If you’ve ever picked up a stitch dictionary or explored our wonderful StitchFinder, you may find yourself in love with a stitch pattern and wondering just what to do with it. Incorporating a stitch pattern into a project can be a fun experiment. Today, I go over a few of the considerations to keep in mind as you get started.
When you’re making an afghan or scarf, start by swatching your stitch pattern in your desired yarn. This will allow you to test and adjust your hook or needle size so that your fabric is as dense or loose as you like. By swatching the stitch pattern, you’ll also know how wide each repeat of the pattern is. Let’s say my swatch shows me that each repeat of my selected stitch pattern is 4 inches wide, then I know that for an 12-inch wide scarf that’s completely in my stitch pattern without a border, I’ll need to cast on for 3 repeats (12 ÷ 4 = 3).
The other thing to decide is whether or not I want a contrasting border (ribbing, garter, seed stitch, etc.). For some stitch patterns, which naturally bow or ripple, a contrast stitch border will not be necessary, since you’ll want to showcase the uniqueness of the fabric’s edge. But for others like lace and cable patterns, you may want a border to give the design a sense of definition and neatness. To factor this into the design, you’ll want to make sure to add in the extra stitches to cast on or chain before getting started.