I have been knitting and crocheting for a number of years now and it is interesting to note that I don't have many stitch dictionaries. The number one reason for this may be that I haven't really done any pattern concocting of myself, (which I am really hoping to change this year).
Not having a wide assortment of dictionaries hasn't really created a problem for me, even when I did try to create a pattern of my own. It is because I found my stitch patterns a different way. Namely, magazines.
With every knitting/crochet magazine there comes projects and with projects, stitch patterns. I have found it to be real easy to pull a stitch pattern from any knitting/crochet project. Take a look at the Jan/Feb 2007 issue of Crochet Today, for instance:
This was the first issue I received and I still remember the gorgeous stitch pattern designer Marianne Forrestal (whose the designer of the Log Cabin Throw I am working on), used in the Perfectly Pretty Pillows pattern.
Aren't they something? The stitch pattern is made up of dc rows and hdc/sc rows that alternate. And the whole project is doused with gorgeous beads that add sparkle and definition. Wonderful combination! Now wouldn't it be pretty nifty if we could take this stitch pattern and utilized it in some other fashion? I'm seeing it used in a solid afghan or pullover. Hm, I wonder what it will look like if two different colored yarns are used. Intriguing. . .
There are two methods of finding the stitch pattern amongst the instructions of a crochet pattern. Using the written pattern OR using the stitch diagram, if it is included. I am sure there is a more mathematical way of doing this but I have found my two approaches to be quick and easy. You just need to be familiar in distinguishing the different crochet stitches (i.e. sc, hdc, dc, tc, etc.)
Using the Written Pattern:
1. Most flat (not round) crochet patterns start something like this example: Ch 32. Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across: 31 sc. Ch 2 (counts as first hdc now and throughout), turn. Take note of how many chains are skipped at the beginning (if they are at all), and how many stitches are formed during the first row. So for my example, you skip 1 ch and formed 31 stitches.
Tip: If you are trying to find the stitch pattern and the starting line tells you to do an outrageous amount of chains, try cutting it down to a manageable number. I mean, who wants to do 99 chains when a small swatch is all you need? 30 chains is a good number to choose.
Hold on a sec, what are multiples? In a crochet stitch dictionary you will find this term used with every single stitch pattern. You might find something like "Multiples of X" or "Multiples of X plus X". But what does it mean? In math, a multiple is a number that can be divided by another without leaving a remainder. Such as 3 is a multiple of 6 and 4 is a multiple of 8. It is exactly the same in crochet. The stitch pattern can be completed in its entirety using a designated "special number" (aka multiple).
And in some occurrences the stitch pattern cannot be completed using only a multiple. In this case an extra stitch or stitches are added to the multiple giving you Multiples of X plus X.
So let's use my example line above and find its multiple. We chained 32, skipped the first ch, and sc in the remaining 31 chains, leaving us with 31 sc total. So 2 is the multiple of 32. (16 x 2 = 32)
2. Now start following the crochet pattern until you believe you have made a full repeat of the stitch pattern. Sometimes this may take one row or multiple rows, it all depends upon the level of the stitch pattern's complexity. Count how many rows it took to make a full repeat.
3. Now you have the full recipe for your stitch pattern. Write down the multiple you found (which is 2), and the instructions for the stitch pattern rows to make one repeat.
That is my first approach in finding a stitch pattern. Tomorrow I will write about my stitch diagram method; which, to me, is a little bit easier than the first. See you soon!