If you haven’t done it before, learning to knit lace takes some time, concentration, and practice. But it is a skill that can be mastered by most knitters, so don’t let the complex-looking results scare you off!
At Tin Can Knits, Emily is the ‘lace queen’ and this spring and summer she will guide you through the basics of lace, and share some more complex techniques and tips!
WANT TO LEARN TO KNIT LACE ?
Join in and discover your love of lace! In the upcoming weeks we will share tutorials on:
– how to read a lace chart (and follow text instructions)
– how to work lace increases and decreases (yo, k2tog, ssk, sl1-k2tog-psso)
– choosing needles and yarn for lace knitting
– how to block lace
– troubleshooting and problem solving in lace knitting
Soon you will be casting on with confidence for a lacy cardigan, stunning shawl, or cute lace cowl!
If you aren’t familiar with our excellent tutorials, check out The Simple Collection – our free learn-to-knit series with 8 patterns and in-depth tutorials covering knitting techniques from how to knit and purl to how to knit your first sweater and socks!
NEW FREE PATTERN ::: Gothic Lace Cowl (or Scarf)
We are introducing a new free pattern this June, designed specifically for beginner lace knitters. The Gothic Lace Cowl (or scarf) has a simple, repetitive lace pattern, which is perfect for beginners, and because is knit in worsted or aran weight yarn, so it won’t take forever to make. Sign up for our email updates, and we’ll let you know when this free pattern is available!
A BIT ABOUT KNITTED LACE :::
Lace consists of artfully arranged holes in the knitted fabric.
The holes are usually formed by an increase stitch called a yarn-over (yo). Because the yarn-over stitches increase the stitch count, they must be balanced out by a corresponding number of decrease stitches.
Several different sorts of decreases may be used in lace knitting: single decreases like knit 2 together (k2tog), or slip-slip-knit (ssk) which decrease a single stitch, and multiple decreases like sl1-k2tog-psso (slip one stitch, knit the next 2 stitches together, pass the slipped stitch over the k2tog and off the needles) which decreases 2 stitches by combining 3 stitches into a single stitch. You may be familiar with these shaping stitches from your previous knitting projects.
A lace stitch pattern is a set of instructions which results in a lacy knitted fabric. Just like other types of stitch patterns (cables, textures), a lace stitch pattern will have a stitch repeat (how many stitches wide is the pattern before it repeats again), and a row repeat (how many rows tall is the pattern before it repeats again).
Lace stitch patterns are described using text instructions, or more often using charts. At Tin Can Knits, most of our lace patterns are shown in charts only, because charts are much more compact and help knitters visualize the finished form of the knitting and learn to ‘read’ their knitting, which is an important skill for avoiding mistakes and troubleshooting. Check out our in-depth tutorial on how to read a knitting chart.
WHET YOUR LACE KNITTING APPETITE :::
We love to incorporate lace into all types of knitting projects, in bulky or fine yarns! If you follow along with our lace tutorials over the coming weeks, you will be all set to tackle a beautiful lace project this spring.
Have you tried lace knitting in the past and had difficulties? Do you have specific questions about a techique? Leave a comment below and I will do my best to point you on the road to lace knitting bliss (yes… that is a place I like to go)!
Loving this? If you enjoy our in-depth tutorials, designs, and chat, be sure to get our email updates (you don’t want to miss out on our excellent subscriber specials), and join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Ravelry, Twitter and Pinterest!
June 21, 2021 @ 5:28 am
I was hoping you guys touch knitting with a lace yarn or sock yarn.. To me lace in knitting is not a true lace to me. When I crochet in an attempt to make a lace, I crochet with a very fine yarn and and follow lace patterns. The end garments are always true lace mostly. In knitting you use DK weight yarn or even medium worsted weight and do YO, K2tog, and other increase and decrease stitches to create holes in a garment. But the end results are nothing like lace like we call fabric a lace. Just holes in fabric even using giant yarn..this isn’t really lace at all in terms of fabric. And for knitting in lace normally you use a few needle sizes larger to get “lacey” feel or airy fabric..this isn’t really lace really. I was hoping you cover how to knit with lace or fingering weight yarn..as it’s quite challenging I found.
