Étude no. 25: Tall Diamonds

It’s been a while since I designated a blog post as an étude, which is a thing I like to do occasionally.

In music, an étude is a kind of musical exercise meant to increase skill in a single technique. I used to take classical violin lessons when I was young, so I was assigned my share of études to practice at home.

The études on my blog aren’t quite the same, but they’re not unlike. They’re exercises in design techniques that I’ve assigned myself to see what I can accomplish and what I can learn from them. I’ve probably posted some blog posts since my last étude that probably should have qualified. I might go back and tag them, I might not.

This particular étude is one I did without a write-up some years ago; I think I remember enough of what I did back then to be able to write up the results: it’s yet another in my series of stitch designs delving into chevrons and diamonds.

Here are the other posts I’ve made about chevrons and diamonds, from oldest to newest (you can possibly see a progression in skill):

I’m going to start with the stitch pattern that resulted from this exercise, but if you want to look at my work, keep going after the written instructions.

knitted sample of Tall Diamonds
chart showing how to knit Tall Diamonds; written instructions in blog post
click chart 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.
  • Tall Diamonds is a multiple of 8 + 9 stitches and either 20 + 2 or 20 + 12 rows. (End after either row 12 or 22.)
  • I’ve made a stitch map for Tall Diamonds.
  • Designers, please feel free to use this in your patterns. I’d like credit but won’t be offended if people don’t give it.
  • My blog posts and free stitch patterns are supported by subscriptions on Patreon or donations to my Paypal tip jar in the sidebar. If you appreciate my work, please consider helping out. 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)
  • p: purl.
  • 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.

Setup rows:

Row 1 (RS): k2, k2tog, yo, k1, *yo, ssk, k3, k2tog, yo, k1; work from *, yo, ssk, k2. (17 sts)

Row 2 (WS): purl.

Repeat from here:

Row 3: k3, yo, cdd, *yo, k5, yo, cdd; work from *, yo, k3.

Row 4: purl.

Row 5: k1, k2tog, yo, k2, *k1, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k2; work from *, k1, yo, ssk, k1.

Row 6: purl.

Row 7: k2, yo, k2tog, k1, *ssk, yo, k3, yo, k2tog, k1; work from *, ssk, yo, k2.

Row 8: purl.

Row 9: k2tog, yo, k3, *k2, yo, cdd, yo, k3; work from *, k2, yo, ssk.

Row 10: purl.

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

Row 12: purl.

Row 13: ssk, yo, k3, *k2, yo, cdd, yo, k3; work from *, k2, yo, k2tog.

Row 14: purl.

Row 15: k2, yo, ssk, k1, *k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k1; work from *, k2tog, yo, k2.

Row 16: purl.

Row 17: k1, ssk, yo, k2, *k1, yo, k2tog, k1, ssk, yo, k2; work from *, k1, yo, k2tog, k1.

Row 18: purl.

Row 19: k3, yo, cdd, *yo, k5, yo, cdd; work from *, yo, k3.

Row 20: purl.

Row 21: k2, ssk, yo, k1, *yo, k2tog, k3, ssk, yo, k1; work from *, yo, k2tog, k2.

Row 22: purl.

Design process:

So, there’s a lot of diamond and chevron patterns out there and I’ve been thinking about improvements or variations on them over the years. (Note: My design process is graphical, and I don’t really know how to write about it outside of using charts. If you would like written instructions for any of the in-between chart stages, let me know and I’ll do them another week. )

A lot of them have the same standard shape, based on this and minor variations.

There’s also a traditional shallower version based on that standard shape, but leaving out the plain alternating rows.

I’ve played a little with some other shallower diamond shapes.

Swags makes use of this kind of diagonal double-yarnover and decrease line.

Lozenges: a free lace knitting stitch pattern, by Naomi Parkhurst

and I spaced the yarnover/decrease combinations of the standard version so that they’re farther apart to make the shallower diamonds of Lozenges.

But what about a taller version of diamonds, with a steep-but-continuous line of yarnovers? I set to work. I no longer have my swatches, but I’m going to include some stitch maps to show how the yarnovers and decreases interact.

I drew vertical pairs of yarnovers and then tried to figure out where to put decreases. This was my first impulse, because I usually like to make strong decrease lines. I don’t think this is terrible, but if you look at the stitch map on the right, you can see that the yarnovers zigzag back and forth. I wanted a straight line.

I abandoned the strong decrease line, and decided to see if putting decreases on alternating sides of the yarnover line would make the yarnover line continuous. This was a big failure; it has neither a strong decrease line nor a strong yarnover line.

Okay, so what if I tried the other alternation of decreases? Hey, look at the yarnovers in the stitch map! They’re a straight line! However, I’m not usually fond of the top stitch in a decrease coming directly from a yarnover (sometimes it works, but I didn’t like it here; I wish I still had the swatch). One last try, then:

And there it is! I mirrored that back and forth to make the Tall Diamond chart above, and now I’m happy. I have some variations I might yet want to try, but I’d also love to see what you make of this principle!