Wing Feather (F3)

knitted wing feather

Please think of this pattern as version 1.0, I'll work on revisions but this is the best feather I've managed so far. The vanes of the feather are picked up from an i-cord shaft.

A printable version of this pattern is available.

You will need:

  • double knit in light and dark shades
  • covered thin gauge wire
  • 3 x double ended knitting needles (3mm)
  • tapestry needle
  • scissors


(A list of abbreviations is available.)


  • Cast on 3 stitches in the dark yarn.
  • I-cord 62 rows.
  • Thread yarn through remaining stitches.

First Vane:

Thread a knitting needle down through the centre of the i-cord shaft. When you part one column of stitches along the stem you will see a row of parallel loops across the needle.

pick up i-cord stitches

Starting at the very tip of the i-cord pick up and rib 56 stitches with the light yarn – that is pick up and knit the first loop, pick up and purl the second. Keep going until there are 56 stitches on the needle. A short length of i-cord will remain at the end. Slip it off the needle.

Work the following sets of stitches to build up the vane. They are labelled as 'sets' rather than 'rows' because you only work end to end on the stitches once.

  1. Set 1: k1, p1, turn/
  2. Set 2: k1, p1, turn/
  3. Set 3: [k1, p1] x 2, turn/
  4. Set 4: [k1, p1] x 2, turn/
  5. Set 5: [k1, p1] x 3, turn/
  6. Set 6: [k1, p1] x 3, turn/
  7. Set 7: sl1, p1, [k1, p1] x 3, turn/
  8. Set 8: [k1, p1] x 3, k1, turn/
  9. Set 9: p1, [k1, p1] x 4, turn/
  10. Set 10: [k1, p1] x 4, turn/
  11. Set 11: [k1, p1] x 5, turn/
  12. Set 12: [k1, p1] x 4, k1, turn/
  13. Set 13: p1, [k1, p1] x 5, turn/
  14. Set 14: [k1, p1] x 5, turn/
  15. Set 15: [k1, p1] x 6, turn/

Repeat sets 14 and 15 seven more times.

  1. Set 30: [k1, p1] x 5, turn/
  2. Set 31: [k1, p1] x 6, k1, turn/
  3. Set 32: [p1, k1] x 5, turn/
  4. Set 33: [p1, k1] x 6, p1, turn/
  5. Set 34: [k1, p1] x 5, turn/
  6. Set 35: [k1, p1] x 7, turn/

Repeat sets 34 and 35 four more times.

  1. Set 44: [k1, p1] x 5, turn/
  2. Set 45: [k1, p1] x 5

To finish we are going to separate out the knit and purl stitches onto different needles and then graft them together. (Alternatively look up the invisible bind-off method for rib which does the same thing without having to separate out the stitches.)

Slip the first knit stitch onto a needle and hold at the front of the work. Slip the next stitch (a purl) onto a second needle and hold at the back of the work. Continue until all knit stitches are at the front on the first needle and all purl stitches are at the back on the second.

separate knit and purl stitches

Use Kitchener stitch to graft the two sets of stitches together.

Second Vane:

Thread the knitting needle back down through the centre of the i-cord. It will be tighter this time so you may need to use a size down. Pick up and rib 56 stitches down the opposite side of the i-cord to the first vane. Make sure to start at the same end of the feather as before.

  1. Set 1: [k1, p1] x 2, turn/
  2. Set 1: k1, p1, turn/

Repeat sets 1 & 2 until you reach the end of the row. Repeat set 2 twice more.

Graft the knit and purl stitches together as for the first vane.

Making Up:

A piece of covered wire can be inserted into the i-cord to help the feather keep its shape. Bend over the ends for safety.

Work in the loose ends of yarn to finish.


Needle/Yarn Size

As with most ODDknit patterns the yarn and needle sizes in the "you will need" section are just a guide. Feel free to improvise with whatever needles and yarn you have lying around - that's half the fun!