June 21, 2021 @ 12:16 pm
Hi Ellie – Yes, it does depend on your definition of lace. Here we’ve defined lace as an open or ‘holey’ fabric. I’m not sure I have any tips for knitting with lace or sock weight yarn specifically, I knit them the same way as any other yarn. It can sometimes require an adjustment in needle size though, if you are having trouble achieving a gauge you are happy with.
Ready to Learn Something New? We’ve Got a Hat for That! | Tin Can Knits
December 31, 2020 @ 6:30 am
[…] your first time working with lace, you’ll definitely want to check out our posts on How to Knit Lace and How to Read a Knitting […]
October 9, 2020 @ 2:53 am
These are terms borrowed from domestic machine knitted lace, since hand knitting does not have any terms to differentiate between a yarn over and adjacent decrease (or the other way round), which machine knitters call “simple”, and “fashioned” whereby the decrease is delayed and is separated by several stitches, causing the stitches to lean in the direction of the decrease, the choice of which can accentuate the lean.
Next Stitches | Tin Can Knits
September 10, 2020 @ 6:00 am
[…] list? Check out our FREE Flax pattern and our full project tutorial, too! Are you inspired to try some lace knitting? Perhaps you’re interested in learning more about laying with mohair, or maybe you’d […]
September 10, 2020 @ 1:58 am
The patterns selected here as an introduction to lace knitting by hand, are graded and are chosen to give practice for the few techniques required. Suggestion: knit swatches appropriate for the size of the repeat+ 2 knit stitches at each selvage. Then study the structure of the pattern and note how it has been achieved.
Love Note Sweater: Yoke (3/6) | Tin Can Knits
June 18, 2020 @ 6:04 am
[…] new to lace knitting, you might want to check out our tutorials on how to read a knitting chart or how to knit lace. If any of the techniques are new to you, click the links to learn more: k2tog, ssk, […]
February 29, 2020 @ 8:52 am
HELP! I am having supreme probs with a pattern. There is no chart (which may be easier) but I never have the number of stitches I am supposed to have at the end of the row. Starting with 60 stitches on needle example:. 1st row: Y.o.n.,K3, *(y.fwd.,K.1) 6times, k6 rep. from *to last 9 sts, (y.fwd.,K1) 6 times, k.3. If I follow the pattern diligently I HAVE 8 stitches at the end not 9!! I am already out by 1 stitch. The 2nd time I do the pattern, Y.o.n., k2, (K2 tog) 3 times, *y;fwd., k1) 6 times, (k2 tog) 6 times, rep from * to last 14 sts–I GET 12 sts , (y.fwd,.K1) 6 times, (k2 tog) 3 times K2. what am I not getting???
March 2, 2020 @ 1:02 pm
Hi – Sorry, I’m not much help here, I’m not sure what is intended by Y.o.n.? Your * to * instruction is a 12 st repeat, so it should work out with 3 sts before the repeat and 9 sts after.
February 1, 2020 @ 10:14 am
I am trying out my own lace with purchased yarn. Is there a best way to determine the size of needle with a given size of yarn when one is doing lace?
February 4, 2020 @ 12:27 pm
Hi Mary Beth – only swatching will tell, but usually a couple of sizes bigger for lace
January 15, 2020 @ 9:50 am
I love your patterns and I’m knitting the oaken blanket for the first time. I’m a bit confused about the chart – it’s knit in the round and I’m not sure what to do on the even numbered rows. For example round 1: knit chart a, round 2 : knit. But what do you do for the even numbered rows? Do you purl all the chart stitches by converting the k2tog etc to p2tog? Or just purl what you’ve just knit.. sorry if this is confusing
January 16, 2020 @ 1:22 pm
Hi James – I’m not totally sure I understand the question, but for the blanket you are knitting in the round, so the even numbered rounds (rounds 2, 4, 6, etc.) are all just knit. Round 3 you would work chart A.
January 16, 2020 @ 2:20 pm
ok So no purl! Brilliant thank you !
November 4, 2019 @ 7:35 am
Having trouble keeping the lace pattern when decreasing for armhole .
