Scribe: a lace knitting stitch pattern

The word I drew from the words suggested on Patreon for this post is Scribe, suggested by Enting, a Patreon supporter. Sometimes when I’m designing lace, I have a little hubris and don’t do enough sampling. Most of the time this works out because of my design experience, but occasionally I have to scramble to start over or fix problems.

Scribe lace is a case where I was surprised by how things went, but I like the result enough to leave it. I’ve explained what happened at the bottom of this post, under the written instructions for the lace.

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 which word I will encode from these, 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 made a Scribe charted design for any craft that uses a square grid for designing.

The stitch patterns are not meant in any way to look like the original words; the words are the seeds of my creativity.

Knitted sample of Scribe lace, resembling some kind of underwater scene with waves and seaweed or sea creatures.
Chart showing how to work Scribe lace by means of special symbols. 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.
  • Scribe lace is a multiple of 10 stitches and 20 + 10 rows. (End after either row 10 or 20: rows 1-10 and rows 11-20 are mirrors of each other.)
  • I’ve made a stitch map for Scribe lace.
  • 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: slip the next 2 stitches as if to knit 2 together, knit the next stitch, then pass the 2 slipped stitches over the third. (Stands for centered double decrease.)
  • 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. (Or substitute your favorite 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; substitute sk2p if desired.)
  • 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): knit.

Row 2 (WS): purl.

Row 3: *k5, k3tog, yo × 2, k2tog, yo; work from *.

Row 4: *p2, (k1, p1) in double yo, p6; work from *.

Row 5: *k1, yo, ssk, k3tog, (yo, k2) × 2; work from *.

Row 6: purl.

Row 7: *ssk, yo × 2, cdd, yo, k1, yo, k2, ssk; work from *.

Row 8: *p7, (k1, p1) in double yo, p1; work from *.

Row 9: *yo, ssk, yo, k2tog, k6; work from *.

Row 10: purl.

Row 11: knit.

Row 12: purl.

Row 13: *yo, ssk, yo × 2, sssk, k5; work from *.

Row 14: *p6, (k1, p1) in double yo, p2; work from *.

Row 15: *(k2, yo) × 2, sssk, k2tog, yo, k1; work from *.

Row 16: purl.

Row 17: *k2tog, k2, yo, k1, yo, cdd, yo × 2, k2tog; work from *.

Row 18: *p1, (k1, p1) in double yo, p7; work from *.

Row 19: *k6, ssk, yo, k2tog, yo; work from *.

Row 20: purl.

End after either row 10 or 20. The second half of the stitch pattern is a mirror of the first half.

Explanation of why I was surprised:

I had difficulty choosing a code grid for this lace, and so finally I thought I would try a chart that I liked, unmirrored, in part because it’s ten stitches by ten stitches, which is a decent ratio for a stitch pattern. (Twelve would be better, but that didn’t work out.) My plan from the start of this one was to do a row of repeats like this, with the next vertical repeat mirrored. I got this far in my rough draft swatch, and stopped, because I thought I knew how things would go and I like the effect.

I think it looks like a line of repeated words in an unknown writing system, which seems doubly appropriate. After all, this is an encoded word, and it’s a word related to writing. I figured the plain rows at the bottom of each repeat would keep the lace separate. I was wrong.

Three horizontal repeats and one vertical repeat of Scribe lace.

Usually I know this is not what’s going to happen, but this time I forgot. I even have a whole blog post about inserting plain rows in lace knitting. It’s a good thing that the actual repeated lace looks interesting, or I would have had to hurry to figure out an alternative.

I decided I would include this plain row by itself with some plain knitting in the middle in my sample for this blog post so I could show how the single vertical repeat looks like writing and the multiple repeats don’t have the clear horizontal pairs of plain stockinette rows.

the isolated line of lace looking like unfamiliar writing above several plain rows of knitting, which are in turn above the lace that was knit as written. The plain knitting in between the two sections of lace has curves in it that are affected by the lace above and below. The stitch columns are not all straight lines.

If you look carefully at the plain rows between the two sets of lace, you might see that the stitch columns are affected by the lace above and below for several rows, so it’s no wonder that the two plain rows aren’t visible and look somewhat lacy. I think the allover pattern looks like sea creatures or seaweed underwater.

In retrospect, there’s a few decreases in row 3 that I would place differently. (And if you want to do that, go ahead!)