There’s a weight of yarn that divides people like no other – Lace weight. Finer than a sock weight yarn, this thin, fragile yarn is either loved or shunned, in almost equal measure. Lace weight yarn is the thinnest yarn, rated as a 0 on the standard yarn weight system. You will find most patterns tend to be for shawls, and similar accessories because its so lovely to wear and gives amazing drape. Those who have tried lace weight yarn, and persevered, end up becoming lace weight cheerleaders, raving about how much they love this weight, and quietly convincing others that’s its worth trying. So, I wanted to offer some reasons to love lace weight yarns, my favourite blends and a few tips to get you started if you haven’t dipped your toe into lace weights.
Reasons to love lace weight yarn:
- Lace weight yarn offers great value for money. With 800m per 100g (or even 1200m for superfine lace) you have a lot of meterage to make something wonderful, or even several things.
- With so much extra meterage, you can enjoy your projects for longer. This makes it a great choice for a holiday knit or something that you want to last a little longer, as 100g of yarn will take longer to work up so you don’t need to pack as much yarn.
- Finished items with lace weight are dreamy soft and light as air – that makes them really lovely to wear and very warm, without a heavy feeling of chunky knits. My favourite shawl is a lace weight shawl for this reason ( read more about that shawl here )
- Lace weight yarn is usually knit or crocheted loosely, so you don’t need to use tiny needles – a 3 or 4mm needle gives a lovely drapy fabric with lace weight yarn.
- the drape that you get with lace weight yarn is unrivalled by other weights – its worth mastering it just to experience that!
My favourite lace weight yarns tend to be the superwash merino, just because its so soft and easy to wear. The loose spin makes the single ply bouncy and soft which I love. But my decision is slightly skewed by the fact I am severally allergic to alpaca ( yes, I know..ridiculous for a yarn dyer but there you go – I actually thought I was allergic to wool for many years until I discovered merino but that’s a story for another day). However for those of you not allergic to alpaca there are some amazing alpaca silk blends available which are so perfectly suited to soft, drapey lace weight shawls too. I also really love the bamboo and merino blends as the dye is much more muted due to the bamboo, and the yarn has a real halo to it. You can find all the lace weight yarns I currently have available here in the lace weight category
Top tips for using lace weight yarn:
- It is absolutely worth investing in a swift if you use handdyed yarn, but especially for lace weight – 1200m of handwinding is equal to several hours of gym work outs! Make it a more pleasurable experience by using a swift to hold the yarn, and a ball winder to help wind into a ball. If you can only chose one, I would chose a swift – I started out with one very similar to this but any umbrella swift is fine.
- Choose your needles carefully – lace weight stitches tend to be loose and slippy so a needle that grips the yarn a little can help you not to loose too many stitches.
- If you are crocheting with lace weight yarn, try popping a stitch marker on the yarn between the hook and the yarn – this gives a little bit of weight to the yarn and helps with those first few tricky stitches where it feels like you are crocheting into thin air!
- A locking stitch marker, or one with a lobster clasp, like these ones, is often easier than a ring marker, as those can slip under stitches easily.
- When you have finished, blocking will transform your project! Open up those gorgeous stitches and show off your hard work to everyone!
I hope this has convinced you to give lace weight yarn a try – I would love to know if you do, or if you are already a lace weight fan please tell me if there’s something else you love about this very delicate but lovely yarn.