Playing with yarnover size

The physical size of multiple YOs

A question came up elsewhere online about how to make double and triple yarnovers smaller.

I’ve actually thought about this before, but haven’t used my ideas in my stitch patterns – my secret code method when applied to lace means that I need to chart the lace with a yarnover in every encoded square.

But there’s no reason why someone couldn’t knit my stitch patterns with the methods I’m going to describe below. I do have two caveats:

  1. The stitch count will vary from row to row, and the more times the pattern repeats across the row, the more it will vary. I’m not sure whether this might cause blocking issues or if it would just have the effect of making the row vertically shorter because the stitches would be stretched horizontally.
  2. It requires more thought on the return rows, which makes them less restful.

Even so, it’s a handy way to think about it. (Also, this can be a useful method for coping with having made a single YO instead of a double or triple.)

The important thing to realize is that when there’s a double or triple yarnover on the right side row, it doesn’t actually increase the knitting by that many stitches. It just makes a single large new stitch. It’s the number of stitches worked into the double (or triple) yarnover on the return row that makes for more than the single increase. Having multiple loops makes for an  reminder of the location for multiple stitches but there’s no inherent reason to have them.

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K1long variants on the standard bind off.

K1long variants on the standard bind off.

My Ravelry friend Catnach (Jennifer) was intrigued by the k1long  technique, and decided to try using it as an increase to improve some of her silk laceweight bind-offs on lace shawls. I liked the result so much that I thought I’d share it with you.


Everyone I know who knits has learned one bind-off before any other:

  1. knit 1.
  2. knit 1, then pass the previous stitch over.
  3. repeat step 2 as necessary.

It’s beautifully straightforward, but has one major disadvantage: it’s not very stretchy. One easy way to deal with this is to increase more stitches in the final row or two.

“Knit and knit1long” bordered cast-off, by catnach.

Catnach’s photo, used with permission.

Jennifer was working a lace shawl with a plain garter edge, and so in the final right-side row, she increased a stitch between every regular stitch by working a k1long between them. (Link goes to her notes on Ravelry; an account is required to see the details.) It’s the most straightforward sort of k1long, sometimes referred to as m1, though it’s not the stitch that’s usually given that name: pick up the bar between two stitches and knit it without twisting. She then bound off on the wrong side row in the usual fashion, knitting the stitches as she went instead of purling.

Since there were almost twice as many stitches in the row, there was sufficient length for the bind-off when the lace was stretched in blocking. It makes a nice crochet-like edging.

K1long variants on the standard bind off.

I wouldn’t recommend this as a bind-off for anything but an edge on lace, where the extra length is helpful. As you can see in this swatchlet, it will make the bind-off curve or ruffle with plain knitting.

K1long variants on the standard bind off.

Of course I had to play around some more once my interest had been piqued. Here is another variant. I worked a lace row, then a plain wrong-side row, and then worked k1long stitches in the same row as the bind-off. In this case, I worked the k1long by skipping down two rows between the regular stitches, which for this pattern means that I was knitting into the yarnovers two rows down.

It blocks quite nicely, and has a different sort of crochet effect.

Moon: a chart for use with any craft

Moon: a free chart for use with any craft.

Each month my Patreon supporters suggest words for me to encode as knitting stitches, and each month a random number generator chooses a word from that collection. This month’s word is Moon.

For a change of pace, this month’s generic chart for any craft uses the same basic encoding as the lace knitting stitch pattern, but with the addition of mirroring along the horizontal axis and removing a column and row.

Designers, please feel free to use this design in your patterns. I’d like credit but won’t be offended if people don’t give it. Thanks! – Naomi

If you like my posts like this, please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks!

Moon: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

Moon: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

Each month my Patreon supporters suggest words for me to encode as knitting stitches, and each month a random number generator chooses a word from that collection. Rebecca’s word moon is the word for this month, and here we are. In truth, only the first eight rows are necessary – the second eight are the same stitch pattern offset horizontally.

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Some knitting experiments are only successful because I learn from them.

