Lace knitting – Why [and how] it’s easier than you think

Welcome back to this week’s knit-along of the Cute as a Button Cardi using Universal Yarn’s Uptown Worsted Hues in colorway Pink Sand. So far this week I’ve shared the secret of how to pick the perfect yarn for your project, and how to knit a swatch to guarantee an accurate gauge so this cardigan fits right. Now you’re ready to cast on and start the lace yoke. Today, I’ll share a few tricks I use to make sure the lace sections of my cardigan are easy to knit and look beautiful. Ready, let’s go!

A few pro tips for easy lace knitting as you work the Cute as a Button Cardi with Uptown Worsted Hues yarn

Reading charts

  1. Knitting flat

The tricky part of the Larkspur Chart in this pattern is that it changes from being knit flat to being knit in the round. This means that for the yoke and hem of the sweater, you read the chart from right to left on the odd rows, and left to right on the even rows. There’s a right side and a wrong side to the chart, so make sure to note the legend to see what your stitches are, on the wrong side. For example, the chart legend says a blank square means to knit on the right side, and purl on the wrong side. So, when you’re knitting flat in the yoke and hem sections, make sure you’re following the chart from right to left, then on the next row, left to right taking care to get the right stitch according to the RS (right side) and WS (wrong side) instructions in the legend below the chart.

How to read a chart when you’re knitting flat. Pay close attention to the legends for RS and WS stitches.

2.     Knitting in the round

When you get to the cuffs of the sleeves, you knit using the same Larkspur Chart, but now you read it for knitting in the round. This is very different from reading the chart to knit flat. When you’re knitting in the round, there’s no knitting on the wrong side. Every round is a right-side round! You read the chart from right to left for each round. Also, according to the legend, since every round is a right-side round, the blank square is always a knit stitch. Using this chart, every odd round will be a lace stitch round and the even rounds will be plain knit stitches.

How to read a chart when you’re knitting in the round

Mark your lace section with stitch markers

In the chart, you’ll see a section marked in red called ‘patt rep’. This means these nine stitches of the lace pattern are repeated over and over throughout the row or round. To help you keep track of this pattern, place a stitch marker between each lace section. It’s important to make sure you’re accurate with your lace stitches because each row relates to the next. If you make a mistake in a row below, the whole pattern will be off. Until you’re confident, count your stitches in between the markers in every row. If there aren’t nine stitches in a particular section, you can be sure you missed a yarn over or a decrease stitch. It’s so much simpler to check each small section, demarcated by your stitch markers, then have to hunt through the whole row! You can then easily tink (knit back) to fix your mistake.

Add stitch markers in between lace pattern repeats to help keep track of your work.

Lifelines can save your lace

However, if you still manage to miss a mistake only to discover it after knitting more than a few rows, I have another pro tip to help you get quickly back on track without pulling back your work to the start – the lifeline. A lifeline is a strand placed on a row to hold the stitches of that particular row, so if a mistake is made further along in the project, you can pull back to that spot without fear of losing a stitch. You can use a very thin strand of yarn or unscented dental floss (which can be removed easily because it’s smooth) to make your lifeline. Make sure to mark down on which row you placed it, so you know where you are in the pattern when you pick up the stitches off the strand. How often you place a lifeline is up to you. If you’re new to knitting lace, I suggest you place one every four rows.

VIDEO: How to install lifelines in your knitting by Very Pink Knits

More tips tomorrow!

Well, now you’re ready to knit the lace yoke and hem of the Cute as a Button Cardi with confidence. Before you bind off the bottom of the hem, though, check out Friday’s post to see the sweet detail I added to my cardigan using Universal Yarn’s Uptown Worsted Hues that you’re going to love!

The lace hem with a sweet bind off detail you’ll want for your Cute as a Button Cardi

Tomorrow I’ll share a pro knitter’s secret to ensuring your stitches stay smooth and even throughout your project. Trust me, this will take your knitting to a whole new level! Make sure you have your needle sets and a measuring tape handy!

This is part 3 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 2: 4 steps to knitting a SIMPLE and PERFECT gauge swatch (free pattern)

Go to part 4: When it’s important to knit two swatches per project

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