Dogwood Blanket Tutorial | Tin Can Knits
June 24, 2019 @ 3:19 pm
[…] your stitches loosely. If you are new to lace knitting you might want to check out our tutorials on how to knit lace here and reading a lace chart […]
February 4, 2019 @ 11:25 pm
Hello, I’m about to start knitting your lace shawl pattern, Rosebud. The pattern uses DK yarn but says sock or ace weight yarns could be used. I have 4ply weight yarn. Can you advise me whether I need to use a different needle size and whether my finished garment will match the measurements given in the pattern. Will the gauge be different than that stated for DK yarn? Thanks for you help
February 25, 2019 @ 10:29 am
Hi Samara – for the Rosebud shawl you could definitely use 4 ply, you would want to use 3.75mm needles (that’s what we used for the sample, with sock/fingering weight yarn)
September 6, 2018 @ 11:40 am
hello~ I love your patterns! Prairie Fire is giving me a bit of trouble right now. I am making a size L. i understand rows 1-18 , but that row 19 is giving me trouble. I have placed markers at either end of the lace panel and on row 19 I was knitting to 1 st before the marker, but I think that it should be 2 stitches before and then I would need to end 2 stitches before the end for the last decrease. then rows 21 and 23 I would start the chart 1 st before the panel?
i have gotten quite far down the front and I don’t have an equal number of sts on either side of my bor marker and I think this is why???? I will rip it back just want to make sure I’m reading the chart correctly. thanks~
September 6, 2018 @ 1:42 pm
Hi – for the Prairie Fire on row 19 if you are placing markers on either side of the lace panel you need to stop 2 sts before the marker and knit the next 3 sts together (2 before and 1 after the marker). At the end of the row you would knit the last st before the marker together with the first 2 sts after the marker.
September 6, 2018 @ 2:10 pm
Wonderful thank you for the clarification. I am off to frong back.
August 31, 2018 @ 6:29 am
I have tackled lace knitting and always loose my place in the written pattern as well as ending up with more stitches. Please help! thank you
September 4, 2018 @ 2:05 pm
Hmm, not sure how to help with that one! You could try ticking off each row as you complete it, or adding in a life line when you know a completed section is correct.
November 30, 2017 @ 11:49 am
What is the style of lace knitting that has no purling?
November 30, 2017 @ 2:11 pm
Magic?! I’m sorry, I’m not sure. If it was in the round it wouldn’t have any purl sts.
October 18, 2017 @ 4:27 am
Hello! My pattern uses lace weight yarn and size 8 needles. I’ve completed a number of rows and the work looks incredibly loose—much looser than the sample in the yarn store. Thoughts?
October 18, 2017 @ 4:34 am
That’s U.S. size 8 – 5 mm.
October 18, 2017 @ 9:51 am
Hmmm, seems super loose. I mean, it does depend on the pattern, but I would knit a pretty open lace weight shawl on a 3.5-4mm. Does it have a gauge recommendation? Occasionally it happens that the designer knits at a really tight or loose knitter so their suggested needle size is a lot bigger or smaller than the ‘average’ knitter might use.
August 13, 2017 @ 3:39 am
what is best way to cast on when doing lace
August 14, 2017 @ 2:39 pm
Hi Stephanie – that kind of depends on what you are knitting, but I usually use a long tail cast on
July 31, 2017 @ 8:39 am
Hello – I’m working on the 1999 and I’m having trouble getting the sl2-k1-p2sso to not look kind of twisty and clumpy. I am wondering if it’s truly correct to insert the right need as if I were going to K2tog, through the front of the two stitches together, or if you’ve done it by slipping each one separately, but just turned the opposite way from how one would do an ssk?
August 2, 2017 @ 9:15 am
Hi Sarah – that’s how I’ve been doing it, slipping both sts together as if to k2tog
February 8, 2017 @ 3:46 pm
I have knitted quite a few 3 and 4 ply lace shawls before very successfully but when I attempt a 2 or 1 ply the knitting seems very uneven to the extent that I gave up. I really want to have another go – have you any tips?
February 9, 2017 @ 10:06 am
Hi Deborah – it might be that the needles you are using are a bit too big, making the work more open and seem ‘sloppy’ or uneven. I would take it off the needles, put it on waste yarn and block what you have so far, then you will know if it is a fabric you like or if you need to go down a couple of needle sizes.
April 18, 2016 @ 8:28 am
Hello! I am totally confused with my number of stitches on the Hitofude Cardigan sweater. On the basic repeat section… you start out with 12 stitches.. There are 2 yarn overs…and 2 decreases… By the time I start the second row… I am working with only 10 stitches…. What happened to the other two stitches. You think it would even out starting with 12… two yarn overs..and two decreases….but it doesn’t even out! I end up with 2 less stitches upon starting my second row.
