My mom used to crochet the most beautiful lace doilies and tablecloths! I love the pieces I have that she made, but crochet with a tiny hook and thread isn’t something that I enjoy. I was fascinated to discover that it was indeed possible to knit lace doilies.
The pattern I used for this one is the Firefly Table Mat from Lace One-Skein Wonders. The One-Skein Wonders book series is a favorite of mine, and frequently my go-to for small projects. You can purchase just this pattern individually, but I’d suggest springing for the book since there are 101 patterns in it! The pattern calls for sport weight yarn, but I went with fingering and just used the needle size that I thought fit the yarn. Since this is a doily, I wasn’t worried about gauge because I didn’t mind if it turned out a different size than listed in the pattern. Unfortunately, I have no idea which yarn I used for this project because the label was missing.
The real magic of knitting lace comes when you block the finished piece! The pre-blocking knitting doesn’t look much like the gorgeous picture on the pattern. A little soak, a lot of pinning, and some time to dry, and presto! The lace opens up and looks so much better!
Honestly, I didn’t do any blocking until I started knitting lace patterns. It’s amazing the difference it can make on non-lace patterns too though! I still don’t block things like socks, mittens, and dishcloths, but sweaters and shawls absolutely benefit from a good blocking whether or not they include a lace pattern. My in-laws gifted me a set of interlocking foam blocking mats for my birthday one year, and they are fantastic! You could also use the interlocking foam floor mats, but the grid pattern printed on the blocking mats is helpful.
If you’ve never tried knitting lace, then the Firefly Table Mat is a great first project to try. It’s small, the pattern is not overly complicated, and it doesn’t use lace weight yarn. All of those make it a good beginner lace project. If you decide to try it out, let me know what you think!