Tuesday, May 1

Lace knitting without a lace carriage

I've been planning to try lace out on my chunky machine for a while, and tonight I got the chance. Thought I would document the technique so that others may benefit. NB this only works on machines that preselect needles before pattern ie Brother. Sorry Empisal/Silver Reed/Knitmaster folk!

Firstly, why would you want or need to do this? Firstly, the lace carriage was often sold as an optional extra, so not everybody has one. Secondly, on certain machines it was an engineering impossibility. The lace carriage works by bending two needles together, and transferring the nearest stitch onto the furthest needle. Bulky/chunky and mid-gauge machines have needles that are, well, just far too beefy for such a carriage!

Lace on a chunky machine looks really good too.


  1. Knit to point in garment where you wish to start lace. Insert lace punchcard/mylar and set on row 1, locked.
  2. Set carriage to KC (this selects needles forward) and both part/slip buttons in. K one row - the machine actually does a free pass, but needles are selected forwards.
  3. Release punchcard, and using a transfer tool, transfer the selected needles to the left or right as indicated on the punchcard. Keep the empty needles in working position.
  4. "K" another row - further needles are selected, transfer these in the indicated direction. Keep the empty needles in working position.
  5. Repeat step 4 until the back-and-forth arrow comes up - this indicates some actual knitting is required!
  6. Lock the pattern card or mylar, release both part buttons, and knit 2 rows, or whichever amount is indicated.
  7. Put both part buttons on, release pattern card.
  8. Repeat steps 4 to 7 ad infinitum.
OK, so it's not as automated as proper lace carriage knitting. But, I think the extra work is worthwhile, don't you?

Video here

Note: Never set a lace card to double length - you can't have double length holes!


Liz said...

Hi there---are we able to use lace punchcards made for Silver Reed 24 stitch machines with this method on the Brother 260 Knitting machine. Thanks for your Tutorial!!


Liz Roberts said...

I found the article very interesting, thank you.

Which lace punchcards can I use on my Brother260?

Liz (R)

steel breeze said...

You can use any Brother lace card with this method - the sky's the limit! :)