How to Crochet Love Knots

A diagram of 5 foundation stitch swatches: Love Knots of different vs same sizes, separated by chains, a novelty yarn, and plain chain stitches for contrast.
You’re ready for this intermediate-level topic if you already know crochet basics like these: how to make a slip knot, and how to crochet chain stitches and single crochets (UK: double crochet).

This lacy iconic stitch is a unique crochet experience. As a member of two unusual stitch families (Foundations and Pulled Loops) it shares some traits with chain stitches, Acacia Stitch, and even Loop Stitch.

Another Way to Bead Love Knot crochet Jewelry

It’s known by many names. In my 19th century English-language sources it was primarily “Knot Stitch” and occasionally “Hail Stone Stitch”. These names were replaced by “Solomon’s Knot” and “Lover’s Knot” by the mid-20th century. I haven’t pinpointed why after searching in over a hundred sources.

“Love Knot” is my personal favorite because it’s associated exclusively with the stitch without also referring to macramé, embroidery, or religion like the other two modern names do.

Your First Love Knots

Love Knots can magically serve as their own foundation row. As students exclaim in my Love Knot classes, “You mean I just make them in the air?” YES. Like magic (or like the chain stitch), you can crochet Love Knots right out of thin air.How to crochet a foundation row of love knots (lover's knot, Solomon's knot) in five steps

Step 1, The Loose Chain Stitch

Elongated Chain
Step One: Elongated Chain

Use a smooth, light-colored yarn and a crochet hook size that goes with the yarn. Make a slip knot and place the slip loop on your hook. Crochet a chain stitch. Now loosen the loop on your hook so that it’s about an inch long. Yarn over and pull the yarn through to make a loose chain. Compare the three loops of your loose chain to the A, B, and C loops in the drawing at right. Know Your ABCs!

Love Knots have a reputation for being tricky. Feeling unsure about which loop of the chain stitch to use is a common hurdle. (The next page addresses other hurdles.)

Now you’re ready for Step 2.

Step 2, Tie the Knot in That Love with a Single Crochet

Locking the Love Knot
Single crochet stitch in progress. Also see photos #2 & 3 above.

Single crochet in loop A: insert your hook between Loop A and the other two loops, yarn over (as shown in the next drawing), pull through the loop: 2 loops on your hook. Yarn over and pull through both loops on your hook to complete a normal single crochet. That’s it.

Step 3, One Love Knot, Now What?

You have one loop on your hook after completing the single crochet. You can now launch right into a second Love Knot, as shown in the pink yarn steps #4 & 5 above.

My suggestion to Love Knot newbies: Purposely make some of uneven sizes, like in the “A” row in the top photo (blue yarn). Once you feel confident, attempt to make each one the same size, like I did for the “B” one.

Beyond the Foundation Row

Lovebud Vines: beaded love knots.
Beaded Love Knots (Candied Color Charms pattern set).

You might be thinking, “I’m here for the lacy Love Knot mesh. I still don’t know how to do that.” I hear you because the stitch name is often also used for only one of many stitch patterns of this stitch. Your next step is to learn how to crochet into a row of Love Knots.

Wait though. Love Knots look so different depending on the yarn, and one row of Love Knots can be enough! I used a one row variation for the Lovepod Boa. Try a special thread and some beads for a quick necklace. I love wearing mine.

Explore some stitch variations. Instead of a single crochet in loop A (“the bump loop”) of the chain, I used a half double stitch for the Buffalo Knot Belt, a free pattern. For “C” and “D” in the topmost photo, I alternated Love Knots with chains and tried a novelty yarn.

You might also like:

I blogged an earlier three-part version of this material on 8/26/14 at my Crochet Pattern Companion blog.
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Star Stitch Crochet Scarf with Love Knots

Close up of Lovelace Ring Scarf: bands of love knot mesh alternate with star stitch bands.

Love Knot+Star Stitch Scarf: New Pattern!

A star stitch crochet scarf with love knots? (About as common as a love knot scarf with star stitches.) So beautiful together! I’m calling it Lovelace Ring Scarf.

UPDATE: Lovelace pattern is now in the Designingvashti Shop and Ravelry.

Why Star Stitches With Love Knots? The Story.

I first swatched it in 2014 for CGOA classes I would be teaching: A Star Stitch for Every Purpose (3 hours) and 21st Century Love Knot Adventures (3 hours). Back then I had to set it aside due to stitch compatibility issues. You might be able to see some of this in this first swatch.

Two years later a visitor to the DesigningVashti Facebook page requested the pattern. Again in deep crochet class prep mode, I had to put it off until after teaching and a series of seven crochet tutorials I’d agreed to do for the Cut Out & Keep site.

Double-stranded Lovelace swatch: sport weight Lotus and lace weight glittery mohair.
Alternate yarn idea: Love knots and star stitches both benefit when crocheted with two yarn strands held together. This is Satin Grey Lotus yarn with a lace weight metallic mohair.

