knitted sample of Sheep lace

Sheep: a lace knitting stitch pattern

The word I drew from my word hoard for this stitch pattern is Sheep, suggested by Cathy D, a Patreon supporter. It’s always good fun to encode words related to string or yarn, and this was no exception!

Each month, my Patreon backers have the chance to suggest words for me to encode as knitting stitches. I make three of these into knitting stitches each month: the second and third (posted on the first day of the next month) are drawn from the collection of new words; the first is drawn 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 made a Sheep needlework chart for any craft that uses a square grid for designing.

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

knitted sample of Sheep lace
chart showing how to knit Sheep lace by means of special symbols; written instructions are in blog post.
click chart to enlarge

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.
  • Sheep is a multiple of 16 + 17 stitches and 16 or 16 + 8 rows (end after either row 8 or 16).
  • I felt this looked better with a stitch like knit one through the back loop, but with an extra half twist; I’ve named this maneuver knit full twist. I haven’t abbreviated it here because it’s a pretty uncommon maneuver; if I start using it a lot, I’ll abbreviate it as KFT.
  • I’ve made a stitch map for Sheep.
  • 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:

  • BEBYO (bunny ears back yarnover): This is a variant on the bunny ears decrease, with a yarnover added in the middle. It turns three stitches into three stitches. Slip 1, knit 1 without removing it from the needle, pass slipped stitch over the new stitch; yarn over; then knit the second and third stitches together. The middle stitch of the original three has been knit together with each of its neighbors. Blog post about bunny ears yarnover.
  • BEY (bunny ears yarnover): This is a variant on the bunny ears decrease, with a yarnover added in the middle. It turns three stitches into three stitches. Knit 2 together, but only remove the first stitch from the needle; yarn over; then work ssk with the second and third stitches. The middle stitch of the original three has been knit together with each of its neighbors. Blog post about bunny ears yarnover.
  • 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)
  • knit full twist: the goal is to add a full twist to the stitch before knitting it. Slip 1 as if to purl through the back loop, slip back to the left needle, and knit through the back loop. (Feel free to substitute either knit 1 or knit 1 through the back loop.)
  • p: purl.
  • p1b: purl one below. For this stitch pattern, it’s not quite the same as a regular p1b, because it’s actually purling the bar below a yarnover, but the action is much the same. From behind, pick up the bar below the yarnover with the right needle and place it on the left needle next to the yarnover; purl both those strands at the same time. This prevents the bar from making a horizontal line in front of the yarnover.
  • ssk: slip each of the next 2 stitches as if to knit, then knit them together through the back loop. (Or substitute your favorite 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; substitute sk2p if desired.)
  • yo: yarnover. Bring the yarn forward between the needles so that it will make a loop over the needle when the next stitch is worked. When there are two in a row, bring the yarn forward, wrap it once around the needle, and leave the yarn in front so it makes a second loop.

Row 1 (RS): k2, ssk, yo, k3, *BEY, k3, yo, k2tog, k3, ssk, yo, k3; work from *, BEY, k3, yo, k2tog, k2. (33 sts)

Row 2 (WS): p8, p1b, *p15, p1b; work from *, p8.

Row 3: k1, k2tog, yo, k4, *BEBYO, k4, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k4; work from *, BEBYO, k4, yo, ssk, k1.

Row 4: p8, p1b, *p15, p1b; work from *, p8.

Row 5: yo, k2tog, k3, k3tog, yo × 2, *knit full twist, yo × 2, sssk, k3, BEBYO, k3, k3tog, yo × 2; work from *, knit full twist, yo × 2, sssk, k3, ssk, yo.

Row 6: p6, (k1, p1) in double yo, p1, *(k1, p1) in double yo, p5, p1b, p5, (k1, p1) in double yo, p1; work from *, (k1, p1) in double yo, p6.

Row 7: knit full twist, yo, ssk, yo, k3tog, yo, k2, *k3, yo, sssk, yo, k2tog, yo, knit full twist, yo, ssk, yo, k3tog, yo, k2; work from *, k3, yo, sssk, yo, k2tog, yo, knit full twist.

Row 8: purl.

Row 9: yo, ssk, k3, yo, k2tog, k1, *k2, ssk, yo, k3, BEY, k3, yo, k2tog, k1; work from *, k2, ssk, yo, k3, k2tog, yo.

Row 10: p9, *p7, p1b, p8; work from *, p8.

Row 11: yo, k2tog, k4, yo, ssk, *k1, k2tog, yo, k4, BEBYO, k4, yo, ssk; work from *, k1, k2tog, yo, k4, ssk, yo.

Row 12: p9, *p7, p1b, p8; work from *, p8.

Row 13: knit full twist, yo × 2, sssk, k3, *BEBYO, k3, k3tog, yo × 2, knit full twist, yo × 2, sssk, k3; work from *, BEBYO, k3, k3tog, yo × 2, knit full twist.

Row 14: p1, (k1, p1) in double yo, p5, p1b, *p5, (k1, p1) in double yo, p1, (k1, p1) in double yo, p5, p1b; work from *, p5, (k1, p1) in double yo, p1.

Row 15: k3, yo, sssk, yo, k2tog, yo, *knit full twist, yo, ssk, yo, k3tog, yo, k5, yo, sssk, yo, k2tog, yo; work from *, knit full twist, yo, ssk, yo, k3tog, yo, k3.

Row 16: purl.

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