Knitted square netting, a free stitch pattern.

Free stitch pattern: Knit Net

Last weekend I was inhaling Mary Thomas’s  Book of Knitting Patterns. (I was in a rush as I’d borrowed it through Interlibrary Loan and didn’t have it for long. I’ll be buying a copy of my own!) One of the things that struck me was her section on knitted filet lace. Filet lace (also known as lacis) has interested me for a while as being an obvious thing to do with my secret code grids. The example I’ve seen in person was amazing! This is just a subsection of it:

A section of a lacis (filet lace) tablecloth.

Basic filet lace starts with the netted grid; squares are filled in with darning. This has extra embroidery aside from the basic darned netting.

Filet crochet was invented in imitation of netted filet lace and can also be quite beautiful.

Knitted filet lace has mostly been kind of awkward. The filet lace in Mary Thomas’s book really isn’t what I’m looking for (the open squares aren’t really open – they have a horizontal bar through them). Jackie E-S has a method that looks really nice, but I haven’t learned it yet.

I was fiddling around with the Mary Thomas method and came up with this variation on how she made open spaces. My variant actually produces open squares instead of half-squares. I haven’t been able to work out how to knit filled squares that don’t distort the fabric, though. Still, I’m going to share this with you because I think it’s interesting in its own right. The key is to decrease/bind-off stitches before knitting them.


Free stitch pattern: knitted netting.


  • This is a stitch pattern such as might be found in a stitch dictionary. It is not a pattern for a finished object.  Selvedge stitches are, however, included.
  • knit net is a multiple of 3+4 stitches and 2 rows.
  • Designers, please feel free to use this stitch in your patterns.
  • If you like my posts like this, please consider supporting me on Patreon or donating with my Paypal tip jar in the sidebar. Thanks!


In all these descriptions, A is the stitch closest to the needle tip. I named the decreases J, L, and upside-down T because of the shape of the resulting stitches. (As always, it’s possible that someone else invented them separately and also came up with better names for them. Please let me know if so!)

  • J decrease: pass B over A, then knit A.
  • k: knit.
  • L decrease: slip A knitwise, slip B knitwise, pass A over B, knit B.
  • p: purl.
  • Upside-down T: slip A knitwise. Pass C over B. Slip B knitwise. Pass A over B. Knit B.
  • yo: yarnover.

Cast on a multiple of 3 + 1 stitches.

Row 1 (RS): J decrease, yo x 2, *upside-down T, yo x 2 ; work from *, L decrease.
Row 2 (WS): p1, *k1, p2 ; work from *, k1, p2.

Creative Commons License
knitting stitch pattern: knit net by Naomi Parkhurst is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

4 thoughts on “Free stitch pattern: Knit Net”

  1. I love dipping into the Mary Thomas books. Sometimes they are dated in a cringe inducing way, sometimes they include helpful bits that are completely absent from modern books, the section on shaping counterpain motifs was really handy, I’m not sure if that’s in the knitting book or the pattern book.

    Have you seen Needle -made laces and net embroideries by Doris Campbell Preston? Its a similar read. My copy is a Dover press paperback from the 90’s.

  2. Yes, exactly – this is why I’m planning on getting a copy of my own. Her section on lace theory laid out things more clearly than some more modern books I’ve seen (though I wish she could have gone into more detail about the kind of lace that’s got yarn overs on every row).

    I think the counterpane section was in the Pattern book, but I skimmed over that section (the book was returned on Friday, alas).

    Needle-made lace isn’t something I’ve ever considered taking up, even though I am comfortable with a needle. I’ll keep an eye out for that, though – it’s always worth looking at a good quality textile technique book. Sometimes they have bits of information that are relevant for other methods too.

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