When I was a beginner and I first saw lace, it looked impossible. More experienced knitters (trying to encourage me) told me, No, it’s simple! Just use stitch markers, follow the chart, and you’ll never make a mistake.
As I became a more experienced knitter myself, I learned, like most things in life, the truth was somewhere in between”with one important exception. Although lace is neither impossible nor simple, no matter how good you get, no matter how many stitch markers you use, no matter how careful you are, there’s no such thing as you’ll never make a mistake. Once I learned how simple it could be to fix the most common lace mistakes, I no longer lived in fear of making them.
Some fixes in lace involve dropping stitches and using additional tools, and some even feel like major surgery. We will be looking at these more involved repairs in future articles. But today, let’s look at the most widespread mistake; you might call it the common cold of lace: the missing yarn over.
Some people refer to the purl row in lace as the resting row. I say, there’s no rest for the wicked or the lace knitter. The purl row is your chance to check your stitch repeats and see how your lace pattern is lining up. In the first photo, I’ve purled across a lace repeat and found a missing yarn over. 1. Insert the tip of the left needle from front to back into the running bar to create the missing yarn over. Purl the lifted bar, and you are back on track. It’s like doing a Make 1 (M1) without twisting the stitch.
Sometimes a missing yarn over is easier to see on the knit side. If you’ve already completed your purl row, and you didn’t notice you were missing a yarn over, don’t worry; it’s still an easy fix.
1. By purling into the leading leg of the stitch (the leg that’s closest to the tip of the needle), we create our yarn over!
2. Knit to the point where the yarn over should be. Pull your needles apart until you can see the two running threads of the last two rows: the knit row where the yarn over should be, and the purl row.
2. You should have a yarn over on either side of that center stitch!
3. Insert the tip of the left needle, from front to back, under both running bars to pick them up. The yarn-over row (the lower running bar) will be the one farthest from the tip of the needle.
3. You might need to give the needle a little wiggle to free up enough yarn for your missing yarn over.
4. With the tip of your right needle, take the yarn-over running thread (the one farthest from the tip of the left needle) and lift it up and over the purl row running thread. The yarn over from two rows ago is now complete, and you can continue on your knit row.
4. By lifting the first running thread (the missing yarn over) up and over the second, you are both creating the yarn over and purling it!
Lace, like life, can be challenging. But also like life, you don’t need to worry about making a few mistakes. With a little practice you can become a pro at fixing mistakes without ripping out your work. Try it and make something beautiful!
Simple Fixes in Lace Photo Gallery