By then the US election had just taken place. I appreciated the sweet, loving patterns crochet and knit designers were spontaneously posting. I returned to the 2014 attempts to blend stars and love knots in one pattern. It was a pleasure to finally polish it up into a fun, versatile, balanced stitch pattern. I hoped the idea of harmonizing and unifying two popular stitches of very different traditions might lift others’ spirits.

The basic stitch pattern is available here. I used it to make a 6.5″ square block with DK weight yarn and a G7/4.5 mm hook. A border would probably turn it into a 7″ block.

The Lovelace Ring Scarf design happened next because I needed a self-edging version. It came to me during Thanksgiving. As I lay there contemplating the stitch pattern I’d sent off to Cut Out & Keep, I wondered about giving the basic stitch pattern a selvage (no need to edge it later).

The start and end of the love knot section always looked a bit stringy and unstable to me. I also wanted to vary the texture bands and widen it for a lush, romantic ring scarf.

This is how Lovelace came to be.

Is a Love-Knot-to-Star-Stitch Scarf…Challenging?

Both are Intermediate-level crochet stitches but that doesn’t mean they’re difficult. I include tips and visual aids in the pattern that have worked in my classes. Most of Lovelace is rows of easy, familiar stitches like single and half double crochets (sc and hdc, or as they say in the UK: dc and htr).

These easy stitches are a backdrop to the fancy stitches. Like peacekeeping diplomats they harmonize relations between the two iconic, culturally powerful, individualistic “diva” stitches.

My experience of crocheting star stitches (stars) and love knots (LK) in the same pattern is that I get some comfort zone rows of simple stitches, then a spicy row or two, then more comfort zone.

Dramatic Differences Between Stars & Love Knots

I researched both of these two unique stitches deeply. I don’t recall ever seeing them combined in one stitch pattern. If you have, please let me know in the comments.

Love knots are reversible, star stitches are not. It was an issue with my early swatches.

Love knots are more independent than the usual crochet stitch, and star stitches are the other extreme. This shows in lots of ways. Add Love Knots anywhere like a chain stitch because it’s a type of foundation stitch. Each LK is distinct, complete, and recognizable from a distance.

Star stitches require context. The stitch just before it, after it, and often above it determine how recognizable each star is! 

Love knots likely originated as a southern lace, star stitches as a northern thermal fabric. LK were almost always crocheted in very fine cotton and silk threads for delicate and summery edgings, baby bonnets, and petite “opera bags”.

Stars have been used most often for making thick, dense coats and blankets in wool. Even when early stars looked like fine spidery lace, wool was the fiber of choice. (That’s why my unofficial name for the original swatch is “North and South stitch pattern“.)

Interesting Similarities Between Them

  • Both LK and stars are romantic, iconic, classic/old-fashioned, popular, and beloved.
  • Both originated in the early to mid-1800’s.
  • Both have long been favored for baby things. (Stars: baby blankets and coats; LK: sacques, bonnets, layette edgings.)
  • Both can be lacy. When star stitches are lacy, you’re looking at pulled loops, just like with LK.
  • Both start the same odd, non-intuitive way. I did a newsletter issue on it: “Starting a Stitch with a Backtrack“.
  • Crocheting them with two or more strands of yarn held together enhances their distinctive textures.

Hmm. Double or triple the width of Lovelace to make a stunning shrug or wrap!

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Tunisian Crochet Love Knots: Thoughts

Tunisian Crochet Love Knots, New Swatches

It’s been on my mind to incorporate love knots into Tunisian crochet since teaching the first Love Knots Adventures class in 2012. I don’t mean a few rows of love knot mesh alternated with a few rows of Tunisian simple stitch (Tss), which could also be interesting and pretty. I mean love knots thoroughly integrated—where the experience of crocheting the love knots feels seamlessly like other Tunisian crochet.

In the Forward Pass or the Return Pass?

For some reason, at first I thought only of making love knots during the Tunisian forward pass (while adding loops onto the hook). A few weeks ago I added love knots to the return pass (while working the loops off of the hook) and the possibilities are inspiring. Also, the experience of doing it feels like true Tunisian crochet love knots.

These are preliminary, so I haven’t tried turning them into actual stitch patterns yet. I think these are promising rough swatches though. I don’t recall ever seeing eyelets or buttonholes created within and by the return pass.

For these two swatches I used Tunisian extended stitches because they’re featured in a new class for July, Steeked Tunisian Lace. It’s just my go-to stitch right now. It has fascinating, sometimes unpredictable properties, so I make a point of using it whenever.

At first I got excited and thought, “Wow, a different kind of steek! OK no, a faux steek!” But actually I think its real promise is as a type of eyelet with the power to change the look of the return pass.

I just sent out a newsletter on steeking Tunisian crochet vs regular crochet stitches. If you haven’t seen it, have a look and compare it with the look of these “faux steeks”.

