Stitch Dictionaries and a CONTEST!

DSC00341Do you have any stitch dictionaries in your knitting library? I am somewhat of a stitch dictionary junky. I think I have most of them. I always have grand illusions of designing, and then I get bogged down with too many wonderful choices to play with. That didn’t stop me from being really excited when designer Debbie O’Neill told me that she was working on a new book – a stitch dictionary. I have always loved Debbie’s designs and knew the book would be great. (One of my very favorite Debbie designs is Celebratory Chevrons – free here on my blog. It’s one of the few sock patterns that I’ve chosen to knit more than once.) Last week, her publisher kindly sent me a copy of the new book – The Stitch Collection – and I dove in. Actually, it’s a slipcase with 5 smaller volumes tucked inside – Knit & Purl, Rib, Lace, Cables, and Specialty. 225 patterns in all. There are several things that make this one of my new favorites, and one that I will use frequently.

DSC00343– I love the smaller sized books. Most stitch dictionaries are filled with every possible combination and they are big and heavy. Not something I would tuck into my project bag or take along on a trip. And a bit overwhelming to leaf through.

– I love that each page gives you a skill level and a drape level. Sometimes you don’t know how it will work from the photo, and I haven’t seen these ratings in other stitch dictionaries.

– Also different (and a real benefit), I like that each stitch is explained, along with particular characteristics: “It pulls in dramatically, but is very elastic. It will lie flat along the cast-on edge, but will tend to curl along the side edges.”

DSC00342– I also appreciate the suggestions for use: “… can be used as an edge stitch for sweaters, hats, mittens or gloves, or as a panel or an overall pattern in an elaborate sweater.”

– And a few warnings on some, like: “This stitch pattern comes off the needles looking slanted, and a good blocking evens it out nicely. However, you may want to avoid using it across large areas because the larger the area, the harder it is to block out the slant.”

My only wish? I wish these were spiral bound. I think I will pop by Office Max and have mine done. (Do you do that with your favorite knitting books? I think it’s so handy to be able to open books all the way and have them lie flat when in use.) Also, there are no charts. But as someone who seldom knits from charts, that wasn’t a big deal for me. When I want to take written directions and turn them into charts, I’ve been using this program. Very easy to use, with great tutorials.

So all of this (stitch dictionaries, designing software) leads to the contest question of the month – have you ever tried to design something of your own to knit or crochet? Does the thought of it sound interesting, intimidating, or invigorating? Β Leave your answer in the comments and we’ll use the random generator to draw winners for $30 Gift Certificates to The Loopy Ewe next week!

Sheri whothinkssomeofyouaredesignersandyoudon’tevenknowityet!


  1. I have stitch dictionaries but have been too much of a coward to do anything with them other than blanket squares. Maybe next year’s resolution will be to design something!

  2. I’ve been knitting for one year and the only items I’ve ‘designed’ myself are super basic things like baby hats with no real pattern.
    I did try to create a sock pattern but royally messed it up 3 times and ultimately decided I needed more experience than having knitted just one pair of socks. πŸ˜›

  3. I love designing things! It’s fun to come up with an idea and see it go from the graph paper to yarn. My stitch dictionaries are full of bookmarks and sticky notes, and open to some pages by themselves πŸ™‚ Socks and shawls are my main creations. I think the hardest thing is actually writing down your pattern for other people!

  4. Nope not a chance! I love to knit and crochet but designing sounds to scary! I think I will just stick to making up all the beautiful things other peopole thought of.

  5. I haven’t done any actual designing, just modifying. My brain doesn’t seem to be wired to understand stitch structures well enough to visualize the end results, so it would be time-consuming trial and error for me. I’m happy to buy patterns from other designers and spend my time actually knitting.

  6. Just finished designing my first toe-up sock pattern for one of the Ravelry groups. Charts are done, test knitting done and the PDF is just waiting to be released.

  7. my designs are still very very basic–ribs and cables right now. once i have more funds, i hope to purchase the whole vogue stitchonary.

  8. I’ve “winged” a few sock designs but they were very simple. I knit my Grandfather-in-law a sweater that was a compilation of my own ideas and Meg Swanson’s. I’d like to knit my husband a cabled sweater soon but I will use EZ’s guidelines and come up with the motif myself – not exactly “designing” but close enough! πŸ™‚

  9. I have a very old Barbara Walker Treasury of stitches I bought in the 1970’s. I still use it a lot but would really love to win a newer version! I have designed two pairs of socks and many sweaters, I love to design knits!


  10. I have never designed anything – I don’t think I am creative enough. However, that new book may help me along.

  11. It’s not that I don’t think about it BUT there are so many wonderful patterns out there that I would rather produce than design. I just don’t want to take the time to figure it out.

