knitted lace stitch pattern

Many triangular lace shawls – including my own designs – begin at the center back, with a small number of stitches, and then grow in ever-lengthening rows, which form 2 triangles, separated by a center stitch. 

To begin this type of shawl, a garter-tab cast-on is recommended, as this technique creates a small rectangle of garter stitch, which blends seamlessly with the garter stitch edging which forms the top horizontal line of the shawl.  It is a bit more work than just casting on stitches normally, but the results are worth the extra effort.

This tutorial will illustrate how to execute the following instructions to form a garter-tab cast-on:

CO 3 sts. provisionally.  Knit 14 rows.  Knit 15th row, then pick up 7 stitches along the border of the small garter stitch rectangle you have just knit, then undo the provisional cast-on, put the 3 cast-on sts on a needle, and knit them (13 sts total).

So, first you will use a provisional crochet-chain cast to cast on 3 stitches.  A provisional cast-on is any type of cast-on which creates live loops or cast-on stitches that you can later knit.  The crochet chain provisional cast-on is just one of many options.  To work it:

1. Using scrap yarn, tie a granny knot.

2. Insert a crochet hook through the granny knot, then yarn-over to wind the yarn around the hook.

3. Use the crochet hook to pull the yarn which was wound around it through the knot, creating a new loop. Repeat steps 2 and 3, wrapping, and then pulling the yarn through the loop below to create a chain of loops. You should chain a few more loops than the number of stitches you want to cast-on.

4. The completed crochet chain. This is the top side - it looks a little like a flat braid.

5. Flip the chain over to see the underside - it looks like a little row of bumps.

6. Insert your knitting needle under a bump.

7. Wrap working yarn around the needle, as though you were knitting a stitch. Then, just as though you were knitting a stitch, pull a loop back through the crochet chain, creating a stitch.

8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until you have the required number of stitches on your needle.

You have successfully cast-on 3 stitches provisionally!!  Now proceed to creating the garter tab:

9. Knit 15 rows (or the number called for in your pattern). This creates a tiny rectangle of garter stitch, which is your 'garter tab'.

10. To pick up stitches along the edge of the garter tab, insert the tip of the needle through the work, 1 stitch in from the edge, wrap the yarn around the needle, and pull a loop through the work, just as though you were knitting a stitch. Repeat this step until you have picked up the required number of stitches (in this case, 7).

On the needles, I now have the 3 stitches I started with, plus 7 stitches that I picked up along the edge of the garter tab.

11. Now undo the crochet chain by pulling the end of the yarn through the last loop which had secured it, and tugging gently on the end to unzip the crochet chain.

Now you can see the exposed cast-on loops or stitches.

12. Put these cast-on stitches on the left-hand needle, then knit them.


Voila!! You now have cast-on a total of 13 stitches!  This is your first RS (Right Side) row, so you will work a WS (Wrong Side) row, and then begin knitting your lace shawl from the pattern charts!  Soon it will begin to look like a tiny triangle, and it will almost certainly be love at first sight!

After working the first chart, the pattern begins to appear!


Black Heart – this is my first try at hand-painting yarn.  I’m ecstatic about the colours, but the process was a little time-consuming, as I had to dye twice after the first round left too many white patches.  I found out that it’s much simpler to set the dyes in the microwave than by steaming on the stovetop (this was discovered after I scorched the bottom of my dye-pot when all the water boiled off).

I have 3 more skeins of the base yarn, which is knitpicks ‘bare’ merino / nylon sock yarn.  I haven’t knit with it before, so I’m hoping it’s decent – and if I feel like it won’t stand up to hard wear as socks, I may knit a hat or scarf with it.  OR… gloves for me?

I have been making progress on Mark’s birthday present: simple merino wool gloves.  I’m just working out the pattern as I go, and now that I’ve got the left-hand glove fitting perfectly, all that remains is to knit it again for the other hand!  I’m not really loving how many yarn ends have to be woven in…

But of course, despite the downsides, I’m going to have to knit myself a pair as soon as his are off the needles, because it’s still cold and crisp here in Vancouver, and fingerless gloves are really a joke when it comes to keeping you warm!!

Lastly, I made a second purchase at Urban Yarns, and it is none other than the lovely malabrigo merino lace, a buttery soft and brilliantly dyed single-ply lace yarn.  I have lusted after this yarn for SO LONG, and finally have it in my clutches!!

The swatch shows the stitch pattern I’m using to create a fat scarf / stole.  It’s a pretty brainless stitch pattern, so it’ll even be suitable for knit nights, and watching TV.

This is a rough post because I still don’t have internet connected at my new apartment, so I’m posting from an internet cafe.

My digital camera is, sadly, kaput. So the lovely hand-dyed cashmere lace that I’ve been working on cannot be posted in all it’s glory. Luckily, my scanner still works, and I find scanning is a good way to illustrate swatches, so here are a couple.

The first is a lovely pattern which was used in a lace shrug pattern available on Knitty. I’ve knit the swatch on US #5 needles, using a recycled 100% merino sport weight yarn. I’m not that impressed with the lace pattern (though it is lovely in the shrug design), but I really like the way this yarn behaves in a lace pattern, because the effect it creates is quite meaty, solid and substantial, but it is not so heavy a gauge to be awkward. It may need to become a new project?

I’ve been experimenting with lace patterns, and how they are constructed. I’d like to learn to design my own lace patterns eventually.

This swatch shows the transformations that a lace undergoes with very slight changes to its pattern. The yarn is a magnificent recycled 100% cashmere, and it seems like somewhere between lace weight and fingering. The swatch is knit on US#4 needles. I’ve dyed it from quite an ugly pink (I’m not a huge fan of pink) to a vibrant blue, and the entire skeins that I dyed turned out an even more intense shade than this swatch, which was just a test.

knitting pattern chart for English Mesh LaceSo at the bottom of the swatch is English Mesh Lace, which is a 6 st and 8 row repeat. For the next pattern (in the middle), I elongated the pattern by adding an extra 4 rows, making it a 12-row repeat. For the final pattern (at the top), I went back to english mesh lace, but I ‘padded’ the pattern by adding a single knit stitch between the motifs, so the multiple is 8sts + 1. You get quite a different effect out of each of these changes – the original is kind of like a lattice form, the second more like an elongated check, and the third is much more round and organic quality, and has the effect of openwork flowers in a solid background.

The last little experiment that I did today, while putting off jobhunting, was to try knitting with metal wire – are really fine gauge. It was kind of awkward, but there may be potential for jewellery!