Gentlemen, I am taking a 2-day lace class (this Saturday and next) in Berkeley at the Lacis Museum. We will be knitting a mini-shetland shawl and it is suggested we bring a smooth yarn of either fingering or lace weight. For fingering weight they suggest needle size 3-6, for lace weight they suggest needle size 3-6. Can anyone make a suggestion (based on experience) about which I should choose-and the appropriate needle? While you're at it - wool? silk? alpaca? etc...




If you're doing a sampler piece, and it sounds like you are, I'd use a 4 or 5 sized needle and fingering weight. I'm teaching a lace class tomorrow and I provide the yarn and needles to my students. I give them Sport weight 100% Virgin Wally World Acrylic yarn and US size 6 needles. I want them to SEE the stitches and the construction of the patterns.

So, get yourself some plastic yarn or at least a blend of something for this. After you've gotten the hang of the thing, you can move on to 'nicer' fibre. Actually, cotton is wonderful to make lace with and really C H E A P ! ! !


~Mike in Tampa
Yahoo Id: stickywarp2001

Imagination is Everything.
It is the preview of Life's coming attractions.

Thanks, Mike! I wish I were in Tampa, I'd take YOUR class. I haven't bought the needles yet (I'll buy them at class, but I bought some fingering weight yarn this afternoon). I like your idea of using a larger needle at first, so I can see what I'm doing. A friend bought me a digital camera. I'll take a picture (however it turns out) when I'm finished.

MMario's picture

looking forward to seeing your results. I find lace even more addictive then just knitting - and that's pretty bad!


MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

MMario's picture

I'll second mike's reccomendations.

After you see how the lace construction goes - *then* is the time to start playing with different yarns, different size needles and personalising the lace.

I like Moose lace myself (I tend to use size 8 to 10 with lace weight yarns) but others would knit the same yarn on 3's or even 0's.


MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

Thank you, MMario. What is Moose lace? Just bigger holes (no cracks!)?

MMario's picture

"moose lace" is a term I picked up somewhere - it was being used in a derogatory manner - but I really didn't care. "moose Lace" as I define it is either:

a) lace knit in heavier yarns (such as sport or worsted weights) with appropriatly sized needles (which can be quite large!)

b) lace knit with the lighter weight yarns but with a larger needle size -- I use US 8's , and 10.5's where many people would use 5's, 4's, 3's or smaller.

MMario - I don't live in the 21st Century - but I sometimes play a character who does.

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

MMario, you were so thoughtful with your response and suggestions I just wanted to update you on my lace knitting class.

The first Saturday was very difficult. The teacher was lovely and helpful. She first started by showing us how to cast on with dpns. From what she said I actually did quite well. I wanted to poke out my eyes with the needles. When she told us we could switch to circular needles I felt more confident. We went home with our assignment for the following Saturday.

On Monday I dropped a table leg on my left index finger and it pretty much stopped working. That took care of any knitting for the next two weeks (typing, too).

I'm going to make a private appointment to see her. Thanks for your support!


MMario's picture

OUCH! Hope the finger injury doesn't have any lasting effects.

I can sympathize with the wanting to poke eyes out with the DPN's -- that first time is a b*gger. (Later on you will probably figure out ways to cheat - almost everyone has a favorite means)

Good luck on the lessons!

MMario - I don't live in the 21st Century - but I sometimes play a character who does.

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

Tallguy's picture

Well, lace is nicest with animal fibres, of course, but I have knit it with cotton, and that works well, but not the same. I don't think using acrylic would be a good choice, but that is some of my bias showing through, as well as some past experience with students bringing inappropriate yarn to a class, and then not being able to do a lot of the things required and really slowing down progress of the WHOLE class! Not a good thing. Bring a selection of yarns.

Go through your stash and find some fine smooth yarn. I don't know what fingering or sport is, but you do want to be able to see the stitches when you have to manipulate them. This will depend on your age and eyesight! LOL Usually, I like a dishcloth cotton for doing samples at home, but it may not be appropriate for a class.

Take all the sizes of needles requested; you never know which one you will need! Oh, hell, take your whole toolbox!

Thanks, Tallguy. I bought a small skein of fingering weight yarn this afternoon. I'll buy the needles tomorrow at class. My eysight is great (it's a wonder what bifocals will do:))

Over Christmas I did a few doily-style washcloths with cotton which is how I became interested in learning lace and would have brought that, but the teacher suggested wool, so that's what I bought.

My toolbox isn't that big yet (but it's getting bigger!), so I'll just cart it along. Great suggestion. Thanks, again.

Tallguy's picture

It appears you don't accept emails, or replies to emails. Odd.

It was odd that she started you on dp needles right at first.. and then allowed you to use circs. Not the way I would do it, but that is me!

Will you be doing the lace work in the round? Hmm--- interesting approach she has to her classes!

There are a lot of easier ways to learn it, but we do what we have to do, I s'pose.