How to Shape Your Knitted Lace

Moonlight Pullover
Enchanted Cardigan

Everyone loved Kristen TenDyke’s Finish-Free Knits, and now she’s back with more in her new book No-Sew Knits.

Kristen’s designs for this book cover it all from pretty and practical to fun and funky. What I like best about this book, though, are Kristin’s tutorials, which are sprinkled throughout the book, adding to her clear, concise patterns.

As you knit your way through this book, you’ll learn:

  • How to work a seamless set-in sleeve
  • Picking interchangeable stitch patterns
  • Adding hoods to any sweater
  • Shaping bust darts
  • Adding seamless pockets to any sweater
  • How to keep in pattern while increasing and decreasing
  • Picking up stitches to maintain a stitch pattern
  • And so much more!

Seriously. No-Sew Knits is full of information that will make you a better knitter.

An example of what I’m talking about is shaping lace knitting projects. There are several ways to accomplish this and achieve a nice finish, but it’s not always easy. In her Moonlight Pullover design, shown upper right, Kristen gives you a really great tip—shape the waist by going down a needle size! That is seriously easy, and it works great in this pattern.

Here’s Kristen to tell you more about this topic.

Shaping Lace

One of the challenging parts of working in lace patterns can be the shaping. When working in a stitch pattern that includes both increases and decreases for shaping, it can be difficult to maintain the correct stitch count if the increases and decreases worked at the side edges cut into the lace pattern. It’s also not the most aesthetically pleasing way to shape lace.

When designing lace patterns, I keep in mind how the piece is going to be shaped and try to maintain the pattern repeat while working the shaping. This saves the headache of trying to maintain the stitch count while adding or subtracting stitches along the edges. There are a few different ways that I like to do this.

The first is to design a boxy-shaped sweater, allowing the texture of the lacy fabric to take center stage and letting the shape of the sweater take the backseat. The Enchanted Cardigan is an example of this. The body is knit straight up from the cast-on edge to the sleeves without shaping. When the sleeves are cast on the total stitch count of the leaf lace pattern remains a multiple of 16 stitches + 1, the same stitch count worked on the body. These sleeves could easily be lengthened or shortened by adding or subtracting multiples of 16 stitches when casting on the sleeve stitches.

The Enchanted Cardigan is knit in one piece from the lower edge to the underarm. Stitches are cast-on for the sleeves in the stitch multiple for the lace leaf pattern, so it’s easy to maintain the pattern. The tops of the sleeves are joined front to back using a three-needle bind-off.

Another way to shape in lace is to change the needle size, instead of the stitch count, to create curves.

In the Majestic Pullover, shown above right, the lace and cable pattern near the waist is knit on the smallest size needles for a tighter fabric and a narrower waist. As the pattern progresses toward the hip, larger needles are used to widen the lower edge. The larger needles also provide a more open stitch pattern and a more flowing drape.

—Kristen TenDyke, from No-Sew Knits

I highly recommend this book to you. It’s a resource book as much as it is a pattern book, which doesn’t happen all that often!

Get No-Sew Knits today; it’s available in book form or as a digital download.


P.S. Have you tackled shaping lace projects? Share your experience in the comments!




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