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Little Shell Lace Stitch


The stitch I used to make the background wallpaper is my favorite stitch for texture and lace.  It's called the Little Shell Stitch, and I first found it in the Harmony Guide To Knitting Stitches, Volume 2 (the older Harmony guides), on page 54.  The Little Shell lace socks and the American Girl nightgown/dress pictured above both show this stitch. 

I love the stitch so much, that I've used it for many years on baby blankets, sweaters, lacy socks, doll clothes and other items. It's very simple, with the pattern only worked every 4th row, with 3 rows of stockinette stitch between.  Here's how it's done:

When knitting flat:  Multiples of 7+2 (the two extra are added to balance the edges)

(Example:  to make a fabric with a repeat of 10 sections, cast on 72.  [10 X 7]+2=72)

R1-Right Side) Knit
R2) Purl
R3-Pattern Row) *K2, yo, P1, P3tog, P1, yo* repeat to last 2 sts, K2
R4) Purl
Repeat these 4 rows for pattern.

When knitting in the round:  Multiples of 7 only, eliminate the extra 2 knit edge stitches. Change the purl rows to knit rows, since you are now working with the right side always facing the same side.  The 3 stockinette stitch rows will all be Knit rows (no purls).

R1) Knit
R2) Knit
R3-Pattern Round) *K2, yo, P1, P3tog, P1, yo* repeat to end of round
R4) Knit
Repeat these 4 rounds for pattern.


Adapting notes: To adapt this stitch to different patterns with different stitch counts, you can easily make the Knit columns wider or narrower, using however many stitches between the “purl shells” as you like.  You can adapt the Knit stitch columns to any width you want, to accommodate your stitch repeat count in your pattern, and also make it more or less lacey.   (On the doll gown, I started the stitch on the skirt part with the Knit columns wider, using 3 stitches, then decreasing down at the waistline to just 1 Knit stitch between the "purl shells").  Also, experiment with the amount of stockinette stitch rows between the pattern rows to increase or decrease the depth of the “purl shells” and the amount of open lace and denseness of the fabric.   And finally, you can play with the increases next to the “purl shells”, and instead of doing them as Yarn Overs, you can do Make 1, or Bar increases instead, thereby changing the amount of open lace created by doing the yarn overs. 

See why I love this stitch so muchSo simple, but pretty! That's why I had to use it as my wallpaper.  Hope you give it try on something.  It always impresses people, since it looks much harder to do than it is.