Raven: a free lace knitting stitch pattern

Edit as of 4 April 2024: I realized that my original chart and instructions for how to knit this stitch pattern to match the swatch were incomplete, so I’ve fixed that. My apologies!

September’s stitch pattern word is raven, suggested by Ron on Patreon.

I really wanted to knit this one in black, for obvious reasons, but it’s hard to photograph black lace so as to show all the details, even when it’s beautiful. I had to console myself with the very rare existence of white ravens (not albino ones). I’m pleased with how the stitch pattern came out!

Each month, my Patreon backers have the chance to suggest words for me to encode as knitting stitches. A random number generator helps me choose the word of the month, 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 make a chart for any craft that uses a square grid for designing; this goes in a separate post.

Extremely abstract lace, like alternating vaguely acorn-shaped shaped motifs full of organic holes like plant cells under a microscope.
chart showing how to knit Raven lace by means of special symbols. Written instructions in blog post.
click to enlarge


  • 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.
  • Raven is a multiple of 12 + 1 stitches and 24 + 12 rows. The first 12 rows would be a complete stitch pattern; I liked the way it looked when I offset the design halfway on the second time through the pattern.
  • 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!


  • DSD: ssk, slip the resulting stitch back to the left needle, pass the next stitch over, then slip the result. Substitute knit 3 together if desired; they are similar but don’t look quite the same. (Right-leaning double decrease.) More information about DSD.
  • k: knit.
  • k2tog: knit 2 stitches together as if they were 1. (Right-leaning decrease)
  • p: purl.
  • sk2p: slip 1, k2tog, pass slipped stitch over. (Left-leaning double decrease.)
  • 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)
  • 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): *p1, k1, ssk, yo × 2, k2tog, p1, ssk, yo × 2, k2tog, k1; work from *, p1. (13 sts)

Row 2 (WS): k1, *p2, (k1, p1) in double yo, p1, k1, p1, (k1, p1) in double yo, p2, k1; work from *.

Row 3: *p1, k2tog, yo, k3, p1, k3, yo, ssk; work from *, p1.

Row 4: k1, *(p5, k1) × 2; work from *.

Row 5: *p1, k2, yo × 2, DSD, p1, sk2p, yo × 2, k2; work from *, p1.

Row 6: k1, *p2, (k1, p1) in double yo, p1, k1, p1, (k1, p1) in double yo, p2, k1; work from *.

Row 7: *(p1, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo) × 2; work from *, p1.

Row 8: k1, *(p5, k1) × 2; work from *.

Row 9: *p1, k1, yo × 2, sk2p, k1, p1, k1, DSD, yo × 2, k1; work from *, p1.

Row 10: k1, *p1, (k1, p1) in double yo, p2, k1, p2, (k1, p1) in double yo, p1, k1; work from *.

Row 11: *p1, ssk, k1, yo, k2, p1, k2, yo, k1, k2tog; work from *, p1.

Row 12: k1, *(p5, k1) × 2; work from *.

Row 13: *p1, ssk, yo × 2, k2tog, k1, p1, k1, ssk, yo × 2, k2tog; work from *, p1.

Row 14: k1, *p1, (k1, p1) in double yo, p2, k1, p2, (k1, p1) in double yo, p1, k1; work from *.

Row 15: *p1, k3, yo, ssk, p1, k2tog, yo, k3; work from *, p1.

Row 16: k1, *(p5, k1) × 2; work from *.

Row 17: *p1, sk2p, yo × 2, k2, p1, k2, yo × 2, DSD; work from *, p1.

Row 18: k1, *p1, (k1, p1) in double yo, p2, k1, p2, (k1, p1) in double yo, p1, k1; work from *.

Row 19: *(p1, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo) × 2; work from *, p1.

Row 20: k1, *(p5, k1) × 2; work from *.

Row 21: *p1, k1, DSD, yo × 2, k1, p1, k1, yo × 2, sk2p, k1; work from *, p1.

Row 22: k1, *p2, (k1, p1) in double yo, p1, k1, p1, (k1, p1) in double yo, p2, k1; work from *.

Row 23: *p1, k2, yo, k1, k2tog, p1, ssk, k1, yo, k2; work from *, p1.

Row 24: k1, *(p5, k1) × 2; work from *.

(instructions completely rewritten as of 4 April 2024.)

Encoding explanation:

I did something a little different this time; I realized that emoji have symbols that are black and white squares, so I used them to make the initial code charts.

I encoded Raven in base seven, so its numbers are 24 01 31 05 20.


(This looks very different on my iPad from what I see on my desktop screen – sorry if it’s strange for you.)

I started in the upper left corner of a grid that’s five stitches wide. I counted 2 squares, then placed a black square. The next digit is 4, so I counted 2 more squares, jumped to the next line, and finished counting to 4 before placing the next black square. The next digit is zero, so I counted zero squares (not visible, because it’s nothing), and placed the next square, and so on.


This is how this looks without the explanatory numbers.


Then I thought about shawl designers and decided it would be best to change the ratio of the rectangle to make it easier to fit some standard increase rates. When I do this, I make it a purl column as a reminder to myself that it’s not part of the code. Because emoji doesn’t have a purl symbol, I used a red square with an O in it for what became the purl column in the final chart. Then I mirrored the chart along the center column.