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Hi everyone.  I'm an experienced knitter but have never knit lace before.  I'm attempting to knit my first shawl and after ripping it out 3 times I'm getting discouraged.  I seem to loose my way in the pattern and am unable to find where I should be, hence the rip-outs.  I've been checking off the rows as I go and note how many stitches are on the rows once completed in hope that if I loose my way I can just back-track to the start of the row and start it again.  I spent an hour last night taking out rows, counting stitches and still couldn't tell where I was supposed to be.  I'm knitting in a quiet room alone so I can give my full attention to what I'm doing.  If anyone has any advice or nuggets of info they can pass on, please do!!

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Hi Julie!  Welcome to the world of lace. 

There are a couple of tried and true tips that many lace knitters swear by.

1) Use life lines.  These are lines of a contrasting color and yarn (ie. use a cotton yarn for your life line if you are knitting with wool) that you thread through the stitches of a row approximately every 1-2 repeats (depending on how many rows are in a repeat.)  The purpose of this is that, if you have to rip back, the line of yarn will hold your stitches and you will know where to start in the pattern.

2) Use stitch markers to section off every repeat of the pattern for the rows.  Meaning, if you have 12 stitches to work, and then you repeat those 12 sts for the pattern across the row, place a st marker after every 12 stitches.  The reasoning behind this is that it is easier to count and find a mistake in a 12 st repeat than it is all the way across your row.

The most common problem encountered in knitting lace is a forgotten yarn over, and the second most common is forgetting to do the k2tog or ssk for the decreases.  If you section off the repeats across the row, it is much easier to find these errors and then you can often correct them without even having to tink back.

Hope this helps you!!  Lace can be a joy to knit once you are able to find the tips and techniques that make it work for you! 

Thanks for the help, I'll give those ideas a try. 

hi julie! i'm also a newbie lace knitter and thank you for starting this. i have similar issues - i get lost in the YO's (often miss them) and then i don't have the right amount of stitches for the next row.

some of the helpful hints i've received are to use stitch markers and lifelines. I also started using a row counter so i can keep better track of where i was last. after i started using the markers and row counters, it did become easier for me. i am starting with a scarf first and the pattern I bought is for both a scarf and shawl so hopefully if i'm successful with the scarf i can do a shawl. what pattern are you working on?

Thanks for your reply.  I'm trying to make the Jasmine Shawl by Galler Yarns.

Hi Julie...pretty is also our oldest daughters name..

Sounds like you have a grip of lace knitting ...just hit a bump in the road..

What I do is first use stitch markers...I just purchased the brass ones here in Knit Picks...because you get so many..I use them on EVERY row for EACH repeat of the pattern.

Next ..I use a life line in a different color ...Knit Picks has a great video or pictures showing how to do this here:


Here are also some tutorials for lace knitting.


IF I get frustrated with knitting lace or anything for that matter...I just put it away and walk away...take a walk, read a book,

pour a glass of vino...and go back when I feel less frustrated.


I hope this helps a bit.


I recently finished this 601 stitch shawlette and brother did a lifeline and stitch markers help...Oooh btw this shawlette is called Kudzu Shawlette...freebie pattern on ravelry




Absolutely gorgeous !!!!!  Thank you for sharing pictures of your shawlette and where you got the pattern.  

Thanks so much for sharing.  I'll definately use those suggestions.  My pattern is not a set of repeated rows but if I put in a lifeline every couple of rows and mark on my pattern which rows I did this to then I'll know where I am.  Like usual, I probably picked too complicated a pattern for a first attempt.  Nothing like diving in the deep end LOL.  Your shawlette is gorgeous.  It gives me inspiration to keep on going. I CAN DO THIS!!!

There are repeats length wise and depth wise if this makes sense...I use stitch markers lengthwise...and use the lifeline just at the end of a depth repeat...not too many or it gets a bit fussy..
I checked out your is GORGEOUS...

The yarn there that for wholesale or I didn't see any prices.


Thank you for your lovely comments...

YOU CAN DO IT!!! for sure!

Julie, there is nothing wrong with diving into the deep end. IMHO that is how you best learn a new technique.

The only thing I have to add, is that knitting is forgiving. If you make a mistake, you can rip it back and start over again. Just enjoy knitting it again. It gives you more hours of pleasure without spending more money. I use jewelry jump rings or split rings for markers. They are cheap and can be bought by the hundreds. I try to make sure I get ones made with nickel because then they can be picked up by magnets. You can use magnetic pin cushions to store them. It makes them very easy to use.

Close up view:

Nice Idea Cheryl.



Great idea!  Thanks for sharing.


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