Fishtail Lace Headband
Updated: Jul 6, 2021
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
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
(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!
(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
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
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.
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.
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!
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Sneak peak photo: Shirtzie dress pattern from Stitch Upon a Time (spoiler: do recommend).