then you probably won’t need it but if you don’t --oh boy! lol

You might find it easier to see the stitches if you use needles that are a bright/contrasting/visible colour, and put a piece of fabric in your lap that is also a different colour - pillowcases are great for this (then when you put it aside you can just fold over the case to wrap it up and keep it clean and together).

Count, count, count! I’ve just started knitting lace, and there is no help for it - you’ve got to count after just about every row. I also agree with those who say use a lifeline - otherwise, it’s virtually impossible (at least for me) to get it back on the needles properly.

Good luck, though - I love the look of it as it’s getting done.