Saturday, February 14, 2015

Variations on a Theme

Recently, I got thinking about how the same stitch looks really different depending on how it is worked up.  So I did an experiment.  I started with a fairly generic pattern stitch:
stitch diagram/chart
The pattern stitch is basically 1 row of a traditional shell stitch, followed by a row with a V-stitch and a (sc, ch, sc) made in the middle of the shell of the previous row.  Both rows have a multiple of 6 stitches. (An aside: Actually, the (sc, ch, sc) is (sc, ch2, sc), but the (ch2) counts as one stitch, so whether it is actually 1 ch or 2 ch doesn't matter that much.)  The shell stitch makes a scallop; the V-stitch row straightens out the edge.  I made samples out of worsted weight yarn (Encore by Plymouth) in rows, triangles, rounds worked from the center out, and strips.  Staggering the two rows, there is a 4-row repeat.

Starting with the pattern in just rows:  the two pattern rows alternate, so the shell stitch row is always right side (RS) facing on one side and the V-stitch is always RS facing the other.  The two sides look different, making an orderly fabric that looks crocheted:

Rows - shell stitch RS facing - this looks smoother to me.
Rows - V-stitch RS facing looks a bit more rough.

Next, a triangle - starting at the center top at the back of the neck, small, and increasing out, with an increase line down the center.  The increase line in the middle adds a visual element that breaks up the order of the plain rows.  The last row is the two short sides with the scallop-y edge.   The (fairly) straight line across the top is the row ends.

Triangle - looser gauge

A looser gauge version (left) makes a squishy fabric, that drapes well in different directions.  In a tighter gauge (below), the long edge isn't so straight - that means the corner isn't really square.  Both triangles are the same size, but the one with the looser gauge is 2 rows shorter.

Triangle - tighter gauge - not so straight across the top




In the round, starting at center


How does stitching in the round look different?  It is more dynamic-looking than the straight rows, with increase lines radiating out from the center and stitches going in different directions.  Stitched as motifs and joined together, the increase lines would create a visual lattice crisscrossing the fabric.  Ending with a shell stitch round gives a scalloped edge.  Ending with a V-stitch round would make a straighter edge and also would make joining motifs easy in the last round, with a slip-stitch joining to the neighbor block replacing each ch-1.

One repeat edging
Then there could also be narrow strips:  A single repeat is asymmetric. The wider strip is a repeat-and-a-half to be symmetrical.  There's a lot of experimentation in crochet, using thread patterns with yarn and yarn / afghan patterns in thread to see how they look different.  These could be charming for a strip afghan, as edgings, weaving ribbon through the holes for baby headbands, or as bookmarks.
strip, handy for mile-a-minute construction

This is just a few variations on one pattern stitch, in one yarn.  I like to try out different stitches to see how the fabric plays out:

  • Is is better for garments or for afghans or for threadwork?  
  • Does the stitch pattern get lost in a loose gauge that drapes nicely?  
  • Does the fabric get too stiff in a firm gauge that shows up the stitches better?



No comments: