Sometimes I like to try exercises in knitting stitch design as a way of exploring the possibilities. These are what I call my études, named after the formulaic exercises used when practicing classical music. I’m not always satisfied with the results, but I think it’s worth doing them. Further, I think it’s worth sharing the results publicly because it helps show that the process of stitch design isn’t effortless. I can’t learn new things if I’m not willing to make mistakes or have things come out in a way I don’t care for. And I think it’s worth sharing that process to give others the nerve to take risks and learn from them.
Anyway. This time I wanted to try adding in some extra plain rows in an existing lace design to see how the stitch pattern was affected. That is, I took an ordinary lace pattern that had one row with yarnovers and the next row plain, and changed it to one where there was one row with yarnovers followed by three plain rows.
I decided to try doing this with the most recent stitch pattern published on my blog: Rain.
I expected that the fabric would become less delicate—though not only because I used thicker yarn—and that the pattern would look stretched out, but otherwise I wasn’t sure what to expect.
As you can see, I was correct about the change in delicacy and also about the elongation of the pattern. The basic structure remains the same. The leaf shapes are more elongated and less like something out of Art Nouveau. Something I didn’t expect was the way some of the the double decreases suddenly became more abrupt than I like. They make little bumps in the decrease lines. If I weren’t concerned about keeping the pattern as a secret code, I might solve this by decreasing one stitch in the YO row, and the next stitch in the next row. (This would make for variable stitch counts, which is what would mess up the code.) Something else that came to mind is that in some of the lace I’ve tried making, I’ve wanted to incorporate little cables in spots where there wasn’t enough vertical space. Inserting an extra row in those places could help, if I weren’t making a coded stitch.
(Yes, I didn’t do a full three-by-three repeat swatch, but I didn’t figure there would be any major surprises since I already knew the structure from Rain.)
Anyway, I’m not sure I’ll use this method in future stitch pattern design, but if I do, I’ll probably have to tweak it.
- Stitch pattern repeats over 12+1 stitches and 16 rows.
- I worked the stitch pattern so it is offset halfway on every other repeat; the horizontal boundary in the chart shows where this happens. The pattern might also look nice without the offset: try repeating just rows 1-16.
- CDD: centered double decrease: slip the next 2 stitches as if to knit 2 together, knit the next stitch, then pass the 2 slipped stitches over the third.
- DSD: double slip decrease: ssk, slip the resulting stitch back to the left needle, pass the next stitch over, then slip the result. (Right-leaning double decrease. Substitute k3tog if desired; they are similar but don’t look quite the same.)
- k: knit.
- k2tog: knit 2 stitches together as if they were 1. (Right-leaning decrease)
- k3tog: knit 3 stitches together as if they were 1. (Right-leaning double decrease)
- p: purl.
- sk2p: slip 1 stitch knitwise, knit the next 2 stitches together, then pass the slipped stitch over the newest stitch. (Left-leaning double decrease.)
- ssk: slip each of the next 2 stitches as if to knit, then knit them together through the back loop. (Left-leaning decrease)
- sssk: slip each of the next 3 stitches as if to knit, then knit them together through the back loop. (Left-leaning double decrease)
- yo: yarn over.
Row 1 (RS): knit.
Row 2 (WS): purl.
Row 3: k3, cdd, yo x 2, *k1, yo x 2, cdd, k5, cdd, yo x 2 ; work from *, k1, yo x 2, cdd, k3.
Row 4: p3, k1, p3, *k1, p8, k1, p2 ; work from *, k1, p5.
Row 5: knit.
Row 6: purl.
Row 7: k1, DSD, yo, k2, yo, *k1, yo, k2, yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, k1, DSD, yo, k2, yo ; work from *, k1, yo, k2, yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, k1.
Row 8: purl.
Row 9: knit.
Row 10: purl.
Row 11: k2tog, yo, k3tog, yo x 2, k1, *k2, yo x 2, sssk, yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, yo, k3tog, yo x 2, k1 ; work from *, k2, yo x 2, sssk, yo, ssk.
Row 12: p3, k1, p3, *p1, k1, p6, k1, p3 ; work from *, p1, k1, p4.
Row 13: knit.
Row 14: purl.
Row 15: k2, ssk, yo, k2, *k3, yo, k2tog, k3, ssk, yo, k2 ; work from *, k3, yo, k2tog, k2.
Row 16: purl.
Row 17: knit.
Row 18: purl.
Row 19: k1, yo x 2, cdd, k2, *k3, cdd, yo x 2, k1, yo x 2, cdd, k2 ; work from *, k3, cdd, yo x 2, k1.
Row 20: p1, k1, p5, *p3, k1, p2, k1, p5 ; work from *, p3, k1, p2.
Row 21: knit.
Row 22: purl.
Row 23: k1, yo, k2, yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, *k1, DSD, yo, k2, yo, k1, yo, k2, yo, sl1, k2tog, psso ; work from *, k1, DSD, yo, k2, yo, k1.
Row 24: purl.
Row 25: knit.
Row 26: purl.
Row 27: k2, yo x 2, sssk, yo, *sl1, k2tog, psso, yo, k3tog, yo x 2, k3, yo x 2, sssk, yo ; work from *, sl1, k2tog, psso, yo, k3tog, yo x 2, k2.
Row 28: p2, k1, p4, *p2, (k1, p4) x 2 ; work from *, p2, k1, p3.
Row 29: knit.
Row 30: purl.
Row 31: k3, yo, k2tog, k1, *k2, ssk, yo, k5, yo, k2tog, k1 ; work from *, k2, ssk, yo, k3.
Row 32: purl.
Designers, please feel free to use this stitch in your patterns. I’d like credit but won’t be offended if people don’t give it. Thanks! – Naomi Parkhurst
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