First Steps in Lace

Creative Knitting - - CONTENTS - By Beth White­side

The Yarn Over

1. Bring the yarn to the front be­tween the nee­dles. If the last stitch was a purl stitch, the yarn is al­ready in front. 2. Take the yarn over the top of the right­hand nee­dle. 3. Bring the work­ing yarn to where it needs to be to work the next stitch. If the next stitch will be a knit stitch, the yarn is al­ready in back; if it will be a purl stitch, bring the yarn be­tween the nee­dles to the front. The yarn over is com­plete; work­ing the next stitch an­chors it. Lace is open­work—eye­lets or holes—used in a purely dec­o­ra­tive man­ner. To create such holes in se­lect parts of fab­ric, we turn to a move most of us made by mis­take as be­gin­ners: the yarn over (yo).

A yarn over is sim­ply a strand of work­ing yarn laid across the right-hand nee­dle which re­sults in a new stitch.


Knit 2 to­gether (k2­tog): The right nee­dle goes through both the se­cond and first stitches on the left nee­dle, and the new loop is pulled through both stitches. This puts the se­cond stitch on top of the first. Vis­ually, the stitch slants to the right, and a k2­tog is said to be a right-lean­ing de­crease.

The me­chan­ics of lace in­volve only a few moves— master those, and you’ll be on your way!

No­tice the way the yarn goes over the nee­dle, slant­ing to the left. The slant of the yarn over matches the slant of the stitches on the nee­dle; what will be­come the right leg of the stitch sits in front of the nee­dle, and what will be­come the left leg sits in back.

This is called stitch mount, and the mount of your yarn overs should match your other stitches. Work­ing into a yarn over feels strange be­cause you are work­ing into a space, cre­at­ing a hole. If your fab­ric has no holes, your yarn overs may not have the proper stitch mount. Since yarn overs add stitches, we usu­ally need to main­tain the stitch count with de­creases. The type of de­crease, its ap­pear­ance and its place­ment are what give a lace pat­tern its char­ac­ter­is­tic ap­pear­ance. Here are just a few com­mon de­creases that you’ll usu­ally see:

Slip, knit, pass stitch over (skp) and slip, slip, knit (ssk): These are two com­monly used left-lean­ing de­creases. When slip­ping stitches for de­creases, slip knit­wise; this is es­sen­tial for pro­duc­ing an un­crossed top stitch. Both de­creases yield the same re­sult, but most peo­ple find it eas­ier and faster to work a slip, slip, knit.

slip, knit, pass stitch over (skp)

Knit 2 to­gether (k2­tog)

slip, slip, knit (ssk)

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