Étude no. 2 – Stepping Stones (free stitch pattern)

Here is another in my series of posts about design exercises. I’ve been noticing a little arrow motif popping up in my secret code charts:


It intrigued me. I happened to notice it yet again in a grid, this time with rotational symmetry and with a couple of extra squares:


Nifty! I thought. I’ve been wanting to stretch myself with designing asymmetrical patterns (that would admittedly have translational symmetry when repeated). Even though the little chart above has rotational symmetry, I knew that by the time I was done with it, that would be gone. (This is a future étude for me, I think: to design lace with vertical mirror symmetry or rotational symmetry.)

So, I plugged in the yarn overs in my usual way, and added wrong side rest rows with purls where necessary. Then I guessed where to put the decreases. My draft chart follows, from before I’d even started my rough draft swatch for the design. (This one definitely needed one, so far as I was concerned.)


As I knit my rough draft, I worked out the following chart. I wasn’t sure at first if I liked the results, but I think I do. For one thing, I like the way that each diagonal ovally section is completed over three pattern repeats. I think that the decrease lines of this might make a scarf collapse along the bias.

I do regret not managing to put in no-stitch squares to make the pattern match the result more clearly; this one gave me fits and I just had trouble. If there’s interest, I would probably be willing to give it another try for the sake of learning to do better!



  • 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.
  • Stepping Stones is a multiple of 5 stitches and 12 rows.
  • I’ve made a stitch map for it.
  • Designers, please feel free to use this stitch in your patterns. Please note the Creative Commons license below (only a few of my older stitch patterns have this).
  • If you like my posts like this, please consider supporting me on Patreon or donating with my Paypal tip jar in the sidebar. Thanks!


  • 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.
  • 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)
  • p: purl.
  • ssk: slip each of the next 2 stitches as if to knit, then knit them together through the back loop. (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.)
  • yo: yarnover.

Row 1 (RS): *k1, k2tog, yo x 2, ssk; work from *.
Row 2 (WS): *p1, (k1, p1) in double yo, p2; work from *.
Row 3: *k2tog, k1, k2tog, yo x 2; work from *.
Row 4: *(k1, p1) in double yo, p3; work from *.
Row 5: *yo, ssk, yo x 2, sssk; work from *.
Row 6: *p1, (k1, p1) in double yo, p2; work from *.
Row 7: *cdd, yo x 2, k2tog, yo; work from *.
Row 8: *p2, (k1, p1) in double yo, p1; work from *.
Row 9: *yo x 2, ssk, k1, ssk; work from *.
Row 10: *p3, (k1, p1) in double yo; work from *.
Row 11: *k2tog, yo x 2, ssk, k1; work from *.
Row 12: *p2, (k1, p1) in double yo, p1; work from *.