Étude no. 14: Vertical excerpts

Immediately after I posted about using a subset of rows from a complex chart as a coordinating stitch pattern, I started wondering about a subset of columns.

This is naturally more complicated, as the decreases and increases have to be balanced out, which means a good deal more fiddling with the stitch pattern. I think it might also be less useful – though it might help with situations where the desired stitch pattern doesn’t quite fit the required width.

Anyway, I decided to play with a chart, knit swatches, and see what happened. If it didn’t work, at least I’d know.

In the end, it took a lot more work and thought to get something satisfactory. This is not necessarily a barrier, but I felt that people considering trying it for themselves should know. (I think this sort of thing is fun; not everybody does.)

For consistency, I decided to use the same original stitch pattern for this étude as I did for the horizontal excerpts: Wildfire. I’m going to write more about the process below the resulting stitch pattern, since it’s rather different from just choosing several rows and repeating them.

spark: a free lace knitting stitch

Spark is shown on the right-hand side of this swatch, leading into Wildfire on the left.

Spark: a free knitting stitch pattern to coordinate with Wildfire


  • 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.
  • Spark is a multiple of 8+8 stitches and 16 rows.
  • This isn’t a coded word.
  • I’ve made a stitch map for it.
  • Designers, please feel free to use this stitch in your patterns. I’d like credit but won’t be offended if people don’t give it.
  • If you like my posts like this, please consider supporting me on Patreon or donating with my Paypal tip jar in the sidebar. Thanks!


  • 1/1 LC: Slip next stitch to cable needle and place at front of work, knit 1, then knit 1 from cable needle.
  • 1/1 RC: Slip next stitch to cable needle and place at back of work, knit 1, then knit 1 from cable needle.
  • k: knit.
  • k2tog: knit 2 stitches together as if they were 1. (Right-leaning 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)
  • yo: yarn over.

Row 1 (RS): yo, ssk, k1, *1/1 RC, k1, k2tog, yo x 2, ssk, k1; work from *, 1/1 RC, k1, k2tog, yo.
Row 2 (WS): p5, *p2, k1, p5; work from *, p3.
Row 3: k1, 1/1 LC, k1, *k1, 1/1 RC, k2, 1/1 LC, k1; work from *, k1, 1/1 RC, k1.
Row 4: purl.
Row 5: k1, k2tog, yo, k1, *k1, yo, ssk, k2, k2tog, yo, k1; work from *, k1, yo, ssk, k1.
Row 6: purl.
Row 7: k2tog, yo, k1, *1/1 RC, k1, yo, ssk, k2tog, yo, k1; work from *, 1/1 RC, k1, yo, ssk.
Row 8: purl.
Row 9: k2, k2tog, yo, *yo, ssk, k1, 1/1 RC, k1, k2tog, yo; work from *, yo, ssk, k2.
Row 10: p3, k1, *p7, k1; work from *, p4.
Row 11: knit.
Row 12: purl.
Row 13: k1, yo, k2tog, k1, *k1, ssk, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, k1; work from *, k1, ssk, yo, k1.
Row 14: purl.
Row 15: k2, yo, ssk, *k2tog, yo, k1, 1/1 RC, k1, yo, ssk; work from *, k2tog, yo, k2.
Row 16: purl.

Design Process:

choosing a vertical subsection of Wildfire
click to enlarge

The first problem is choosing a section to repeat. By analogy with the horizontal subsets from Étude no. 13, I thought it made sense to choose some columns around one of the points where the stitch pattern repeats. The chart above actually shows two full repeats because of the problem of having cables at the edges. The pattern repeat lines are between columns 7 & 8 and columns 14 & 15.

I looked at these for a little while and decided that I didn’t want quite as many double yarnovers as are in the section around the line between columns 7 & 8. The area around columns 14 & 15 looked more promising. I first tried making a six stitch wide pattern, but wasn’t happy with the result, so I switched to an eight stitch subset, highlighted in blue above.

designing Spark, part 1
click to enlarge

This has far too many decreases in it! There should be one decrease for every increase in a stitch pattern if you want to end with the same number of stitches you started with.

designing Spark, part 2
click to enlarge

I’ve marked all the decreases I decided to remove from the stitch pattern here.  Some of them I knew would be wrong even before knitting. Others I chose as I swatched each row. I then worked out where I might add extra 1/1 cable crosses to highlight the leaf shapes in the pattern. Those are visible in the finished stitch pattern above.