View Full Version : Getting ready to give up on lace...

05-21-2007, 07:58 PM
It can't be that hard... I've been able to knit the most complicated Aran patterns and I figure it is because if I start with 180 stitches in one direction, I end up with 180 stitches. But knitting lace includes YO's and I can't seem to keep the counts going correctly.

I started Fall '06 Interweave pattern, Gatsby Girl (page 29) and did fine up until the yoke -- the lace yoke. I have ripped it out five times!

Knowing how well I can follow an Aran pattern when it is all laid out, I laid out the instructions in an Excel spreadsheet. Even then, somehow when I get to the end of the row, I am not knitting the stitch that I am supposed to be knitting...

Any suggestions for a first-time lace knitter - tips or tricks to make it work?

05-21-2007, 08:11 PM
Stitch markers every pattern repeat if you can. They've saved my sanity loads of times. I only have to go back to the beginning of the repeat if I mess up way less frustrating.

05-21-2007, 08:20 PM
:hug: I feel your pain!
Use a life line along with the stitch markers. They helped me with Kiri. (although I am not done with it :shifty: ) If you need help with the lifeline Amy has a video on it here (scroll down) (http://www.knittinghelp.com/knitting/basic_techniques/misc.php)
Hope this helps!

05-21-2007, 09:01 PM
Okay, stitch markers make sense -- I can do that! What is a life line?

05-21-2007, 09:06 PM
A lifeline is a piece of extra yarn threaded through the stitches every 10 or so rows so if you have to rip back, it won't unravel past the lifeline. It's great for beginning lace knitters and Amy has a video HERE (http://www.knittinghelp.com/knitting/basic_techniques/misc.php?/)

05-21-2007, 09:41 PM
I just started my first lace - Eunny's Print of the Wave - and have ideas: the lifeline is a must with lace. Unless you are sure you could pick up again all the way along a row, this might be doable (if tedious) especially if there are rows that are just knit or just purl all the way across.
Secondly, yos are tricky little bastards and they will jump off the needle if you let them. When you make them watch them carefully until the next stitch has been put on, after that it can't get off. When you come back to it on the next row it may try to jump off again. Before you get to the yo on that row you need to glare at it and growl to let it know you are watching it and it better not try anything dodgy. It will help if you are familiar with the pattern, so you expect, say, to be purling across a yo, then a decrease, then a yo, then a triple decrease, then... just to be familiar. This way, if there is a yo missing, you'll notice something's wrong.
Learn to read your knitting. After you have done a repeat successfully, look at each stitch, keeping in mind what it was supposed to be. Seeing the yos should be very easy - they are just loops stretched out diagonally on the needle, probably will be loose. Now look at the decreases, they look like a normal stitch on the needle but if you look at the stitch underneath hanging off the stitch on the needle, you will see that there are actually two stitches looped together. Etc. So if you find yourself a stitch off, you can look along the row. 'It was supposed to be dec, k3, yo, k1, yo, dec 2, k1, yo...' but it's actually dec, k4, yo, dec2, k1, yo... so I must have skipped a yo at the start of the row.'
The repeats will make a mistake much easier to locate. If each pair of stitch markers should have 14 st between, you can quickly see where the mistake is. In fact, when you get to the end of the repeat, you should have the wrong number of stitches left if you've made a mistake, if you have exactly the right number of stitches you have probably done the row right (remember some stitch patterns change stitch number and may mean that on some rows you will always get to the marker and have a stitch left and need to move the marker, on these rows if you don't have an extra stitch you may have made a mistake!).
Try to figure out what mistake you have made for the future. For me, the only mistake I make is dropping yos, and occasionally forgetting to make them entirely around the places where I move stitch markers. That's fine because you can just scoop up and make a yo on the next row if you want to.
Or maybe the mistake you usually make is doing k2togs for all decreases even when it should be a ssk. In that case you might like to take extra care with decreases and perhaps colour in the k2togs red, and the ssks blue on the chart. And it would be worth figuring out how to turn a k2tog into a ssk without undoing the stitches in between (especially on long rows). Etc.
Also, when you do a yo, do you knit the next stitch afterward as part of that stitch? So, a yo for you is 'make a loop round the needle and knit the next stitch'? The yo is just the looping part. Some people think that the yo is 'loop then knit 1' and have problems with patterns containing yos.

05-21-2007, 09:47 PM
Man, Sarah, that' gotta be some of the most useful "in-the-know" lace knitting tips I've seen! Thanks for taking the time to share with us...

05-21-2007, 09:54 PM
Amen, sistah! I wish I had known about the lifeline before I ripped the lace out (five bloody times!) And, yes, it IS tedious to try and pick up all the stitches again and again and again...

