Complexagons: a lace knitting stitch pattern

I was knitting a honeycomb mesh gauge swatch, and kept wondering what it would look like if I tried the set of maneuvers in this blog post. Finally, I had to set aside the gauge swatch and try it.

The result is possibly too complicated to be worth it; certainly I don’t want to knit a large project in it myself. But I thought the result was interesting and that someone else might at least like to knit a sample of it, so here we are. The end result is almost unrecognizable as knitting. Mistakes are difficult to drop down and repair from the rows above. If you like a challenge, go for it!

Knitted hexagon mesh where each hexagon appears to have been outlined slightly haphazardly with four strands of yarn
Chart showing how to work Complexagons lace by means of special symbols.


  • 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.
  • Complexagons has a variable number of stitches from row to row; cast on and end with a multiple of 5 + 4 stitches.
  • The final row of the swatch is not shown in the chart; see below the end of the written instructions for what I did.
  • 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!


  • 5-to-2 decrease: Slip each of the next two stitches knitwise; k1, leaving stitch on supporting needle; psso; k3tog. The middle stitch is knit twice. (A triple decrease that turns five stitches into two.)
  • active needle: the needle on which new stitches are formed.
  • k: knit.
  • k2tog: knit 2 stitches together as if they were 1. (Right-leaning decrease)
  • M1: with active needle, pick up the bar between stitches from the front and knit it without twisting.
  • 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)
  • supporting needle: needle holding the stitches from the previous row.
  • 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): k2tog, *yo, m1, yo, 5-to-2 decrease; work from *, yo, m1, yo, ssk. (multiple of 5 + 5 stitches)

Row 2 (WS): purl.

Row 3: yo, *5-to-2 decrease, yo, m1, yo; work from *, 5-to-2 decrease, yo. (multiple of 5 + 4 stitches)

Row 4: purl.

I was having trouble figuring out how to end the stitch pattern neatly, so I finished with something more like the honeycomb mesh that inspired it:

Row 5: k2tog, *yo x 2, 5-to-2 decrease; work from *, yo x 2, ssk. (multiple of 4 stitches)

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

Since this is one stitch less per repeat, it might not work well for a large rectangle; ending with rows 1 & 2 of the Complexagons stitch pattern might well work anyway; it just looked a little odd to me before blocking.