Many crocheters consider laceweight yarn the most difficult yarn weight to work with. It’s fine, usually slippery, and is more delicate than heavier weights. However, the resulting ethereal scarves, shawls, garments, and doilies are more than worth a try. And with a few important tips and tricks, laceweight yarn can be just as easy to use as any other weight.
When preparing for your first laceweight crochet project, pay close attention to the makeup of your yarn. A tightly spun yarn such as cotton crochet thread is a good place to start. Good quality cotton thread does not split easily, and its low elasticity makes it easier to tension consistently. My first laceweight project was a doily in #10 cotton thread. Even though I was still learning how to keep my gauge even and work with a tiny hook, the yarn was easy to handle. Another option is to choose a heavier laceweight yarn, such as SweetGeorgia SeaSilk Lace. The fiber content is a little slippery, but its thickness and low elasticity mean it’s a good choice for a first try. My second laceweight project, Stitch Oasis by CJ Brady (Ravelry link), was crocheted in SeaSilk Lace.
Another important consideration is your hook. A hook that is too tapered will allow your stitches to slide too far up the throat, making it difficult to pull through them; this is especially the case with fine yarns. Slick hooks are a challenge to keep tension with, while hooks with more friction might keep your stitches from gliding. Finally, the sharpness of the tip and the head is key if you are working with a yarn that is prone to splitting. Too sharp, and the yarn will split constantly; too dull, and inserting the hook will be a struggle. All these factors are highly personal to each crocheter, so I would suggest swatching with different hook materials and styles to find the type that works best for you and your chosen yarn. My personal go-to hooks for laceweight yarn are made of aluminum with a slightly matte surface and a smooth head and tip.
When it’s time to crochet, work slowly at first. It’s easy to snag the wrong strands when inserting your hook, or skip a stitch since they’re quite small, so take it a little at a time and build up a rhythm.
Finally, tension is your friend. Crochet thread is sturdy and can take rough handling, but when I first started working with softer laceweight yarns, I was always concerned about breaking them. I held my yarn quite loosely, which made it difficult to catch my strand of working yarn and keep my stitches even. Don’t be afraid to keep your working yarn taut in the same way that you would with fingering weight! Most laceweight yarns, particularly those with silk content, are much stronger than they appear.
Now that I have some laceweight projects under my belt, I’m going to challenge myself to swatch Charlotte Lee’s After Midnight Lace shawl, which is included with Charlotte’s Crochet Basics course, with CashSilk Lace. I hope these tips inspire you to try laceweight yarn in your own crochet projects! Like anything else in the world of yarn crafts, there’s a learning curve, but it doesn’t have to be scary. Happy crocheting!