Lace Knitting

Almost every month I get to go the The Big Apple Knitters Guild meeting and there is always a “fashion show” in which the knitters get up and show their accomplishments and quite accomplished they are. They range from doll clothing to sweaters to shawls and I myself am most impressed by the lacy shawls. I have some books about this but it is an area that I confess I have not really gone into and so I thought I would take the time to begin a journey through lace. I imagine that it will take some time to master these skills so I thought that you might like to join me.

I began by investigating how yarn overs created the holes and how the directions adjust for the extra stitches. Of course the adjustment is made by doing knit together. This is used to adjust the number of stitches. 

Using just this simple method can allow you to make a simple item into a more decorative one.

In doing this, it seems to me that the tricky part is the knitting two together or even three together, putting the needle through those multiple stitches requires very pointy needles and even then, you really do not want to drop” any stitches because picking them up is very difficult and sometimes impossible.

As you can see below, the yarn over k2tog pattern demonstrates how this makes “holes” in the knitting which adds to the texture. 


Having mastered this beginning technique, I then looked in one of my my stitch dictionary for a simple lace design that didn’t have too long a repeat and found the next pattern. This only involved 24 stitches and 10 lines of pattern and every even line was exactly the same so there were only 5 actual pattern parts that required following the instructions. As you probably already know, these instructions used to always be written out but lately, they are both written out and put on a graph. 

I personally use stitch markers for the beginnings of the repeats as this will keep me holding to the pattern. I have noticed that working with a light colored yarn makes this easier as well.

I think you will notice that although this was cast on straight, the lace pattern is altering the end so that it will become a lovely pointed design. 

As I am sure you know, knitting is all about patterns and, as I used to say when I was teaching, patterns repeat and they also let you anticipate what is going to happen next so, let’s take a minute to analyze this simple pattern so the we can memorize it. I will color code the different elements.

  1. Sk2po, k7, yo, k1, yo, p2, yo, k1, yo, k7, k3tog
  2. p11, k2, p11
  3. Sk2po, k6, yo, k1, yo, k1, p2, k1, yo, k1, yo, k6, k3tog
  4. p11, k2, p11
  5. Sk2po, k5, yo, k1, yo, k2, p2, k2, yo, k1, yo, k5, k3tog
  6. p11, k2, p11
  7. sk2po, k4, yo, k1, yo, k3, p2, k3, yo, k1, yo, k4, k3tog 
  8. p11, k2, p11
  9. sk2po, k3, yo, k1, yo, k4, p2, k4, yo, k1, yo, k3, k3tog

Looking at the pattern this way you can easily see that most of the combinations are just repeats and that there are only a few places in which the number of stitches change. In addition, every even row is identical.

This pattern will be used in our beginning lace kit to be announced at a further date. 


  • Jane Klein

    Hi Pat, It is actually slip 1, k2tog, pass the slipped stitch over the K2tog.

  • Pat Reilly

    Please define sk2po. I think you mean sl1, ssk, psso. Am I right? Thanks

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