|If Stitch Patterns Could Speak
I’m fired up about publishing my own stitch “dictionaries.” Why keep my new stitch patterns to myself? Oddly, this isn’t commonly done or talked about by indie designers. I've been exploring this uncharted territory this week.
If you're an avid stitch pattern collector like I am, I’d love to hear from you about what you love or don't about the stitch books you use.
How might I publish a stitch collection the Vashti way? I’ve just finished writing the Liebling Shrug pattern (for SIX sizes!; more on this in the lower right column). I developed the Wicker Stitch pattern specially for the shrug. Along the way, I created some Wicker variations and learned why Tunisian crochet lace works the way it does. Then, I learned even more when I taught it in several classes locally.
What if a stitch pattern could speak? Each one has unique potentials of stretchiness, lacy transparency, and drape. A stitch pattern can change dramatically in looks and behavior just by changing the hook size, or yarn type, or how it’s used. You wouldn’t know it from a traditional book of stitch patterns, but that’s understandable. Limited print space has prevented these variations from being pursued in the past.
I also wonder, what if we put the person back into the stitch dictionary? There’s no voice in a traditional stitch collection! Sometimes I wonder about the person behind the stitches. I wonder who created them, what they had in mind; what variation they rejected in favor of this one; which ones they itched to start projects with. I’d at least like the option to know a bit more about the process or context!
As a teacher and designer, I’ve directly witnessed new stitches and stitch combinations happen all the time.
For example, below is a new Tunisian stitch pattern that one of my students created by mistake while trying to do the Wicker Stitch. I call it "Cathy's Happy Accident." It became a beautiful scarf. The next photo is the same stitch pattern in a different yarn and gauge. The eyelets are much smaller and would work well for a sweater.
Then I thought about what it really means for crochet and for publishing that the actual number of crochet stitch patterns is infinite. The old-school nature of stitch dictionary publishing can give an authoritative (even authoritarian) impression of the opposite: as if there is such a thing as a “complete” collection, a finite number; or that it offers only the 300 stitch patterns that matter. To me, any collection of stitch patterns is like someone dipped a net in a river while schools of fish swam by: all the fish that got away are the unpublished stitch patterns!
Isn't the huge amount of crochet stitch combinations exciting and addictive? Some people are dazzled by this feature and learn how to crochet because of it. The thing is, we stitch dictionary addicts know that most of the same stitch patterns are recycled when new stitch collections are published. Regardless of whether a book says it offers 101, 250, or even 500 stitches, we know we already have most of them in other books. We buy them anyway on the chance that there will be something truly new included with the same-old. Also, some familiar stitch patterns can be brought to life by different photography, fiber, gauge, or color(s).
Why not publish stitch patterns that have never been published before? Truly NEW ones. That's what I want to do. There are plenty more waiting to be discovered!
That's it for issue #23! If you know someone who would enjoy this kind of newsletter, please forward this to them so that they can subscribe. (Click here to subscribe: ) If you have any comments or suggestions, please email me. Thanks! --Vashti
|Inventing Pattern Stitches
This is Aero. She's Tunisian and likes summertime. She's growing up quickly into a proper pattern pdf. Her progress
She also represents a whole group of stitch patterns that don't seem to be published anywhere already.
3 Links I Enjoyed This Week
- Tricoter was Kristin Espinasse's French word of the day at her blog
recently. It means to knit
; "tricot crochet" and "crochet a tricoter" refer to Tunisian crochet. http://bit.ly/pavenu
- Gorgeous retro crochet dress by margosha_b http://bit.ly/plZZl2
- The Laughing Willow blogger posted
how to seam Tunisian Knit stitch http://bit.ly/q6PowE
Please give Liebling Shrug
a warm welcome, she's had a long journey! The pattern is omg-finally available: Six sizes (XSmall, S, M, L, 1X, 2X) in one pdf
Also will add to Ravelry by tomorrow. Check Liebling's project pg
is the younger sister of Liebling Shrug and Weightless Wrap http://bit.ly/rutHc3
I'll make this pattern available next, in 2 forms: (1) as a simple scarf; (2) the same scarf pattern plus a Wicker Stitch Collection of variations, and an in-depth article about how this kind of Tunisian lace works. A Wicker variation:
Does it look related to Wicker?
Night-Blooming Cereus has been lighting up the neighborhood like giant starry daisies!