A quick question, if you will?

I am thinking about making another shawl. I am making one now out of worsted weight yarn but I shall be finished soon. My question is (questions are): What do I use for the material that you guys call LACE? I have been using worsted weight yarn so far. What size needle would I use? Can I do anything I want? I like doing cables and panels and all sorts of stuff. Give me some feedback if you will!

P.S. I know that I will get a response from MMario and Aaron.


Marknits's picture

Dear Mr Jones, I've looked

Dear Mr Jones,

I've looked at the lovely shawls you have posted on your blog and I must say "Whoa! nice work Dude!"

I think your question about lace knitting is valid but instead of answering the question, I would ask a few more questions first.

1: Have you seen a shawl pattern in a lace that you like? If you have, then I would follow the pattern instructions for yarn size and for needles since you don't have to be too exact with the guage.

2: If you don't have a pattern you want to do, Have you seen one that is similar to the one you want to do? That is, that is as open as you want, or drapes the way you want it to drape? Then I would try the yarn weight suggested and the needles and swatch up the lace pattern you want to try. I would try a triangular-bottom up shawl like the one with the lovely cables you did... that way if you don't like way it's coming along you can stop when it's "kerchief size" and put an I-cord finish on it to make it a head scarf for some lucky lady.

3: Have you tried your LYS? I can go into mine and say, "This is what I want to make, and this is what I can afford to spend." and they are very good at helping me make the best choices. Of course, yarn will cost more than at other places but you are paying for more than the yarn. YMMV

4: IF you don't have a LYS, you don't have a pattern you're thinking about, and you haven't seen a pattern that is close to what you want but you don't like the lace patterns... THEN- The questions might be:

A) What do you want the shawl to do? is this a warm wrap, an elegant go to the opera shawl or a Never-Will-I-Do-This-Again for your best friend to wear as she walks down the aisle for her wedding shawl?
B) What skills do you have? and what one's do you want to learn?
C) Is there a particular emotional appeal you want from this shawl?- a victorian grandma feel? an art nouveau sensuality? a spanish mantilla mystery?

I don't have a whole lot of answers, but I hope the questions might help.


MMario's picture

Good Questions! and I love

Good Questions! and I love the "never will I do this again" tag.....

Aaronknits's picture

Yeah, what Mario said!

Yeah, what Mario said!

scenter's picture

A rule of thumb that I was

A rule of thumb that I was told a while back is to use needles at least 2 sizes larger than the size recommended for the yarn on the ball band when making lace. Swatching in the pattern is the best way to guage what you like. Some lace patterns look better in a given yarn with a denser fabric, others with an airier fabric.

MMario's picture

A good comprimise between

A good comprimise between the "lace MUST be done on infinitesimal needles with gnat's whisker thin yarn" school of lace and the "chunky yarn knit on telephone poles" school of lace is to use a fingering or sock yarn on needles several sizes larger then you would use for "normal" knitting.

Fingering on size 5mm (us 8) or a bit larger works well.

Once you've done a few projects you may adjust - you may find you like thin yarn on huge needles - you may find you like thicker yarn on humungous needles.. You may be one of the maniacs who use 0000-0000 needles and yarn you need a microscope to see.

A heavier yarn and larger needles will normally be eaiser for you to learn on. Manipulating the thinner yarns is a trick in itself, likewise the smaller needles. Another advantage of starting with the larger yarn and needles is that you can see the construction of the stitches better, thus it helps you learn to "read" your knitting.

teejtc's picture

MMario and Aaron will give

MMario and Aaron will give you a more indepth answer, I'm sure :-) but you can use any size yarn and any size needles for lace - it's the pattern that makes it "lacey." I would say that lace typically uses a larger needle size for the yarn than other types of knitting do. For example, I made a piece a few months ago with sock yarn and a US size 13 needle (usually I use US size 2 or 3 for socks.)

There is a "lace weight" yarn... which is thinner than sock weight. Many people use that for "lace" although you may find that if you're interested in panels and cables you'll want something a little sturdier.

I know that's not much help... in short: it depends on the pattern. :-)

Grace and Peace,

MMario's picture

you can use any size yarn

you can use any size yarn and any size needles for lace


teejtc's picture

Wow... The Dutch people I

Wow... The Dutch people I usually preach to are far more reserved... I don't get "Amen"s very often ;-)

I could get used to that.....

Grace and peace,

MMario's picture

I'm just one of those wild

I'm just one of those wild and crazy Episcopalians