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  • Writer's pictureKat Zimmermann

Fishtail Lace Headband

Updated: Dec 31

A white woman with magenta hair wearing a coral lace headband and rose gold hoop earrings.

Knitting lace is something I've been wanting to try for a while now. With Spring in full swing, now is the perfect time to give it a shot! This headband is a quick way to give knitting lace a try while also making a functional piece to hold your hair back. Bonus: it's extra wide so no one can tell it's been 3 days since you've washed your hair #workfromhomelife.

Q: What do I need for this project?

A: To make this headband, you will need:

  • Lace or fingering yarn (weight 1 or 2 - see notes below)

  • Needles of appropriate size for the yarn you have chosen

  • Snips

  • Tapestry needle

A white woman with magenta hair wearing a coral lace headband. Her hair is put up with double pointed knitting needles.
Everyone puts their hair up with dpns, right?

Q: How long does it take to make?

A: Including sewing, this headband took me a little under 5 hours total. For lighter yarn, I would guess still less than 10 hours total of active knitting time.

Q: How difficult is this pattern?

A: I chose fishtail lace as a beginner lace pattern - it's perfect for those just starting in on lace work. If I had to choose a designation, I would say intermediate overall, but definitely accessible to beginners who are good about counting stitches. Skills required: knit, purl, sk2po, yo.

Q: What size is the final headband?

A: Any size! I've included notes below on how to adjust based on head measurement, accounting for negative ease.


Tips, Notes, & Learnings

A coral lace headband in progress. The headband is worked on two very short interchangeable needles with green silicone nubbins on the ends.

(Yarn & Needles) For the example shown, I used Premier Cotton Fair in Coral (weight 2 yarn). I picked this yarn because it's a cotton-acrylic blend and can safely survive the washing machine. As I noted above in the materials list, you can really use any lightweight yarn to make this headband. Gauge isn't super important because the length is calculated based on head size. Adjusting the weight of the yarn will simply make for a slightly more narrow headband. Use needles of appropriate size for your chosen yarn - for me, this was a US 4, 3.5 mm needle.

A second note - use short needles if you have them. I don't, so I used interchangeable needles and stuck some nubbins on the ends. Not the most elegant solution but very functional!

A white woman with magenta hair wearing a coral lace headband. The view from the back shows the small seam where the headband ends have been stitched together.

(Losing count) This is a great lace pattern that requires some focus. If you're like me, sometimes you lose focus and suddenly, you've got one stitch too many or too few. Oops. Never fear! Address this on the last few stitches of the row.

-->For one stitch too many, simply k2tog, k1 over the last 3 sts.

-->For one stitch too few, kfb (knit front and back), k1 over the last 2 sts. I did this multiple times throughout and, fun fact, it's not noticeable unless you're really looking.

(Infinite Headband) If you're feeling fancy and have the skills, you could absolutely do a provisional cast on at the beginning and then join in the round when you've reached the desired length. This video has an example of this technique.


Fishtail Lace Headband Pattern


CO - cast on

k- knit

p- purl

st - stitch

k2tog - knit 2 together

sk2po - slip, knit 2 (together), pass over - slip the next st knitwise, knit the next 2 sts together, pass the slipped stitch over the k2tog stitch.

yo - yarn over

A closeup of the fishtail lace headband from the top, making the lace pattern visible as a series of Vs created by yarn overs.

Determine Headband Length

To figure out how long to make your headband, first measure around the head of the person who will wear it. If you're not sure, check out this table from the Craft Yarn Council of standard head sizes for reference.

This lace is pretty stretchy and for a headband to stay in place, it needs to be a little bit snug. I've found that an 15-20% negative ease works well for this pattern. To figure out how long to make your headband, take your head size and multiply by 0.8 or 0.85, this gives 80 or 85% of the total size.

For example, my head measured 23 inches, times 0.8 = 18.4 inches OR 23 x 0.85 = 19.5 inches. These are then the measurements I'll aim to be between when working up the headband. I prefer to finish on a row 6, so I worked until I'd finished a set of rows and the length was between 18.4 and 19.5 inches before binding off.

The ends of the headband being sewn together with a tapestry needle . A whip stitch is used.


CO 25 sts

Foundation: k across

R1: k1, [yo, k2, sk2po, k2, yo, k1] 3 times.

R2: p across

R3: k2, [yo, k1, sk2po, k1, yo, k3] twice, yo, k1, sk2po, k1, yo, k2.

R4: p across

R5: k3, [yo, sk2po, yo, k5] twice, yo, sk2po, yo, k3

R6: p across

Repeat rows 1-6 until you reach the desired length (see above).

Bind off, leaving a tail for sewing.

With right sides together, stitch the ends of the headband together. Weave in ends.

A white woman with magenta hair wearing a dress made of white fabric with lemons, a blue glass pendant, and a coral knit headband.

That's all, friends!

I hope you enjoy this week's patterns and share photos of your creations here in the comments and on Instagram!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to the blog by filling out the form at the bottom of the page.

Sneak peak photo: Shirtzie dress pattern from Stitch Upon a Time (spoiler: do recommend).

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