Étude no. 13: making a coordinating stitch pattern

There’s a lot of shawls and sweaters that make use of fancy lace, but that also have sections of simpler or smaller lace – having the contrast can make the fancy lace stand out more.

Often the simpler lace is a mesh of some sort, like Feathered Lace Ladder. Other times it’s a simpler lace with a similar feel that fits in the right number of stitches, as Embossed Leaf Lace might, depending on the more complex pattern.

I’ve been wondering for a while if it might be possible to use a subset of the rows of a fancy stitch to make a simpler lace that would coordinate well with the fancy stitch pattern. The only way to find out is to try! So I did, with several samples.

I made a guess that for purposes of flow, the best way to do this would be to use the last few rows of the fancy stitch, or maybe the first few. I tried a few things, and here they are.


wildfire with top 2.jpg

Here is one variation on my Wildfire. I worked rows 13-16 of the chart for a total of 16 rows, and then I worked one full repeat of Wildfire.

wildfire with bottom 3.jpg

This is another variation on Wildfire. In this case I worked rows 1-6 three times for a total of 18 rows, and then I worked one full repeat of the stitch pattern.

(Because of the particular method I used for laying out the Wildfire code, it turns out that the excerpts also say things using the same letters. Sort of. The first swatch says re-re-re-re-wildfire. The second swatch says wil-wil-wil-wildfire.)

frost with bottom 2.jpg

Here’s the third sample I made. In this case, I worked the first two rows of Frost 4 times, but decided to make an extra experiment. Since the large stitch pattern is designed to be offset, I thought I’d try that with the excerpt, too. (In other words, [Rows 1-4, then Rows 17-20] x 2, followed by Rows 1-16.)   I really like the result! I might have also really liked it without the offsets, but I had to stop knitting swatches and do other things.

(This one accidentally uses an excerpt of the  letters of the word, but even less helpfully. It says f-f-f-f-frost. Sort of shivery, I suppose.)


I am now quite sure this would work for many larger stitch patterns — and not just ones I’ve designed. I could definitely see using any of the excerpted versions of the stitches below as an allover pattern for a while, followed by working the complete stitch pattern either once or multiple times, depending on the desired effect. Why not give it a try with a stitch pattern you love?

It’s hard to suggest a way to know how many rows to excerpt. I would say that it’s just a simple matter of guesswork (which I used in the first swatch below), except that when I looked at the chart before knitting the second one, I found myself certain that it needed to be three right-side rows instead of two, based on my experience when designing the original lace. That said, trial and error with a swatch shouldn’t be too difficult either – and would be educational if you’re learning about lace structure. When I first started my lace design adventures, seeing what didn’t work was as useful as seeing what did.

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