Chromatism – a free knit pattern

Chromatism - free knit pattern

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What do you make with just one ball of worsted weight Chroma yarn? You could make a hat. Or a pair of gloves. Or leg warmers. Or a tea-pot cozie. And I considered all those before I decided on a button up, lace-y neck warmer.

Chromatism - a free knit pattern

I’m calling it Chromatism because its designed specially for one ball of worsted weight Chroma yarn. I had to get the thickness and the length just right so that it would show colorway to its best advantage. That took a fair amount of trail and error and you’ll never get me to admit how many times I started over.

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But all the fuss and botheration was worth it. The edges are made in seed stitch which is kind of perfect for Chroma yarn. I think seed stitch looks best when its made with a softy spun, singly ply yarn. Those “seeds” just pop right out.

The seed stitch edge in Chromatism

As for the lace-y middle, that’s Horseshoe.

Horsehoe lace in Chromatism

Ever try Horseshoe Lace? Its so elegant and sophisticated and yet, its only a 6-row repeat. Its made with just four stitches: knits, purls, yarn overs, and a double decrease. The lace forms arches, like stacks of horseshoes. Its a folk pattern that comes from the Shetland Isles, those northernmost islands at the tippiest top of Scotland and it helped to make the Shetland knitters famous.

Some Shetland knitters totally showing off. I would too if I made that! image from Shetland Museum archive.

They are pretty famous for their Fair Isle color work too. And for their Fisher Rib. Those old-time Shetland knitters were simply masters of the craft. Queen Victoria knew good needlework when she saw it and she commissioned dozens of Shetland lace shawls both for herself and to give as gifts. It didn’t take long before nobles and royals from all over the world were ordering lace from the Shetland Isles. Which is probably when the traditional lace patterns, that had been handed down from generation to generation, were first written down.

How lucky for us that they were. Now knitters from all over the world make Shetland lace. If you’ve made Feather and Fan, aka Old Shale, then you were following in the footsteps of those Shetland knitters. They of course worked with gossamer lace, and usually only white. They made shawls that were so fine and airy they could pass through a wedding ring.

From Shetland Lace Shawls, a knitter working with the traditional materials and patterns of the Shetland Isle to keep the tradition alive.

But today we have a smorgasbord of yarns to choose from and Shetland lace work is done in all kinds of colors and fibers and weights. I decided to make Chromatism in Horseshoe Lace. It just felt right, working an antique lace pattern in a thoroughly modern yarn.

And I’m glad I did. Horseshoe lace is “meaty” enough to show off the colors but lace-y enough to be delicate. Here is how I made mine:

Chromatism – a pattern for one ball of worsted weight Chroma yarn

Chromatism - a free knit pattern
  • 1 ball of Chroma Worsted in colorway Dear Diary
  • US size 6 (4mm) needles
  • 5 buttons
  • Tapestry needle to sew in ends


About gauge

My gauge with this yarn/needle combination is 18 sts = 4 inches (10 cm) in seed stitch. That gauge is what allowed me to get the striping pattern you see here. Also, with this gauge I had 10 g of yarn left over. So if your gauge is slightly different from mine, you should still be okay. You shouldn’t run out of yarn.



  • k – knit
  • p – purl
  • M1 – make one (an increase) using backwards e-loop cast on. You can find a photo tutorial right here.
  • YO – yarn over (an increase)
  • CDD – centered double decrease = slip two stitches together knit-wise, knit the next stitch, pass the two slipped stitches over

Finished dimensions (after blocking)

9.5 inches (24 cm)  x 29 inches (74 cm)


To begin: Cast On 43 sts

To make an edge with button holes

Rows 1-8: *k1,p1* until 1 st left, k1

Row 9: *(k1,p1) 3 times, k1, Bind Off 1, p1, Bind Off 1* until 3 sts left, k1, p1, k1

Row 10: (k1, p1) 2 times, M1 2 times, *(k1, p1) 3 times, M1 2 times* until 5 sts left, (k1,p1) 2 times, k1

Rows 11-18: *k1, p1* until 1 st left, k1


Horseshoe Lace

Row 1: k1, p1 *YO, k2, CDD, k2, YO, p1* until 1 st left, k1

Row 2, 4 & 6: k1, *k1, p7* until 2 sts left, p1, k1

Row 3: k1, p1, *k1, YO, k1, CDD, k1, YO, k1, p1* until 1 st left, k1

Row 5: k1, p1, *k2, YO, CDD, YO, k2, p1* until 1 st left, k1

Work Rows 1 – 6 a total of 24 times.


To make an edge without buttonholes:

Rows 1-18: *k1, p1* until 1 st left, k1


Bind off and weave in ends. Choose 5 buttons, each approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, sew in and enjoy your Chromatism!

Chromatism - a free knit pattern
Feline Overlord wasn’t in any of the other pictures and that is just not right. Hopefully this will make up for that.

Updated to Add: I have a second free knit pattern that makes use of another old Shetland lace motif. Its called Shetland Glory and you can grab your copy right here. 

Shetland Glory – a free knit pattern using the Crown of Glory motif
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39 Comments on "Chromatism – a free knit pattern"

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Cindy C

Thank you Jenn.


Beautiful!!!! Wish I was an experienced knitter to do this!!! 🙂


Oh! Me, too! I’m still at the knit a row, purl a row, repeat 40 times,xrealize you screwed up 10 rows ago and curse a blue streak trying to figure out how to undo ten rows without unraveling ALL 82 rows! Grrrrrr!


I crochet and knitting is still new to me… trying!! LOL 🙂


This is beautiful! I have to get some of that Chroma. I’m going to do this. I have one skein of Unforgettable in Tidal which has very subtle color gradients. That should make up nice. I still haven’t gotten the circs to do your Fasinator. Note to self: order Chroma and needles! Thank you so much for sharing and give Miss Overlord a tummy rub from me.


Beautiful! I love this pattern thank you!


Jenn, I hate to be a pain but the lace pattern says work rows 1-6, 24 times but I only see 5 rows. What am i missing?


On row 2 it says rows 2, 4 and 6. There were only actually four rows listed. Maybe you already figured that out?