Thursday, October 16, 2014

be fancy :: eyelet stitches

Welcome back to FancyStitchLandia! Our last stop was Block Stitch & Friends, where we learned that the most basic combinations of knit and purl can yield beautifully-textured results.

You can knit and purl, so I know you’ve got those patterns down. Now… can you increase and decrease? Some yarn-overs and K2togs are all you need to get yourself started with sweet little eyelet patterns that can make your knitting look way fancier, way more feminine, and/or just way more interesting, depending on how you work them. [Don’t know how to work a yarn-over (YO) yet? Check out this simple how-to and then come right back!]

There are more eyelet patterns than you could possibly imagine. Adding just a few eyelets to a project can provide really useful features besides visual interest. You can use eyelets to make buttonholes, vents, or a track for a belt or ribbon. Eyelets are the foundation upon which the timeless dishcloth pattern is built, though I cannot endorse frittering one’s knitting time away on a project that encourages housework. Lace (also known as openwork) is just a pattern that features lots and lots of eyelets. Here are some eyelet patterns to get you started:

simple eyelet pattern (multiple of 8 sts)

simple eyelet pattern
The most basic eyelet is formed by using a repeating pattern of YO, K2tog. Here’s a lovely simple version, courtesy of Barbara Walker's first Treasury of Knitting Patterns:

R1 (RS): Knit
R2 and all WS rows: Purl
R3: *K6, YO, K2tog. Repeat from * to end.
R5: Knit
R7: K2, *YO, K2tog, K6. Repeat from * to end.
R8: Purl.
Repeat rows 1-8.

cloverleaf eyelet pattern (multiple of 8 sts + 7)

Lucky Clover Lace Wrap / Melissa Wehrle
I love this pretty stitch pattern on ladies tops and dresses. It’s featured in the popular Lucky Clover Lace Wrap from Stitch & Bitch Nation:  

R1 and all other WS rows: Purl
R2 (RS): Knit
R4: K2, YO, Slip 1, K2tog, PSSO, YO. *K5, YO, Slip 1, K2tog, PSSO, YO. Repeat from * to end. K2.
R6: K3, YO, SSK. *K6, YO, SSK. Repeat from * to end. K2.
R8: Knit
R10: K1. *K5, YO, Slip 1, K2tog, PSSO, YO. Repeat from * to end. K6.
R12: K7. *K6, YO, SSK. Repeat from * to end.
Repeat rows 1-12.

wildflower purl
wildflower purl
This wonderful pattern is just a little bit trickier, relying on a P3tog to create the cute little wildflowers. I love how this stitch pops on variegated yarn! Instructions for working this stitch pattern in the round are included in my Wildflower Socks pattern.

quatrefoil / sundrop hat
The quatrefoil makes a sunburst or flower design that looks great on garments and accessories alike. I used it to create both visual interest, and cooling vents, on this summer hat for babies and toddlers. Instructions for working this stitch pattern in the round are included in the Sundrop hat pattern.

Just these three variations on the simple eyelet open up a huge amount of possibility for your knitting. Even a single row of eyelet stitches at the lower hem or cuffs of a sweater add so much visual interest to a simple garment.

Check out how other designers are using eyelets in a few of these hot projects on Ravelry right now. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

clockwise from left: miette by andi satterlund | star anise by svetlana volkova | caramel frappe by monika sirna | dotted rays by stephen west

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