The Terror of Lace Grafting: It’s All in Your Head

What’s the scariest thing you can imagine doing with your knitting? A few projects come to mind for me: two-color intarsia in cobweb yarn, Latvian stranded colorwork mittens on size 1 DPNs, a masterpiece Alice Starmore sweater—and of course, grafting lace.

The idea of grafting lace terrifies me and many other knitters. First, picture all those tiny stitches hanging precariously on the needle. What if they fall off? Your project is surely doomed. Then, you’re going to take a tapestry needle and graft them together with another piece? In pattern? You’ve got to be kidding me. Why would you even do something like that?

grafting lace

Remember that beautiful lace cowl you knit, but then you panicked and sewed the ends together with a whipstitch or sloppy mattress stitch? It was okay, but it could have been just that much nicer with a proper graft. Especially if you used that single skein of hand-dyed cashmere you’d been saving in your stash for the perfect project! Say it with me, “I deserve a beautifully grafted cowl.”

Then, take a deep breath. You’re in great hands. Joni Coniglio, our Senior Project Editor and grafting guru, is here to help. She knows pretty much everything there is to know about the subject and she’s literally written the book on lace grafting, explaining how to use simple chart symbols to help you graft.

In The Definitive Guide to Grafting: Lace Course, you’ll learn how to graft yarnovers, twisted stitches, and single and double decreases, to match any lace pattern you’re likely to encounter.

grafting lace

Practice with a couple of simple lace swatches (make them in worsted-weight yarn) and a big tapestry needle. Follow along as Joni guides you through grafting every lace stitch you’ll need. You’re not joining pieces yet; you’re just working through the stitches. Don’t forget, you can always back up the video and watch it again if you need to. Once you’ve got that part down, combine the front and back needles to graft the pieces together. For your first efforts, try sitting at a table with a bright crafting lamp nearby, instead of curling up in a ball on the couch. You’ll soon find that everything falls into place and your confidence will soar.

grafting lace

You might get on a roll, grafting everything in sight. I won’t blame you. It’s exhilarating to see that absolutely perfect join you can get when you graft top-to-bottom. No one will ever know it was there! If you want inspiration, Joni’s course includes several sample lace patterns. Knit one of those patterns into a longish strip and you’ll have a gorgeous cowl with a PERFECT GRAFT.

I think you’ll love learning to graft lace with Joni’s course. You can work at your own pace, chat with other students along the way, and even play a matching game to help you memorize chart symbols and the stitches they represent.

Happy grafting!


Build Your Knitting Confidence with Lace Grafting!



  1. J D at 10:39 am July 21, 2017

    Thank you for this article Lindsay. I will (I promise!) at some time in the future try lace-grafting. I’m sure if you break it down step-by-step it all makes sense. I remember the days when lace-knitting would strike terror in my heart! Now that I’ve conquered that fear, it’s time to proceed with the next step – lace grafting.

  2. Lindsay S at 12:23 pm July 21, 2017

    Hi JD,
    Thank you for your kind comment. Definitely give it a try; the grafting charts and symbols really help keep everything straight. Let us know how it goes!


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