Union: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

The first word I drew from this month’s new Patreon words is Union, suggested by Smart mouth’d, a Patreon supporter. The word was suggested on the Labor Day (US ) for obvious reasons. Solidarity! (I’m seeing more and more discussion of unions in US tech companies, which is such a welcome change.)

Each month, my Patreon backers have the chance to suggest words for me to encode as knitting stitches. I’m making three of these into knitting stitches this month: two from from the collection of new words; the third from the collection of unused words. A random number generator helps me choose these, 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.

The stitch patterns are not meant in any way to look like the original words; the words are the seeds of my creativity.

Union: a free lace knitting stitch pattern, by Naomi Parkhurst
Union: a free lace knitting stitch pattern, by Naomi Parkhurst
click chart to enlarge

Notes:

  • This is a particularly large chart because it’s a layout experiment. There’s an explanation under the written instructions.
  • 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.
  • Union is a multiple of 16+17 stitches and 32 rows.
  • I’ve made a stitch map for it.
  • Designers, please feel free to use this in your patterns. I’d like credit but won’t be offended if people don’t give it.
  • My blog posts and free stitch patterns are supported by subscriptions on Patreon or donations to my Paypal tip jar in the sidebar. If you appreciate my work, please consider helping out. Thanks!

Abbreviations:

  • 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. Substitute knit 3 together if desired; they are similar but don’t look quite the same. (Right-leaning double decrease.)
  • 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.)
  • ssk: slip each of the next 2 stitches as if to knit, then knit them together through the back loop. (Left-leaning decrease)
  • yo: yarnover

Row 1 (RS): k3, yo, k2tog, k1, k2tog, yo, *k1, yo, ssk, k1, ssk, yo, k5, yo, k2tog, k1, k2tog, yo ; work from *, k1, yo, ssk, k1, ssk, yo, k3. [33 sts]

Row 2 (WS): purl.

Row 3: k2tog, yo, k2, yo, sk2p, yo, k1, *k2, yo, DSD, yo, k2, yo, cdd, yo, k2, yo, sk2p, yo, k1 ; work from *, k2, yo, DSD, yo, k2, yo, ssk.

Row 4: purl.

Row 5: k1, yo, k2tog, k1, yo, cdd, k1, *kyok, k1, cdd, yo, k1, ssk, yo, k1, yo, k2tog, k1, yo, cdd, k1 ; work from *, kyok, k1, cdd, yo, k1, ssk, yo, k1.

Row 6: purl.

Row 7: k2, (yo, ssk, k1) x 2, *k2, k2tog, yo, k1, k2tog, yo, k3, (yo, ssk, k1) x 2 ; work from *, k2, k2tog, yo, k1, k2tog, yo, k2.

Row 8: purl.

Row 9: k3, yo, ssk, k1, ssk, yo, *k1, yo, k2tog, k1, k2tog, yo, k5, yo, ssk, k1, ssk, yo ; work from *, k1, yo, k2tog, k1, k2tog, yo, k3.

Row 10: purl.

Row 11: k2tog, yo, k2, yo, sk2p, yo, k1, *k2, yo, DSD, yo, k2, yo, cdd, yo, k2, yo, sk2p, yo, k1 ; work from *, k2, yo, DSD, yo, k2, yo, ssk.

Row 12: purl.

Row 13: k1, yo, k2tog, k1, yo, cdd, k1, *kyok, k1, cdd, yo, k1, ssk, yo, k1, yo, k2tog, k1, yo, cdd, k1 ; work from *, kyok, k1, cdd, yo, k1, ssk, yo, k1.

Row 14: purl.

Row 15: k2, (yo, ssk, k1) x 2, *k2, k2tog, yo, k1, k2tog, yo, k3, (yo, ssk, k1) x 2 ; work from *, k2, k2tog, yo, k1, k2tog, yo, k2.

Row 16: purl.

Row 17: k1, yo, ssk, k1, ssk, yo, k2, *k3, yo, k2tog, k1, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k1, ssk, yo, k2 ; work from *, k3, yo, k2tog, k1, k2tog, yo, k1.

