How to Knit Lace, Part 1 – basic knitting stitches

Knit & Crochet Saturday

These days lace knitting seems to be all the rage. Whether used in the cuffs of a pretty pair of socks, as the focal point in a drapey shawl or scarf, or even as a design element in a sweater, beautifully textured and open lace stitches are a fabulous way to show off your knitting prowess.

Knitted lace scarf from Knits from the North Sea
Soft and fuzzy knit from mohair, this easy YO, K2tog pattern is a perfect first lace-knitting pattern. From Knits from the North Sea.

But wait, do you really need knitting prowess to tackle a bit of lace? Maybe, if you plan to knit an intricate design with complex pattern repeats and shaping. But there are lace patterns easy enough for a confident beginner that can spark up your wardrobe and boost your knitting confidence. Our free download, Basic Knitting Stitches for Knitting Lace, can help you get started. Read on for more lace-knitting advice.

Knitted lace tank top from Dolce Handknits
This breezy tank top from Dolce Handknits features a pretty lace pattern on the bottom where you don’t need to worry about shaping, and easy stockinette stitch on the top.

Most lace knitting is simply a series of making holes (the yarn-over increases) and then working two stitches together (decreases) to keep your stitch count the same as before you made the yarn overs. The pattern will tell you where to make the holes and where to close them up.

Knitted lace socks from Sock Club
Tired of knitting the same old ribbed socks? Work some lace into your next pair, such as this “Ariel” design from Sock Club.

If you can K2tog (knit two stitches together—a decrease), SSK (slip a stitch as if to knit, slip a second stitch as if to knit, and then knit those two stitches together through the back—another type of decrease), SKP (slip one stitch, knit one stitch, and then pass the slipped stitch back over the knit stitch—a third type of decrease), and make a yarn over, you’ve already got what it takes.

Knitted lace scarf from Knitting by Nature
Whether you say CLEM-a-tis or cle-MAT-is, this gorgeous Clematis scarf from Knitting by Nature is the perfect accessory for any garden lover. And it’s on my personal lace-knitting bucket list!

If you’re not sure how to make a YO in knitting or what knitting tbl means (and no, tbl in knitting doesn’t mean tablespoon!), download our free Basic Knitting Stitches for Knitting Lace PDF and have a closer look. By the time you’ve read through it, you’ll be on your way. And, you can print it out and tuck it into your knitting bag so help will always be on hand.

Download Basic Knitting Stitches for Knitting Lace PDF

Ready to put your newfound knowledge of lace knitting to work? You’ll find a wealth of patterns as well as more valuable lace-knitting tips and hints in these great books:

Nature's Wrapture Ocean Breezes Knitting by Nature

Sock Club Successful Lace Knitting Knits from the North Sea Dolce Handknits

Stay tuned for my next post, How to Knit Lace Part 2, when we’ll talk about reading charts, using stitch markers, and the importance of post-it notes. Charts can make it much easier to follow your pattern and keep track of textured knitting, whether you’re making lace, textured knit-purl patterns, or cables.


Do you have specific questions about how to knit lace? Ask away in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.


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