More hexagon mesh explorations

One of my very favorite things about the online knitting community is the way that one person will write about a technique or an idea, and that will inspire someone else to try a variation, and so on.

This back-and-forth brainstorming has been happening lately with hex mesh, bunny ears decreases, and combinations thereof.

Sequence of events: several years ago, I unvented the bunny ears decrease and figured I couldn’t have been the first to come up with it. Indeed, that was the case. Details in this post. Later, Denise Plourde came up with a way to not use (k1,p1) to work a double yo, instead using a (p1, yo, p1) and a bunny ears decrease and posted about it on Ravelry and on Stitch Maps. I’ve been playing with that for the last couple of weeks – last week I posted a hexagonal mesh based on a six row repeat using that technique. And then StitcherUniverse posted on my Ravelry group that he had come up with a way to use a variant of bunny ears to make that a four row repeat.

I had to try it out, plus I wanted to see what would happen with another hex mesh from this post.

Honeycomb mesh

The trick that StitcherUniverse figured out for the Niebling mesh involves turning the bunny ears decrease into a 5-to-2 stitch decrease instead of a 3-to-2 stitch decrease. The goal with either of these is to knit two decreases. The middle stitch of the original set is knit together with the stitches to either side, so the back stitch doesn’t lean to left or right.

I knit two swatchlets: one for the original honeycomb mesh (swatch shown on left) and one for the bunny eared version (on the right). I just realized the yarn tail crept into the photos. I hope it won’t be too much of a distraction!

One interesting thing I discovered before blocking (I’m afraid I didn’t take a photo) is that the bunny ears version was already visibly good hexagons; it didn’t take as much blocking, and looked as if the stitch pattern would hold a block well as a result. The one on the right has three horizontal bars between cells; the one on the left has two, but the bottom one is made of the other two bars twisted together by the shift between the knit and the purl.

My version looks somewhat different from StitcherUniverse’s, but that’s all down to gauge and yarn. I knit my lace at a fairly tight gauge, and I used wool. StitcherUniverse used crochet cotton.

I like both in different ways. I am personally not bothered by the (k1, p1) version, though the bunny-eared version may be preferable for the mirror-symmetry-minded. They both have good hexagons. The bunny-eared version is more time-consuming for me and might use a smidge more yarn.

I hadn’t figured out the chart for this when I put this post up; here it is. The basic modifications from the original hex mesh are these:

  • Instead of working (k1, p1) in the wrong side of each double yo, work (p1, yo, p1).
  • Where the regular honeycomb stitch pattern has (ssk, k2tog) on right side rows, there’s now 5 stitches to turn into 2 because of the extra yo. Work this 5-to-2 decrease to account for it: slip 2 stitches knitwise. Knit the third (the yo from the previous row), but don’t remove it from the left needle. Pass the 2 stitches over the new stitch on the right needle. Knit 3 together (the yo from the previous row and the next 2 stitches beyond it) and remove from left needle. Two stitches have been made from five.

Bunny eared hex mesh

My notes for the stitch pattern on the left (#6 on that page) say it’s a variant on a traditional Shetland mesh, but I neglected to cite my source for that. (I’m a little irked about that.) My original variant is on the left, the bunny eared variant is on the right.

My memory was that the stitch pattern on the left made clearer hexagons than I’m seeing here, and I suppose that depends on the yarn or the gauge? Hm, this older swatch I did seems better.

Well, in any case, the one on the left is fussier than the honeycomb above because the increases are all on the right side, but the decreases are on the wrong side. The bunny-eared version has the 3-to-2 decrease rather than the 5-to-2 one from above. I like them both in different ways. But I suspect I won’t ever use anything but the original honeycomb in a design. (Never say never, though.) I do prefer the pyop/bunny ears method for double YOs in some locations, mind you.

bunny-eared mesh

Notes:

  • This is a stitch pattern such as might be found in a stitch dictionary. It is not a pattern for a finished object. You will need to add selvedges or some other form of knitted stitches to either side.
  • The swatch for this is on the right side of the photo above.
  • Bunny eared hex mesh needs a cast on that is a multiple of 5 + 4 stitches. The number of stitches varies from row to row It has a 4 row repeat.
  • I’ve made a stitch map for it.
  • 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.
  • 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:

  • bunny ears back: slip 1 stitch as if to knit. Knit the next stitch without removing it from the left needle. Pass the slipped stitch over the new stitch on the right needle. K2tog. (Turns 3 stitches into 2.)
  • k: knit.
  • p: purl.
  • p2tog: purl 2 stitches together as if they were 1. (Right-leaning decrease)
  • ssp: slip each of the next 2 stitches as if to knit, slip them back in this orientation, then purl them together through the back loop. (Left-leaning decrease)
  • yo: yarnover.

Row 1 (RS): k1, *k1, yo twice, k1, bunny ears back; work from *, k1, yo twice, k2. [multiple of 6 + 6 sts]
Row 2 (WS): ssp, (p1, yo, p1) in double yo, p2tog, *ssp, (p1, yo, p1) in double yo, p2tog; work from *. [multiple of 5 + 5 sts]
Row 3: yo, *k1, bunny ears back, k1, yo twice; work from *, k1, bunny ears back, k1, yo. [multiple of 6 + 6 sts]
Row 4: p1, p2tog, *ssp, (p1, yo, p1) in double yo, p2tog; work from *, ssp, p1. [multiple of 5 + 4 sts]

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