But with all this help, I'm ready to try again -- and hope to post a picture of successful lace!

05-21-2007, 10:54 PM
I can't wait to see! :hug:

05-21-2007, 10:59 PM

I can't stress this enough. Even with a lifeline, lace just sucks. But in a good way. It's so nice to have something in your life that kicks your butt and rewards you in equal measure.

BTW, many have mentioned it before, but it always bears repeating...the little hole in the join of the Options (Knitpicks) needles is ideal for putting in a lifeline. Thread some itty bitty yarn in that sucker, knit as usual, and when you get done, there's a ready-made lifeline.

Good luck!


05-21-2007, 11:25 PM
I'm "gearing up" for a lace shawl by knitting a dishcloth in a lace pattern from a stitch dictionary. It's much easier to count 42 stitches than 180. This way, I'll know what the stitches look like on the needle, AND I'll have a dishcloth/face cloth when I'm done!

05-21-2007, 11:55 PM
I haven't tried knitting lace yet, but in one of the blogs I read a fellow knitter did a very detailed tutorial on fixing lace without a lifeline:


It seems a bit time consuming and tedious, but, if you're far into your project and haven't put in a life line then this could hopefully save you!

05-22-2007, 01:03 AM
OMG, lifelines are so detrimental... i made that mistake only once! i'd gotten about 10" into a fishtail lace scarf and i stuffed it up, but i thought oh i'll just keep going and see if i can get it back.... nope couldnt get it back!! i did another 5inches before i went, CRAP! and frogged the lot!

now i always use a lifeline... sometimes two, becuase once i was so into the rhythm of knitting the rows that make up the repeat, pull out the lifeline and put it at the top.... i had the right number of stiches so i didnt check.... after i pulled it out i thought oh i did that without looking and sure enough i'd stuffed up one little stich. Fortunatly it wasnt big enough to stuff up the whole thing like before i was able to keep going. Now i have one lifeline that i keep half way and then the second one that i take out once the repeat is finished.... just in case!!

05-22-2007, 02:38 AM
Toot what's the deal with the cat in your pic? It's totally adorable! Is it partly CGI?


Here's a page with a nice fix for lace without having to undo work all the way across (scroll about halfway down the page), just what you screwed up in the middle: see part II for an interesting way of figuring out the best way to graft (the two bright colours).

P.S. Just noticed you are exactly one month older than I, I'm 3/8!

05-22-2007, 06:47 AM
Secondly, yos are tricky little bastards and they will jump off the needle if you let them. When you make them watch them carefully until the next stitch has been put on, after that it can't get off. When you come back to it on the next row it may try to jump off again. Before you get to the yo on that row you need to glare at it and growl to let it know you are watching it and it better not try anything dodgy.


I couldn't do lace without a lifeline.

I know I'm not the OP here, but thanks for the links to those who posted them. :muah:

05-22-2007, 07:12 AM
Before you get to the yo on that row you need to glare at it and growl to let it know you are watching it and it better not try anything dodgy.

:roflhard::roflhard::roflhard::roflhard::roflhard: :roflhard::roflhard::roflhard::roflhard::roflhard:

05-22-2007, 09:04 AM
I know it a pain.... but the end result...is worth it !

05-22-2007, 09:16 AM
I just started the Branching Out Scarf from Knitty, last night. It's my very very first attempt at lace. I got about three repeats into the pattern, and it just didn't look right. So I totally ripped it all out and started again, but this time I have a feel for it, and after three repeats, it is perfect. :lol:

I will, however, take all the advice given in this thread, and when I get home install a lifeline at this juncture. I know I have been testing the favor of the gods by my hubris in thinking "I don't need a lifeline!" No more of that - in it goes.

Thanks for the kick in the pants. :thumbsup:

05-22-2007, 11:32 AM
I'm working on my first lace project now, and its been really frusterating. All I can say is lifelines have saved me...that is something you'd definitely want to do. I've also been counting my stitches at the end of each row so if I do make a mistake, I can just knit back before I have to forg a big chunk. Just work slowly and you'll get it. Good luck!

05-22-2007, 01:08 PM
This has all been so helpful -- even though I run a computer company, it never dawned on me that there was this great chat-site to help me with my knitting! All these years, I have shied away from lace because I "couldn't get it" and didn't know about lifelines. You guys are the greatest! :muah:

05-22-2007, 02:46 PM
Only thing I can add is that I find it easier to identify K2tog (usually when I've lost the count!) by looking at the back of the knitting. The decreases stand out more.

Thanks for all the info. Sarah - really good advice!

All the Best