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How to Knit the Feather and Fan Stitch

Sometimes called the Old Shale Stitch, this stunning lace stitch is great for first-time lace knitters!

How to Knit the Feather and Fan Stitch

The feather and fan stitch is one of the most popular lace stitches in the world of knitting and for a good reason -- it's gorgeous! You might also know this stitch as the Old Shale stitch, but no matter what you call it, there's a lot of dimension to this stitch, and the increases and decreases will give you that nice, wavy edge that's associated with this stitch.

While this particular lace stitch looks very complicated, it's actually a good one for knitters who are just learning the knits and purls of lacing. For the most part, the yarn overs and k2togs line up nicely across the rows, so it's great for learning how to "read" your knitting and approach lace in a more intuitive way, beyond just following the pattern itself.

One other great this about the feather and fan stitch is that it's just a 4-row repeat! Because of that, you can squeeze this stunning design into just about any scarf, shawl, or hat you can imagine. That said, the true beauty of this stitch starts to show itself after a couple of repeats of the pattern, so having just one 4-row piece of feather and fan isn't going to give you the shape you're probably expecting.

Watch and Learn


  1. Yarn
  2. Corresponding knitting needles

How to Knit the Feather and Fan Stitch

Casting On

Cast on a multiple of 18 stitches.

Row 1:

Knit across.

Row 2:

Purl across.

Row 3:

Knit 2 together three times
Yarn over, knit 1 six times
Knit 2 together three times

This is the only row that will have increasing and decreasing stitches. These are the stitches that create the decorative eyelets in the pattern as well as what gives the fabric its curve.

Feather and Fan Stitch Row 3

Row 4:

Knit across.

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Does this pattern look good with other weights of yarn? Does it look good with 3 or 4 repetitions side by side? Would you alternate the starting stitch on the pattern, or continue to place one arch over another? I would like to make an ascot of this pattern with dk weight yarn.


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