Cicada: a lace knitting stitch pattern

The word I drew from the words suggested on Patreon for this post is Cicada, suggested by Jeannette Belle, a Patreon supporter. It’s summertime in the northern hemisphere, so cicadas are all over the place where I live right now. Earlier this summer, there were lots of periodical cicadas, which emerge in droves either every 13 or 17 years depending on where one lives in North America. (This was one of the rare years when both kinds came out in the same year.

This lace doesn’t look like cicadas because of the semi random way this kind of lace is designed. However, several years ago I designed some lace that looks similar to cicadas based on the word Summery. (Apt, isn’t it?)

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 Cicada 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.

Vertical panels of lace columns kind of like overlapping fans with more solid knitting between, all in light blue yarn.
Chart showing how to knit Cicada 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.
  • Cicada is a multiple of 16 stitches and 8 rows.
  • I’ve made a stitch map for Cicada.
  • Designers, please feel free to use these 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!


  • active needle: the needle on which new stitches are placed.
  • double yo: bring the yarn forward between the needles, wrap it once around the active needle, and leave the yarn in front so it makes a second loop when the next stitch is knit.
  • k: knit.
  • (k1, p1) in double yo: knit 1 in the double yarnover without removing it from the needle. Purl 1 in the same stitch. At this point, slip the double yarnover off the needle entirely. The first loop of the double yarnover can be slipped off at any point in the process.
  • 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.

Row 1: *k2tog, yo, k2tog, double yo, ssk, k4, k2tog, double yo, ssk, yo, ssk; work from *.

Row 2: *p3, (k1, p1) in double yo, p6, (k1, p1) in double yo, p3; work from *.

Row 3: *k2tog, double yo, ssk, k1, ssk, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, k1, k2tog, double yo, ssk; work from *.

Row 4: *p1, (k1, p1) in double yo, p10, (k1, p1) in double yo, p1; work from *.

Row 5: *k2tog, yo, k1, ssk, yo, k6, yo, k2tog, k1, yo, ssk; work from *.

Row 6: purl.

Row 7: *k2tog, k1, yo, k10, yo, k1, ssk; work from *.

Row 8: purl.