Monday, 29 November 2021

Grafting 2 Sided Lace

This  week it seems like Christmas has come early, finally I know it is possible to graft lace so the pattern is not interrupted because I have done it myself. The reason why I have been able to do this is because Joni Coniglio has written an amazingly detailed article ‘How to Graft Two-Sided Lace Knitting  top to bottom’ in the Winter Issue of Interweave’s Knits magazine. The magazine also contains details for grafting joins in other lace patterns too. (1) 

To me, knitting fine lace is a bit of an addiction but to my eyes it is not perfect when the first thing I notice is the line of the graft, often across a border. Some time ago I came across the early work on this by Joni Coniglio and used her 3 DVDs from Interweave plus written articles  to help me do better lace grafting. My first attempt at this was in the fine lace scarf Hinneywaar, pattern from Unst Heritage Centre,  but I could not do this perfectly as I had not planned for the graft. My graft was better than I had managed before and a vast improvement on a garter stitch or stocking stitch graft. I wrote about this here (2). When I knitted my Burrafirth  scarf I was able to alter the knitting slightly to set myself up for grafting that would be a further improvement. I am aware it is not absolutely perfect. It was tricky as I had 3 different grafts to do across the width of the scarf, one in each border and the garter stitch middle. I have to say even I have to search for the border grafts. Details of these posts are here (3)

But what the article, just published, has done has taught me how to graft double sided lace so that it is perfect! I am glad I have done the other grafting as I understand the system used and for the second current grafting described below I was able to do it just from the border chart used for the knitting, rather than writing out a very long and involved set of codes. The detail in the article is superb, there are very clear stitch diagrams showing the path of the grafting yarn as well as photos of the stages. There is no set of words to chant during grafting  as you in fact create the stitches needed in sequence across the border that make up the lace. It is also a wonderful way to understand what goes on in lace knitting. I know I understand knitting so much better now. 

Some practical things I learnt about the lace grafting this way. 

It does take some time to learn. 

Plan where the graft will be  before you start knitting. Just like in sewing an exquisite item, planning the details of the finish are as important as anything else. 

Practice the grafting with bigger needles and bright wool until you get it right. 

Take photos and make notes of any tricky bits so you can refer to them when you are doing the ‘real’ grafting. 

For the actual grafting I work in daylight under a magnifying lens and make sure that only a real emergency would interrupt me. 

I sit at a large table so I can have everything I need within reach- my samples, diagrams of the stitches if I need reassurance, pencil, rubber, my magnifier lens on a stand. 

Cross off each stitch as you graft it. 

Don’t try it when you are in a rush or have other things on your mind. 

The sample  graft recommended in the article

These are the two pieces to be grafted together. Notice the ‘waste yarn’ and preparation rows. ( I actually decided not to use these as I could not easily see the stitch formed  being this colour and structure. 

Note: in the top section the row white markers show the line of what the graft should look like when completed, the 3 grey loops on the bottom indicate twisted stitches prepared for the graft. 

I then swapped to using a very different yarn with a salmon colour and more rounded structure.

I also knitted what the grafting rows should  look like, ie this is the pattern showing where I will be grafting in a different colour - this was very useful as I could check each stitch group as I completed it

The two rows to be grafted

This is the grafted piece, this includes twisted stitches as well as decreases, yarn overs and  there is pattern in the rows on both sides.

Graft with preparation rows still in place

Graft  complete

The graft I did ‘on my own’ (4)

This is the graft using what I have learnt from studying Joni’s method. I am very pleased with this, especially as I felt I had learnt the method well enough to ‘do it myself’ without any guidance or instructions  given. It is a mental challenge and one that solves the problem I have with grafting. I now love grafting because the result is so brilliant. 

Trial pieces grafted together 

Note the threads on the left show the line of the graft, this was lace patterned on one row 

The graft showing up in a different colour

Note I found this so useful the first time that I did this sample again

The completed graft 

Worked in fine lace in an actual pattern that did also involve knitting on the border to the centre.

Note : The actual piece with the graft in the border, actually knitted in hand spun naturally dyed alpaca. (5)

The graft in the completed piece. This is taken from a pattern by Elizabeth Williamson that I used to try this particular grafting.   (6) 

I hope you are encouraged  to try this and to raise your fine lace knitting to new heights. 

Joni has published a blog post where she has included very clear instructions and photos to show how to do a simpler graft than the one in the article i have mentioned here. It is very helpful and well worth a read and having a go. You will find it here:


  1. I have no financial benefit in writing this, I  do not know of anyone else who has ‘cracked ‘ how to do this so well. This copy of Knits is available as a digital download from Interweave for $8.99 or £6.74 (as I write this) 
  2. The photos and detail of this are on posts from 26July 20 and 3 Aug20
  3. Details of grafting in the Burrafirth scarf, also a design  by Hazel Laurenson for Unst Heritage Centre are in posts of 30 Sept 20 and 6 June 21
  4. I say ‘on my own’ but obviously this is not the case. I mean I have worked out the place to do the graft, the foundation rows and the sequencing myself
  5. I do a lot of natural dyeing, this was the first time I dyed alpaca. Dyeing alpaca is very different to dyeing wool! 
  6. This pattern is from Shetland ‘born and bred’ Elizabeth Williamson who can be found on Instagram as Elizabethwilliamsonknitting and who has some amazing patterns for sale in Ravelry (as same name as iG). As I mention earlier I have knitted her Fladda shawl which I have  described here, having attended a series of workshops with Elizabeth locally over the summer.  (Details and photos of my Fladda can be seen on 14 Sept 21) 

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