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Love Knot Crochet Class Resources

Official 2018 image for the 21st Century Love Knot Adventures class.
Updated on 7/18/18. View the above image full sizeThis is a conveniently clickable group of things I mention in 21st Century Love Knot Adventures classes. I teach the next one on July 25, 2018 in Portland OR. See student feedbackI show a huge amount of published and unpublished crochet designs in this class and I try new love knots for each class! Each illustrates the stitches and techniques learned.   — Vashti Braha

Thinking of signing up for this class? I wrote the Crochet Class in a Vest blog post with you in mind.

21st Century Love Knot Adventures

In crochet, the Love Knot is also known as Lover’s Knots and Solomon’s Knots. Before 1950 it was most commonly known as “Knot Stitch” and occasionally “Hail Stone Stitch.”

Downloadable Love Knot Crochet Patterns

Vashti’s Forthcoming Love Knot Patterns

As of 7/18/18.

Crochet Inspirations Newsletter Archive

​Love knots serve as important examples for several different newsletter topics!

Online Love Knot Collections

Love Knot How-To’s

Any Books on Crocheting Love Knots?

Yes! Jenny King wrote one: Crochet with Love Knots (Annie’s Crochet 2014).

Non-English Terms (notes)

Beaded Love Knots

Ravelry gallery of my 17 beaded love knot projects

Love Knot Links Miscellany

Older sources were first compiled for the 2012 class. All links work as of 4/05/18.

Crocheting the Love Knot Mesh

A row of love knots has been worked into a row of double crochets (an easy base). A second row of love knots is crocheted into the first row of them to create the classic lacy diamond mesh. This is a 19th cen. stitch pattern.
Start here first to learn how to crochet one Love Knot stitch, and a single string of them. (Depending on your project, it might be called “the foundation row” or “Row One” or, “Hey look, I just made a necklace/eyeglass cord/wrap bracelettie belt!”)

That Iconic Love Knot Mesh

Classic Love Knot mesh crocheted as a triangle, such as a shawl. One swatch was started in the bottom corner, the other swatch started at the top long edge and ended in the bottom corner.
Crocheting a triangular shawl of classic Love Knot mesh was a 1970’s craze.

You can see two completed rows of love knots in the above image. The first row is all just double crochet stitches (dc, or tr outside of the US). This 19th century stitch pattern is my first choice for teaching how to crochet the classic love knot mesh. I also used it for Sister Act, a pattern in Interweave Crochet Magazine that I haven’t yet added to my shop.

At right is the same mesh crocheted in a triangular shape. One started in the bottom corner then steadily increased to the top long edge. The other is the opposite: Steadily decreased from the top long edge to end at the bottom corner.

You need to know what to expect with all the love knot mesh pattern variations out there. Following that is the row by row pattern instructions for a starter love knot mesh.

Tricky Pattern Versions

I’m amazed by the variations of this mesh pattern! Many of them may look the same, but here’s how they can vary:

  • The foundation row might be all love knots, or all chains, or a mix. If love knots, it might be a straight edge of shorter ones, or echo the diamond-shaped spaces with full-sized ones. Starting with a row of double crochets is similar to all chains but it gives you a nice strip to grip.
  • How you start and end each row might be all love knots, like you see in the triangle swatches above. Or, start with turning chains and end with tall stitches, like the one in the topmost photo—see its tall stitch at the end of the row? Like the foundation row, using all love knots could result in straight row sides (half-diamond spaces) or be full diamond-shaped spaces (each row has a corner). This could entail mixing love knot sizes.
  • How you crochet into a love knot could be with a standard single crochet (sc, or dc outside of the US) in a love knot’s sc; or a sc just before and after its sc—also standard. Less common variations include something other than a sc, crocheting into more than 2 loops of the sc, and adding a tight ch to “lock” the sc.

Today Let’s Do the Easy One

Vashti’s recommended starter mesh for your “first love”: Classic Love Knot Mesh with foundation chains (ch), turning chs, and tall end stitches. Dc = double crochet (tr outside of US). Sc = single crochet (dc outside of US).  LK = Love Knot. Tr = treble crochet (dtr outside of US).

Ch 20 (or a multiple of 4).

Row 1: Dc in the fourth ch from your crochet hook, dc in each remaining ch: 17 dc, ch 1, turn.

Row 2: Sc in first dc, *2 half-inch-long LK, skip 3 dc, sc in next dc, repeat from * in remaining dc, ch 4, turn: 4 LK pairs.

Row 3: 1 LK, sc in the center sc of first LK pair, *2 LK, sc in the center sc of next LK pair, repeat from * twice, end with 1 LK, 1 tr in last sc of row, ch 1, turn.

Row 4: Sc in first stitch, *2 LK, sc in center sc of next LK pair, repeat from * twice, 2 LK, sc in top of ch-4, ch 4, turn.

Stitch symbol diagram for a simple love knot mesh that has a foundation ch, and the rows begin with turning chains and end with tall stitches. I use this diagram in my classes.Repeat Rows 3 and 4 for pattern.

Would you like a diagram for this? I have this one handy. It might help you visualize how the LK rows go together. Keep in mind that it omits the Row 1 dc.