Yesterday, I posted about designing a lace triangle using inserts. Today I’m going to talk about all over lace, such as the lace used in Arabella. Keep in mind that these are partial explanations, and that I will try to continue to add to this series as people make specific requests (or I remember something I left out, like cast on advice, etc.) so if there’s something you’d really like to know about how I design a lace triangle, email or comment and I’ll try to answer as best I can.

There are a lot of gorgeous all over lace patterns out there that do not work well in the basic framework we laid out yesterday of a shawl with increases on the right side. The simplest way to make an all over lace that I’ve found is to use the yarn overs at the edges as a guide.

These yarn overs are static for the type of shawl we’re making. You need them at the edges to create your triangle, and they give you some simple rules. You’re not going to want to put another yarn over next to them, for instance. And you can use them to create an all over lace.

Below is a blank for an all over lace. We’re using the angle of the increases at the edges to play around with the structure.

As you probably noticed, I took out some of the yarn overs. A single yarn over where the two “lines” meet would change your stitch count. It would have to be paired with a single decrease, and that would mess up the symmetry of your lace. You can space the lines of yarn overs closer together or farther apart for a larger or smaller lace pattern. This is just a basic template, but you can do a lot of different things with it.

At this point, you can fill in the lace blank with anything you want, provided you match each increase, including those already shown here, to a decrease. I filled it in simply, and without planning a particular look, below.

Note that I can’t just repeat the bottom half of each diamond shape up at the top, unless I add more increases. Each of the yarn overs we already had in place needs only ONE matching decrease, and repeating the decreases will mean that the number of stitches shrinks as we get to the top of the diamonds. Since the pattern is tiled, we have to look at the diamond shapes not as individual shapes, but as part of a whole.

Now, let’s see how the above chart would work in our shawl blank. This is a little trickier than the lace inserts, and will require some decision making. We’re working with the restrictions of the edge yarn overs, which are increases to the overall triangle shape, so we DO NOT want to match them with decreases. We’re lining our stitch pattern yarn overs up with the edge yarn overs, but we are eliminating the matching decreases on the edge sides at the same time.

This is easier to demonstrate on a chart for the pattern repeat, rather than the set up. Click through for a larger image.

We’re using the yarn overs at the edges to guide the shapes, but we also have to eliminate the decreases that match the edge yarn overs in order to keep the shape even. Note that this includes changing a double decrease to a single decrease.

Below is the portion of chart that will be repeated across the row. If we tiled this piece, it would not match our original rectangular lace chart, but the shawl shaping will naturally shift the 12 stitch by 12 stitch piece six stitches to the right on each pattern repeat. We have twelve rows per pattern repeat, which means six increases on either side of each body panel, since we’re increasing on the right side rows. Adding these six stitches shifts the pattern repeats over by six stitches, to tile it like in our original graph.

Really, this is all a giant math problem. You’re maintaining a steady increase rate to create an angle while trying to line up and maintain a stitch count within the shape. Every increase that is not contributing to the slant of the edge needs a matching decrease to keep to the math.

Because our edge increases are automatically shifting the repeat to the right, the repeat is half as tall as the repeat you’d need to use for a rectangular lace stole. Here’s the same lace as it would appear on the chart for a rectangular scarf or stole.

I hope this is helpful! The next time I return to this tutorial, we’ll move backward for a moment to talk about casting on for a lace triangle.

I followed you completely until the shifting 6 sts to the right bit. I never knew how you know where the repeat should be. Could you go into a little more detail on that for me? Thanks tons.

Karen

Hi, Karen! I’ll edit the post in a moment and add this, because it’s a very good question. The answer is in the edge stitches again. We have twelve rows per pattern repeat, which means six increases on either side of each body panel, since we’re increasing on the right side rows. Adding these six stitches shifts the pattern repeats over by six stitches, to tile it like in our original graph.

Thanks so much! I am making my second shawl from the Evelyn Clark book on Knitting triangles, but this makes a lot of sense as well – always like to know the “science” behind what I’m doing…will you talk about edgings at some point – that’s the part I’d like to know more about. Shawls I’ve done in the past have knitted on “sideways” edgings – but have lately done more with edgings that evolve from the main part of the knitting – like Haruni, or the Evelyn Clark designs. I’d like to be able to make my own and feel a bit at sea.

thanks for the peek into the design process…

this is fabulous. i’m thrilled to have found it! i took a lace charting class at my lys, but i realized a piece of the puzzle was missing. incorporating the edge increases and reducing double decreases to singles when necessary occured to me today, and then – poof! i found your excellent article. Thank you!