A while ago I was trying to improvise knitted netting, and was only half successful. (I’m still quite happy about even that level of success.) I’d been thinking for a while of trying out the decreases I’d improvised there for use in regular knitting, and this week’s post is about the resulting swatch.

Learning from experimentsI am reluctant to call this effort a failure even though I won’t be using these decreases for plain knitting: too many people think failure is bad and a waste of time. But I don’t think this experiment was a waste of my time: I’ve learned that the decreases won’t work for this purpose, I know why, and now I won’t waste any more time wondering about it. I learn from failure. Mistakes are a good thing, especially when it’s just a swatch experiment.

The nifty thing about these decreases is that they sit horizontally because a stitch or stitches from the previous row is passed over a single stitch before that stitch is worked. This is what makes the decreases sit flat in a way that works quite well for the netting.

The other thing that’s good about them for  netting is that some of the yarn in the stitch that is passed over slides into the stitch that’s worked. This is how the open spaces end up so square –  the stitches between spaces get taller. The problem is that it makes the stitch worked at the decrease point in regular knitting loose and floppy – not even as tidy as a slipped stitch.

I hope to inspire people to be more willing to swatch, experiment, and be willing to make mistakes. Have fun!

Arr: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

Arr: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

A little late for Talk Like a Pirate Day, here is an encoding of Arr. There’s been a gradual increase in the number of geeky Internet holidays, and so I thought I’d make stitch patterns for a bunch of them (secret code being geeky in itself). Admittedly, I’m not personally fond of Talk Like a Pirate Day, but it is one of the older such holidays, and well known. It wouldn’t seem fair to exclude it. (Anyway, I like the lace that came out of it.)

I saw a stitch pattern on Pinterest that had a plain row of elongated stitches in the midst of lace. Since the first row of this chart doesn’t have any yarnovers, I decided to try it, but didn’t really care for the effect in this design. I’ve left it in the swatch that’s the featured photo to show what it looks like. I knit several plain rows, then knit the first stitch pattern repeat with elongated stitches in the first row. Then I knit two more plain repeats.

I think this might qualify as a feather and fan variant. (If you wanted to knit row 2 instead of purl, that would increase the resemblance.)

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A method for tiling a knitting stitch pattern with an odd number of stitches using flattened diamonds.

Really the last flattened diamond post.

In my last post about flattened diamonds, I talked about the problem of dealing with a diamond when the desired stitch pattern is centered around a single stitch.

How chevrons centered around a single stitch repeat.

The focal point of such a design is off center when placed on an even number of stitches. (I’ve been having trouble with my chart software. It’s almost fixed, but I thought I’d take this opportunity to show that graph paper can be just fine for the design process.)


The diamonds I’ve been working with so far have a rectangle in the middle based on an even number of stitches. When I place a simple chevron on such a diamond, it looks like this, which bothers my mirror symmetry-loving brain, especially when designing a shawl. The actual pattern repeat works out just fine, mind you! But there is the necessity of including an extra stitch on the right-hand side of each row.


My first thought about this was to make the center repeat an odd number of stitches, and make one arm of the diamond one stitch longer than the other. This certainly tiles, but it makes the increases at each edge peculiar.


My second thought makes use of 3-to-2 decreases and the principle that the decrease corresponding to a particular increase can be on a completely different row. (On this sketchy chart, the dark squares are grey-no-stitch squares.) This tiles nicely, keeps the increases at each edge consistent, and makes the design process easier for me. It won’t work for all stitch patterns, however. But I do like it.

IMG_4934So my third thought is probably too complicated for a final pattern chart, but it helps satisfy my mirror symmetry cravings in the design process. The arrow points at the spine of the shawl. The central column of diamonds has an extra column up the middle, so the chevrons can be centered on that spine. The diamonds on each side are based on an even number – the chevron sits slightly to the left in the diamonds that are on the right-hand side of the pattern, and vice versa.


Note that in the end, once the diamond outlines are removed, this produces the same overall rectangular stitch pattern as the second chart in this post: a repeat of 12 + 1 stitches and 8 rows. But if designing a crescent shawl, I think the third thought works best.