The delicate and intricate art of knitting lacework is loved by knitters both new and seasoned. Lace knitting involves creating patterns with holes or eyelets, forming delicate and ethereal designs. While knitting needles come in various materials, wooden knitting needles have gained popularity among lacework enthusiasts for their unique characteristics that enhance the knitting experience.
In this blog, we will delve into the world of knitting lacework with wooden knitting needles and explore the advantages they offer to crafters.
Getting Started with Lace Knitting
Lace knitting is a captivating form of art that showcases beauty through simplicity. Traditionally, lace patterns were crafted using fine fibers such as silk or linen, but today, knitters can experiment with a wide range of yarns, from soft merino wool to luxurious alpaca blends. Lace patterns often incorporate stitches like yarn-overs, decreases, and twisted stitches, executed with precision to create intricate lace designs.
Choosing Wooden Knitting Needles
Different knitters have different preferences. Some love the glide of stainless steel; some prefer bamboo, acrylic, or any other favored needles. Wooden knitting needles hold a timeless charm that many knitters find appealing. The natural warmth and smooth texture of wood offer a pleasurable knitting experience. Known for their lightweight nature, it makes them easier to handle and control. Additionally, the grip of the material tends to improve with use, as they absorb natural oils from the knitter's hands, enhancing the knitting process over time.
For your knitting needle types, choose ones according to your project requirements or your skill levels. Single-pointed needles are ideal for back-and-forth knitting but it is recommended to work with dishcloths or small projects. Double-pointed needles work for small knit-in-the-round projects such as socks, hats, sleeves, etc. Circular needles are versatile lending themselves for both round and back-and-forth knitting. With interchangeable knitting needle sets you get much better options for a wide variety of projects.
Benefits of Wooden Needles for Lace Knitting
Gentle on Yarn
One significant advantage of using wooden knitting needles for lacework is that they are gentler on delicate yarns. Fine lace yarns, especially those with silk or cashmere content, can be prone to splitting or snagging on metal needles. And, it is not just the fiber but also the weight. Be it a fingering weight yarn or a DK weight yarn, they handle every yarn carefully. Wood offers a smooth and snag-free surface, reducing the risk of damaging the yarn during knitting.
Lace knitting requires high precision, with intricate maneuvers of yarn-overs and decreases. Wooden needles provide more grip than metal needles, reducing the likelihood of accidental slipping and helping maintain the integrity of the delicate lace pattern.
Wooden knitting needles are comfortable, making long knitting sessions more enjoyable. They do not become as cold as metal needles in cooler climates, and the natural texture ensures a pleasant tactile experience, especially for knitters with arthritis or hand fatigue.
Unlike metal needles, wooden needles produce little to no clicking noise while knitting. This feature makes wooden needles ideal for quiet environments, like libraries or shared spaces, where the rhythmic sound of knitting needles can be distracting.
Choosing the Right Wooden Needles
When selecting wooden knitting needles for lacework, consider factors such as needle length, tip shape, and the type of wood. Longer needles are suitable for larger lace projects, while shorter ones are more convenient for small lace accessories. Pointier tips are ideal for intricate stitches, while rounder tips are better for beginner lace knitters. Also, different knitters have different opinions, some prefer the simplicity of single-pointed needles for back-and-forth knitting. Many prefer circular knitting needles whether they knit in the round or back and forth. Many knitters limit the use of double points due to the needle management it requires. Experimenting with different types of wood can also be a fun way to discover which material suits your knitting style best.
Lace Knitting Stitches and Techniques
Lace knitting stitches and techniques create delicate and intricate patterns with holes and eyelets. These stitches give lace knitting its signature airy and elegant appearance. Below are some common lace knitting stitches and techniques:
Yarn Over (YO):
A fundamental lace knitting stitch that creates an eyelet or a hole in the fabric. To perform a yarn over, simply bring the yarn to the front of the work (as if to purl) and then knit the next stitch. The yarn over increases the stitch count, forming an empty space in the fabric.
Knit Two Together (K2tog):
The knit two-together stitch is a common lace decrease that slants to the right. To execute K2tog, insert the needle through the next two stitches to knit them together, then knit them as one stitch. This decrease technique decreases the stitch count while creating a neat diagonal line in the fabric.
The slip, slip, knit is another common lace decrease that slants to the left. To perform SSK, slip the next two stitches knitwise one at a time onto the right-hand needle, then insert the left-hand needle into the front loops of the slipped stitches and knit them together. This creates a left-leaning decrease, complementing the K2tog decrease.
Double Yarn Over (YO2):
A double yarn over, as the name suggests, is similar to a yarn-over but with an additional yarn over, resulting in two eyelets side by side. To make a YO2, bring the yarn to the front, wrap it twice around the needle, then knit the next stitch.
Central Double Decrease (CDD):
The central double decrease reduces three stitches into one, creating a single eyelet. To execute a CDD, insert the right-hand needle into the following two stitches as if to knit them together, then knit the next stitch. Finally, pass the two knitted stitches over the third stitch and off the needle.
Knit Front and Back (KFB):
The knit front and back increase is a simple technique to increase stitches. To KFB, knit into the front loop of the stitch as usual, but before slipping the stitch off the left needle, knit into the back loop of the same stitch. This creates one additional stitch on the right needle.
Slipped Stitch Edges:
Adding slipped stitches to the edges of a lace project can create a neat and defined edge. For example, on the right side of the work, slip the first stitch purlwise with the yarn in the back, then knit the last stitch. On the wrong side, purl the first stitch and slip the last stitch purlwise with the yarn in the front.
Knitting lacework with wooden knitting needles is a fulfilling and rewarding experience. The harmonious marriage between the delicate lace patterns and the natural warmth of wooden tools brings a touch of nostalgia to this ancient craft. Whether you're an experienced lace knitter or a novice eager to explore the world of lacework, wooden knitting needles will surely enhance your knitting journey. So, pick up your favorite yarn, a pair of wooden knitting needles, and let your creativity flow through the delicate stitches of lace knitting!
Enjoy beautiful lacework with premium wooden knitting needles from the Lantern Moon Collection. Handcrafted by skilled artisans, each tool and accessory is fashioned from precious ebony wood that has a liquid silk finish that makes knitting with them smooth and comfortable.