Lodestar Stole | Tin Can Knits
August 4, 2015 @ 5:56 am
[…] is our free pattern for learning the basics of lace, and we have posts on how to read a lace chart, how to work lace increases and decreases, and how to block lace. If you have questions, be sure to ask in the comments, or connect with us […]
June 22, 2015 @ 1:22 pm
Hello there, I am just finishing the lovely Botany Shawl, but I wanted to add beads to the cast-off. I am using the bind off recommended in the pattern, adding a bead every other stitch just before it’s worked, but seems a bit snug. I am about halfway around and I’m getting the sense my shawl will not block so large this way. How can I tell if my bind-off tension is appropriate (before I actually block it)? Do we need more give when we add beads? Thanks for any help.
June 23, 2015 @ 10:54 am
If it’s feeling too tight it probably is. Try going up a couple of needle sizes and using the stretchy bind off suggested. I’m not sure about how beads would affect things….
November 28, 2014 @ 6:51 pm
Love everything in Road Trip. Working on Prairie Fire size 2-4. Caught up on understanding the 8 stitch repeat? How do I know how many in this size.
December 3, 2014 @ 5:32 pm
You will work the 8 st repeat as many times as will fit
July 6, 2014 @ 10:43 am
I found this website/blog out of desperation to obtain more help with lace knitting. My first attempt is fairly simple with the exception of understanding the decrease process for the neck opening. Hoping you suggestion something to read or watch in understanding how to do decreases for shaping. Totally lost! I leave in Overland Park, Ks (suberb of Kansas City, MO.) Would love to visit you all someday…..but any advice you can give would greatly be appreciated! Thanks!! Gwen
May 31, 2014 @ 1:44 pm
Love the Raindrops sweater and the Estuary shawl! Beautiful.
May 29, 2014 @ 9:15 am
I’m new to knitting (just 3 months in) but I’m beyond addicted. I’ve finished ten projects and learned cables, felting and pattern adjustments. I’m looking forward to lace immensely. My favorite pattern so far in tin can knits is Harvest. I like the simplicity and clean lines. And I like your tutorials very much. They are easy to follow and understand. I’m on ravelry as egterenzi.
bellis on Ravelry and Barb in the non-knitting (other) world
May 28, 2014 @ 6:23 am
Asking for a favorite lace pattern is like asking which is my favorite child. I have Sunflower and botany started and the yarn for Estuary picked out. Will enjoy the lace knitting with you. Your Simple Collection rocks and I’ve made several of the smaller pieces. Thanks for that series.
May 28, 2014 @ 4:56 am
Ooh very tricky I love them all. But I think Low Tide as I really want to knit this for me and my girls (3 of them!)
Rebz on Ravelry
May 26, 2014 @ 1:23 am
It would have to be Drift or Estuary-both are just beautiful! And the aqua yarn -what a gorgeous color! I’m Larimar7 on Ravelry- fingers crossed!,
May 24, 2014 @ 7:08 am
oops – I’m mmdrew on Ravelry!
May 24, 2014 @ 7:07 am
Oh I so love that sunflower shawl – I’ve had the pattern for ages now I have to get off my duff and knit it!
May 23, 2014 @ 9:22 pm
My favourite of your patterns is Windswept – I made it for my sister in March this year. I will be making the lovely Lush next. I already have your Handmade in the UK ebook, but if I win I would gift it to my sister. (Tara53aus on Rav)
May 23, 2014 @ 9:06 pm
I love the Antler Cardigan!
I made it 3x :-))
The first one was in the machine …too hot!
The second one …coffee-accident! Our grand daughter is okay!
The third one in the same size: our granddaugther love it!
Thank jou for this very nice pattern!
May 23, 2014 @ 6:46 am
I’m knitting Rosebud right now with a specially hand dyed “Rosebud Red” from a friend of mine.
Your patterns plus pattern support are wonderful.
Keep up the good work!
ChinaDoll003 (on Rav)
MaryJo aka emjay on Ravelry
May 23, 2014 @ 6:18 am
My outstanding favorite is Sitka Spruce, but I love them all.
Paola Rovelli - poldina57 on Raverly
May 23, 2014 @ 4:13 am
All your patterns are beautiful!
