Tips for Better Lace Knitting

Blue Dahlia, by Andrea Jurgrau, from New Vintage Lace

Knit lace is worth the effort. I can say that now, after learning some tips and tricks from some great lace knitters!

Here are the tips that allow me to enjoy knitting lace.

Use very pointy needles. It’s so much easier to work the decreases that are innate to knit lace if you have sharp tipped needles. In my experience, it’s almost impossible to work a purl 3 together with blunt-tipped needles. We’re lucky, because there are so many quality, sharp needles on the market now. Check out our Guide to Knitting Needles to see some of the options that are available.

Use a sticky note with your chart. I always place a sticky note above the row I’m currently working. It helps my eye from wandering, and I can see what I’ve already knit.

Enlarge your chart on a copy machine. Sometimes those charts are so tiny! I always enlarge my charts on a photocopier—it’s okay to photocopy from a publication you own if the copy is for your own use. Larger charts are so much easier to use.

Color code your chart. If you’re working a particularly complicated chart, it’s sometimes helpful to color code certain elements. A highlighter works well for this.

Get a good magnet board. Keeping your chart on a magnet board is really helpful. You can get strong magnets that keep the chart in place and long, skinny magnets to keep track of your row. If you can’t find a large enough magnet board, raid your bake ware collection! Older baking sheets are usually magnetic.


Sand Dollar Wrap, by Andrea Jurgrau, from New Vintage Lace
Giverny Beret, by Andrea Jurgrau, from New Vintage Lace

Place a marker at the beginning of each pattern repeat.

Isolating a repeat between markers is extremely helpful. If you’re supposed to knit two together at the end of a repeat and you only have one stitch left, you know you’ve messed up somewhere between your markers. You won’t have to wait until the next pattern row to discover your mistake.

Use a lifeline. Lifelines are named aptly because they can save the life of your lace project. I like to place one every three inches or so. If you make a mistake, your lifeline is there, holding a row of stitches, so you can rip back to it and start again. You won’t lose all of your work, and you’re less likely to throw in the towel, or shawl, as it were.

Invest in blocking wires. These invaluable tools are relatively inexpensive—anywhere from $20-$30. Pinning a lace project always works, of course, but blocking with wires is so much easier! You simply weave the wires through the edge of your project, stretch it out appropriately, and place a few pins to hold it in place.

These are just my favorite tips; they make lace knitting easier for me. For more ideas for successful knitted lace, I recommend a new video from lace expert Andrea Jurgrau, who also happens to be the designer of all of the beautiful projects shown here.

Andrea’s tutorial focuses on all of the techniques you’ll need to knit vintage lace patterns, updated to today’s sensibilities. It’s so interesting! Get the DVD or download the high-def video of Knitting New Vintage Lace.


P.S. I’ve shared my tips, now I invite you to share yours! Leave a comment and tell us what makes lace knitting easier for you.

Andrea Jurgrau’s book is full of beautiful, wearable lace patterns, plus clear lace-knitting instruction. Both the book and the eBook are on sale as part of our Labor Day Sale. Get your copy now!






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