Row 18: purl.

Row 19: k2, yo, DSD, yo, k2, yo, *cdd, yo, k2, yo, sk2p, yo, k3, yo, DSD, yo, k2, yo ; work from *, cdd, yo, k2, yo, sk2p, yo, k2.

Row 20: purl.

Row 21: (k1, p1) in 1 stitch, k1, cdd, yo, k1, ssk, yo, *k1, yo, k2tog, k1, yo, cdd, k1, kyok, k1, cdd, yo, k1, ssk, yo ; work from *, k1, yo, k2tog, k1, yo, cdd, k1, (k1, p1) in 1 stitch.

Row 22: purl.

Row 23: k2, (k2tog, yo, k1) x 2, *k2, yo, ssk, k1, yo, ssk, k3, (k2tog, yo, k1) x 2 ; work from *, k2, yo, ssk, k1, yo, ssk, k2.

Row 24: purl.

Row 25: k1, yo, k2tog, k1, k2tog, yo, k2, *k3, yo, ssk, k1, ssk, yo, k1, yo, k2tog, k1, k2tog, yo, k2 ; work from *, k3, yo, ssk, k1, ssk, yo, k1.

Row 26: purl.

Row 27: k2, yo, DSD, yo, k2, yo, *cdd, yo, k2, yo, sk2p, yo, k3, yo, DSD, yo, k2, yo ; work from *, cdd, yo, k2, yo, sk2p, yo, k2.

Row 28: purl.

Row 29: (k1, p1) in 1 stitch, k1, cdd, yo, k1, ssk, yo, *k1, yo, k2tog, k1, yo, cdd, k1, kyok, k1, cdd, yo, k1, ssk, yo ; work from *, k1, yo, k2tog, k1, yo, cdd, k1, (k1, p1) in 1 stitch.

Row 30: purl.

Row 31: k2, (k2tog, yo, k1) x 2, *k2, yo, ssk, k1, yo, ssk, k3, (k2tog, yo, k1) x 2 ; work from *, k2, yo, ssk, k1, yo, ssk, k2.

Row 32: purl.

Layout Explanation:

Most of my stitch pattern layouts are pretty straightforward.

square cut in half diagonally, with each resulting triangle in a different color.

Here is a square representing the underlying encoded word; I call this the basic unit.

The previous square sitting next to a second such square that's been flipped to make a mirror image.

I usually mirror this to make the original stitch pattern chart.

The rectangles have been repeated the way a stitch pattern is, so that the triangles make a repeating pattern.

I repeat this in rows and columns more or less like this.

every other row of mirrored triangles has been offset halfway, so that a different overall pattern is created.

Often I do an offset version as well, or only do an offset version. This involves sliding every other row of repeats over by half. Most of the time, this means I have to change decreases in the first line, which indeed was the case for the offset version of Union.

the bottom two rows of mirrored triangles are offset halfway, while the top two rows have not. This creates a different kind of repeating pattern.

When I was making the rough draft swatches for Union, I realized that it was going to look really cool if I did this further extrapolation of the offset version, in which I offset every other pair of rows. I’ve been vaguely wanting to do a stitch pattern like this for a while.

Because I was alternating between offset and non-offset versions, this meant that I needed to make the decreases different in the first line of each pair to make things flow.

The result in Union is basically four repeats of the same eight rows, except that half of them have their decreases flipped, and a different half of them are offset.

Rows 1-8: original pattern with decreases that account for the offset
Rows 9-16: original stitch pattern
Rows 17-24: offset pattern with decreases that account for the offset
Rows 25-32: offset pattern with non-offset decreases because it’s not offset from rows 17-24, just from the original.

Anyway, I really like the end result, though it makes a HUGE stitch pattern by my standards.

Also, there’s two other stitch patterns in there that I haven’t made nice swatches for, but that will absolutely work by themselves. I might yet swatch them for regular blog posts at some point. If you want to try knitting them, here’s how:

Variation 1: This is rows 9-16. This is the original stitch pattern I designed.
Variation 2: The offset version of that is rows 1-8 followed by rows 17-24.

One thought on “Union: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

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