My preferite is Estuary
Maria (purlygalore on ravelry)
May 23, 2014 @ 3:47 am
I love all your patterns, but especially estuary. Looking forward to a lace challenge :)
May 23, 2014 @ 2:34 am
My favorite is Raindrops altho I also like Antler & Harvest! Thanks for the contest! Your tutorials are great too- thanks for sharing—
Johalley on Rav
May 23, 2014 @ 12:24 am
Love all the patterns, but Rosebud has to be my favourite, my Ravelry name is knitsofkin:-)
May 22, 2014 @ 9:14 pm
I can do lace stitches on heavier weight yarns, but I’m having trouble working with actual lace weight. Will actual lace needles with nice sharp points help?
May 22, 2014 @ 9:02 pm
Well I have so many of your patterns that I just love but the first ones I tried, Maize and Main Street have been the ones I have made most as I gift most of my projects. Thank You for such great patterns and good help for a newbie like me. I am wadebid on Ravelry. Thanks for the contest! :)
May 22, 2014 @ 6:42 pm
Gosh vivid and pop
May 22, 2014 @ 6:37 pm
I like the soft romantic flow of Bonny.
I am MrsZimm13 on Ravelry
May 22, 2014 @ 5:51 pm
Thanks for all your patterns. I adore antler. I even used antler buttons on it. I’m Rabbitsknit .
May 22, 2014 @ 4:32 pm
I love lace. It is so challenging and fun to work! Thank you for this chance. My Ravelry name is silverbirks and I like so many of you patterns that it is hard to pick just one, but Thistle is my current favorite.
May 22, 2014 @ 4:29 pm
My favorite pattern is Northshore! Loved knitting it, and love my sweater. My Ravelry name is cerdeb. Sorry if this is a duplicate. I had trouble logging in and had to start again.
May 22, 2014 @ 3:46 pm
Your patterns are all wonderful, but I have a special love for Vivid.
(CorrieG on Ravelry)
May 22, 2014 @ 3:18 pm
My favorite is Estuary. My revelry name is bitergnome.
May 22, 2014 @ 12:35 pm
Lace knitting is so wonderful. Because the yarn is usually light weight it creates less stress on hands and wrists than heavier yarn. Also, as long as memorize the pattern, can be easily carried and worked on anywhere. But most of all, the end result is so lovely.
May 22, 2014 @ 11:47 am
I thought I would try to teach myself to knit lace and so took on the beautiful Rosebud pattern. That was a huge mistake. Even after countless attempts I could not make the stitches add up at the end of each row. I’m not sure if I was too tired when I was knitting or what but after two weeks of fruitless attempts I gave up. Any hints on how to make the stitches add up correctly would be gratefully received!
May 22, 2014 @ 11:34 am
Just finished a lace course on Craftsy. Now ready to try more. Would love to try Lush.
May 22, 2014 @ 11:15 am
Reading this on holiday in the heart of rural France, and so looking forward to your lace knitting know-how! Isn’t the internet wonderful?!
May 22, 2014 @ 11:11 am
I have never tried lace, but would love to try Low Tide or Lush. Thanks for the chance to win.
Julia Dawn Mason
May 22, 2014 @ 11:01 am
I am working a lace shawl now that I am donating to the American Hemerocallis Society National Convention’s auction in late June. The pattern is a panel of a stitch called the dayflower and wings of a small diamond stitch that increases with every 4 rows. The borser is a double garterstitch eyelet rib.
BIG SPRING DESTASH… a yarn + pattern giveaway | Tin Can Knits
May 22, 2014 @ 10:00 am
[…] our lace collection, Handmade in the UK, and this spring and summer we are bringing you a number of tutorials focused on lace, to help you get started if you are a newbie, or delve deeper into complex lace techniques if you […]
May 16, 2014 @ 12:03 pm
Reblogged this on Kittens with Mittens and commented:
Love the Lace!
May 16, 2014 @ 3:43 am
Great post, thank you so much. I learnt even more about lace knitting today. I am loving lace knitting, still pretty new at it. :-)
May 15, 2014 @ 12:39 pm
Thank you! What a great idea to add lace knitting to your Simple Collection. I have been enjoing the beginner patterns and use them to teach others how to knit. Now I can hopefully get over my own issues with lace and charts by trying your new lace cowl pattern.