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Making Lace: Basic Techniques
Lace for Beginners
Lace fabrics look beautiful and complicated, making them treasures that may be passed from generation to generation. Many types of lace are intricately constructed, requiring the use of multiple threads wound on bobbins, carefully executed embroidery stitches, and/or detailed paper patterns. For those with the patience and dexterity, such techniques do produce elegant lace.
There are many simple and beautiful laces to make, however, and this lens explores those methods that require only commonly available tools and materials: crochet hooks, knitting needles, and fine wool, silk or cotton. You can find the steel hooks and fine gauge knitting needles at most well-stocked needlework stores.
Let's get started with lace making. Read about these different techniques, then get the materials to try out your favorite.
(Photograph from Wikimedia Commons)
Filet Crochet Lace
Lace Crochet Patterns
Crochet edgings make anything special, from socks to pillowcases to dresses.
Made with Hook and Thread
Crocheted lace can be made by many techniques, including the filet crochet piece shown in the picture. Filet crochet is worked from a chart and uses double crochet stitches and chain 1 spaces to create lace pictures. Other crocheted lace techniques are:
- Irish crochet, in which individual floral motifs are crocheted, then joined with a crocheted mesh background to produce anything from lace collars to a christening gown;
- Broomstick lace, which uses an over-sized knitting needle, a crochet hook, and a modified Tunisian crochet method to produce a quick lace fabric using yarn instead of thread. Jiffy lace is another term for this technique; and
- Hairpin lace, in which thread or yarn is wrapped around a frame and a hook is used to crochet through the middle of the frame. Long strips of lace with loops on both long sides are produced. These loops may be joined to other strips or edged with other crochet pattern stitches.
Learn to Make Hairpin Lace
A simple, inexpensive frame, a hook, and some thread are all you need to follow the instructions in this video tutorial.
I knit these cowls all the time.
Easier Than it Looks!
The knitting skills needed for knitting simple lace patterns are:
- casting on and casting off,
- knitting and purling stitches,
- making yarn-overs, and
- decreasing with k2tog or ssk.
Any basic knitting instruction book will have tutorials for these skills. Learn to read lace charts and open up a world of lace knitting possibilities. The yarn-overs and decreases combine to create holes in the knitted fabric, producing the lacy appearance.
The lace scarf pictured here (my own photograph) is in a very simple lace pattern called "faggot stitch" which is named for the bundles of wood the repeated stitches resemble. The pattern for this stitch is:
Cast on an even number of stitches.
Row 1:*k1, yo, k2tog; rep from *to end
Row 2 and subsequent rows: repeat Row 1.
Knitted Broomstick Lace - Jiffy Lace with No Hook
Here is an interesting hybrid: a crochet technique done with knitting needles.
More on Lace Knitting
Lacy Links for your Crafting Pleasure - Learn a New Technique or Find Free Patterns
- Ravelry: Evenstar Shawl pattern by Susan Pandorf
FULL PATTERN NOW AVAILABLE*** This is the most beautiful knitted lace shawl I have ever seen. Please just look at the breathtaking pictures.
- Hairpin Lace
Hairpin Lace is a beautiful and easy crochet technique that was very popular in the Victorian times. Because hairpin lace is so quick to work up and yields such gorgeous results with modern yarns, it is the ultimate stitch craft for the modern croche
- Two-Layer Irish Rose Free Pattern
How to crochet a two layer Irish rose. Includes photos.
- Learn to Knit a Simply Lovely Beaded Lace Bracelet - CraftStylish
Create a delicate bracelet perfect for celebrating upcoming nuptials as a gift for the bride and her bridesmaids or to adorn your own wrist for the occasion.
- Demystifying Lace Knitting: the Basics by Lonna Cunningham
Have you been looking at all the lovely lace knitting patterns out there, but reluctantly passed them by? If you can cast on, knit, purl, and bind off, you are ready for this course! Join us as we demystify the art of lace knitting.