Sunday, March 24, 2013

Lace Knitting 101

Lace knitting is so beautiful and looks so intricate some knitters fear trying to knit lace.  That is unfortunate as knitting lace can be a joy. There is rhythm in lace while knitting and a great sense of accomplishment every time a piece is finished.  It is also easy with practice – just like knit/purl stitch patterns or cables.

Lace is a series of yarnovers (an increase stitch) and knit two stitches together (a decrease stitch) that creates a pleasing pattern of overwork contrasted with solid areas.

The yarnover is the basic stitch of lace. Most knitters have made yarnovers if only by accident that create a hole in the knitting.  It also happens that if a yarnover is made incorrectly it disappears. This is the way to make a yarnover that leaves a hole:
  • In stockinette, on the knit side the yarn starts in the back.
  • Pass the yarn between the needles from the back to the front.
  • Then pass the yarn over the top of the right hand needle leaving an open loop on the needle.
  • Now the yarn is in the back again ready to knit the next stitch or knit two together – whatever the pattern calls for.
Note how the loop lays on the needle. The front leg should be ahead of the back leg -the same orientation as the knit stitch when it is on the right needle.

In a purl fabric, a yarnover feels like wrapping the yarn around the needle.
  • The yarn is in the front if you are purling.
  • To make the yarnover, the yarn has to go over the needle to the back,
  • Then the yarn goes between the needles to return to the front and ready to purl.
  • The loop is now on the needle in same orientation as the yarnover described in the knit above in the knit yarnover.
Practice some yarnovers in plain stockinette and reverse stockinette. You may want to match them with a decrease or you will end up with a much wider swatch than you started with. The next blog will be about reading patterns and charts for lace and a little pattern to try.