My Design Process Part 2a: The Stitch Pattern

In the last instalment, I wrote about how a particular shape or stitch patterns inspired my designs and used two of my designs to illustrate this.

In this post we'll look at how I decide upon a stitch pattern. As mentioned previously with the Join The Crew Cowl, the main body of the project was going to be plain, so I wanted the border to have a stitch that would hold the makers interest.

I initially thought about cables, but not wanting to take away too much attention from the main part of the cowl, I opted for something subtle. At the time I had finished working on the Chicory cardigan, for a relative. It features elongated stitches which fan out from one stitch.

Chicory Top designed by Sarah Pope

This was a stitch that I had never worked before and I loved how the elongated stitches sat on the reverse stocking background. Obvious I wanted to adapted it someone, so went about working on samples. Initially there were going to be columns of elongated stitches spanning out from the base of the border. Though this did look good to start, as each round developed, it wasn't having the desired impact.

Join The Crew short row border

Something else was needed to highlight these elongated stitches, so as well as moving them to the centre of the border, I also paired them with twisted stitches. This helped give the effect of the elongated stitches travelling up the border and moving them meant they were now the focal point.

Once the border stitch pattern was decided upon, it was time to crunch numbers. How many stitches was I going to cast on? The cowl had to be close to the neck but not too snug. Well, it's times like these that I'm grateful for sites like Ravelry, I looked up cowls that were similar in size to what I wanted and used their dimensions to calculate the number of stitches I would have based on a rough gauge.

Taking the number of stitches required for the elongated stitches motif, I then decided how many stitches I wanted between each motif. This number was multiplied until I got to a figure that was close to my initial stitch count.

For example if...

the total number of stitches calculated (based on the size) was 150, the number of stitches in the motif was 7 and I wanted 4 stitches between each motif, then...

I'd calculate
7+4 = 11, then...

just keep adding 11 until I'd get close to 150, the two closest numbers would be 143 or 154, in this instance I would go with 154 sts.

So now I have my stitch pattern and stitch count, but before I could start I had to consider the cast on. Being an item that came in one size and being someone who sometimes has their hair braided, and at other times, wears head wraps, I had to be certain that the cowl would go over various head sizes, but without being too big or losing it's shape. There was only on cast on I knew that could do this, and that was a tubular cast on. This cast on is extremely stretchy and has a rounded edge.

With everything in place, I was able to get started... Now, Feather Family required a different approach, which I will talk about in the next instalment.

What stitch patterns have inspired you to make something of your own?