Unicorn: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

This month, the random number generator chose the word Unicorn, suggested by Katherine and Ange on Patreon. I went through a unicorn obsession in my early teens, so it gave me pleasure to see this word come up. I like the lace, too.

Each month, my Patreon backers have the chance to suggest words for me to encode as knitting stitches. A random number generator helps me choose the word of the month, and then I get to work, first turning the letters into numbers, then charting the numbers onto grids in various ways. Finally, when I make the chart into lace, I turn the marked squares into yarnovers and work out where to place the corresponding decreases. (I usually make lace; occasionally I make cables instead.) I also make a chart for any craft that uses a square grid for designing; this goes in a separate post.

Four more dollars a month will fund me enough to make two such patterns each month. Won’t you subscribe? Woohoo! We got there! Two words a month, coming up! (You’re welcome to subscribe anyway, of course. 😉)

Unicorn: a free lace knitting pattern by Naomi Parkhurst

Unicorn: a free lace knitting stitch by Naomi Parkhurst

Notes:

  • This is a stitch pattern such as might be found in a stitch dictionary. This is not a pattern for a finished object. You will need to add selvedges or some other form of knitted stitches to either side.
  • This chart works to make a simpler pattern and an offset pattern. The simpler pattern uses rows 1-10, and is repeated twice in the swatch, followed by rows 1-20. Then I worked rows 1-10 once more.
  • The repeats in the charts and the text don’t quite match. (The double YOs complicate writing the repeats logically in the text.)
  • Unicorn is a multiple of 20+20 stitches and 20 rows.
  • I’ve made a stitch map for it.
  • Designers, please feel free to use it in your patterns. I’d like credit but won’t be offended if people don’t give it.
  • If you like my posts like this, please consider supporting me on Patreon or donating with my Paypal tip jar in the sidebar. Thanks!

Abbreviations:

  • 1/1 RC: Slip next stitch to cable needle and place at back of work, knit 1, then knit 1 from cable needle.
  • 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 knit 3 together 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)
  • p: purl.
  • sk2p: slip 1, k2tog, pass slipped stitch over. (Left-leaning double decrease.)
  • yo: yarnover.

Row 1 (RS): k1, (k2tog, yo, k2) x 2, 1/1 RC, *(k2, yo, ssk) x 2, (k2, k2tog, yo) x 2, k2, 1/1 RC; work from *, (k2, yo, ssk) x 2, k1. [40 sts]
Row 2 (WS): purl.
Row 3: yo, k2tog, k1, DSD, (yo, k1) x 2, k2tog, yo x 2, *ssk, (k1, yo) x 2, sk2p, k1, ssk, yo x 2, k2tog, k1, DSD, (yo, k1) x 2, k2tog, yo x 2; work from *, ssk, (k1, yo) x 2, sk2p, k1, ssk, yo.
Row 4: p9, *[(k1, p1) in double yo, p8] x 2; work from *, (k1, p1) in double yo, p9.
Row 5: k1, DSD, yo, k2, yo, k1, k2tog, k1, yo x 2, *k1, ssk, k1, yo, k2, yo, sk2p, k2, DSD, yo, k2, yo, k1, k2tog, k1, yo x 2; work from *, k1, ssk, k1, yo, k2, yo, sk2p, k1.
Row 6: p9, *(k1, p1) in double yo, p18; work from *, (k1, p1) in double yo, p9.
Row 7: yo, cdd, k2tog, yo x 2, k1, k2tog, k1, yo, k1, *k1, yo, k1, ssk, k1, yo x 2, ssk, cdd, yo x 2, cdd, k2tog, yo x 2, k1, k2tog, k1, yo, k1; work from *, k1, yo, k1, ssk, k1, yo x 2, ssk, cdd, yo.
Row 8: p3, (k1, p1) in double yo, p5, *p5, [(k1, p1) in double yo, p2] x 2, (k1, p1) in double yo, p5; work from *, p5, (k1, p1) in double yo, p3.
Row 9: k6, k2tog, yo, k2, *k2, yo, ssk, k12, k2tog, yo, k2; work from *, k2, yo, ssk, k6.
Row 10: purl.
Row 11: k3, yo, ssk, k2, yo, ssk, k1, *k1, (k2tog, yo, k2) x 2, 1/1 RC, (k2, yo, ssk) x 2, k1; work from *, k1, k2tog, yo, k2, k2tog, yo, k3.
Row 12: purl.
Row 13: yo, ssk, (k1, yo) x 2, sk2p, k1, ssk, yo x 2, *k2tog, k1, DSD, (yo, k1) x 2, k2tog, yo x 2, ssk, (k1, yo) x 2, sk2p, k1, ssk, yo x 2; work from *, k2tog, k1, DSD, (yo, k1) x 2, k2tog, yo.
Row 14: p9, *[(k1, p1) in double yo, p8] x 2; work from *, (k1, p1) in double yo, p9.
Row 15: yo, k1, ssk, k1, yo, k2, yo, sk2p, k1, *k1, DSD, yo, k2, yo, k1, k2tog, k1, yo x 2, k1, ssk, k1, yo, k2, yo, sk2p, k1; work from *, k1, DSD, yo, k2, yo, k1, k2tog, k1, yo.
Row 16: p10, *p9, (k1, p1) in double yo, p9; work from *, p10.
Row 17: k1, yo, k1, ssk, k1, yo x 2, ssk, cdd, yo x 2, *cdd, k2tog, yo x 2, k1, k2tog, k1, yo, k2, yo, k1, ssk, k1, yo x 2, ssk, cdd, yo x 2; work from *, cdd, k2tog, yo x 2, k1, k2tog, k1, yo, k1.
Row 18: p5, (k1, p1) in double yo, p2, *(k1, p1) in double yo, p2, (k1, p1) in double yo, p10, (k1, p1) in double yo, p2; work from *, (k1, p1) in double yo, p2, (k1, p1) in double yo, p5.
Row 19: k2, yo, ssk, k6, *k6, k2tog, yo, k4, yo, ssk, k6; work from *, k6, k2tog, yo, k2.
Row 20: purl.

Encoding explanation for the curious:

The first thing I did was to turn the letters of unicorn into numbers, using base 6: 33 22 13 03 23 30 22. (I picked base 6 because I liked the resulting charts.)

Then I charted them in various ways, and picked this one:

unicorn code processHere’s how I charted it, using my method 4. I start in the bottom right corner and work from right to left since knitting goes from right to left. (This is arbitrary, really, but I like to be consistent.)

The first digit of unicorn is 3, so I count three squares. Then I fill the next square with black to show that I counted 3 for the first digit. The second digit is also 3, so I count 3 squares, and mark the next. The fourth digit is 2, so I count 2 squares, and… oops! No more room on this row. However, I jump up to the right end of the next row and mark the next available square with black. The fourth digit is also 2, so I count two squares and mark the next. And so on and so forth. The blank squares in the upper left don’t matter for the code, since there’s not a black square at the end to indicate that they’ve been counted.

unicorn code process 2

Once I marked out these grids, I mirrored them along the vertical axis. Then I added plain wrong side rows, replaced each black square with a yarnover, and spent a lot of time swatching to figure out where I wanted to place the decreases required to make a standard rectangular stitch pattern from the charts. Finally, I added a second repeat above the first and offset it halfway.

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