  12. Not yet, but I plan to start πŸ˜‰ I do have the Crochet Stitch Bible which has given me some great ideas. I am saving up to get all of the Barbara Walker stitch dictionaries to refer to as well. Even if you don’t use them to design stuff, they are great reference and inspiration materials!

  13. I tried to design a sock in June for the Sock Knitter’s Anonymous challenge on Ravelry but didn’t get very far. Or should I say I got too far – having marked about 40 patterns in the 2 Barbara Walker stitch treasuries that I own. Couldn’t even get it narrowed down to lace or cable or knit and purl types. Maybe some year but, really, there are so many amazing patterns out there already that I am not sure why I would want or need to make my own.

  14. I have designed a number of things…hat, socks, vest, pullover…my issue is moving from design to published pattern. Only one has made it — Ann’s Cap, a free pattern on Ravelry under TwinSet designs. My sister, twinsetellen, has been more productive in converting designs to patterns. Several of hers are available there too.

  15. I haven’t designed anything yet, but it is something I think I might like to try in the near future!

  16. I just got the latest lace stitchionary from Vogue but haven’t been brave enough yet to design anything.

  17. I don’t really have a desire to design my own. I do have a few favorite stitch patterns that I would lile to tinker with a little bit. One I’ve only found in rectangular stoles, and wonder how I could make it into a triangular shawl. The other I want to put a wavy border around to see if I can make it POP just a little more.
    I think both would look stunning in a semi-solid, maybe that pale green Schaefer Anne or a semi-solid Schaefer Audrey. I just LOVe their yarns!

  18. I have thought about designing – but there are just too many patterns already out there I still want to knit or crochet!!

  19. Yes, I’ve designed several things. The only one I’ve made available to others is my Windowpane Felted Bag (which is available on Ravelry). I get a lot of compliments on it. I have big plans for designing in the future. I’d love to be the “Toe up Cookie A” at some point but with 4 kids and homeschooling I’m not likely to do it any time soon.

  20. I’ve “designed” things, but never shared them. Especially when I crocheted, I liked making blankets with samplers of different stitches, or making bowls with different colors that I just kept on going until it was a size/shape I liked. Nothing professional.

    I don’t know if intimidated is the right word. I think it’s more that i like moving on to the next thing too much to write down what I did on the last thing. πŸ™‚

  21. I designed a washcloth but it wasn’t a very complicated one. Designing anything else tends to scare me a bit.

  22. I’m really afraid to design my own knit project unless I’m knitting a scarf. Anything else requires too much planning (increasing, decreasing, etc) and I’m afraid of wasting my time and yarn on a project that I might take apart.

  23. I started working on designing a pair of socks in a Cookie A class and have not gotten back to them. It is also hard to work on socks when it is so so hot outside and you know you will not wear them for-ev-ah!

  24. I have used stitch dictionaries to help design and inspire afghans, scarves, prayer shawls & socks. It is rewarding.

  25. I designed a wrap for the fall. Turned out pretty much like I envisioned, but hey, it is just a big ole rectangle! I am using a stitch dictionary to design a simple scarf as well.

  26. I have quite few stitch dictionaries. I peruse them for patterns to use on socks and scarves, but I’ve never combined stitches to make a bigger project. I’d like to design my own sweater or shawl some day.

  27. I tried to design a shrug once. I never got the project off the ground though. It is so much harder than I thought it would be. From that point on, I decided to let the real designers do the designing πŸ™‚

  28. I designed a pair of mittens, and tried to design a pair of socks but that didn’t work out so well. I think it was mostly a result of not bothering to write down the pattern, so when I picked it up after setting it down, the cables were spaced different numbers of rows apart… Maybe I won’t be so lazy on my next try.

  29. I’ve done several pair of socks. Nothing fancy, I just pick a stitch pattern I like and adapt it to my standard sock formula. One of these days I’ll try my hand at a shawl.

  30. I have a stitch dictionary (Vogue?) but rarely crack it open… I’m still a novice knitter so I need to finish a few more projects first before I’ll think about designing!

  31. Once my friend wanted me to knit him something really grotesque, so I got some horrible yarn and created a hat that buttons up and has scarves coming out the sides with pockets. And, of course, a huge pom pom on top. That’s the extent of my designing experience, though.

  32. I’m still learning how to perfect some of my knitting, especially socks. Designing is far off in the future.

  33. I have several stitch dictionaries and love to try different patterns making dish cloths and small projects, thats about as daring as it gets. I agree with alot of people, there already is alot of wonderful out there , I don’t want to mess with perfection.

  34. I’ve just been asked recently to try working out a shawl pattern with certain design elements. Right now the ideas are simmering in my mind while I knit on sooooooooo many other projects. πŸ˜‰

  35. I love the idea of stitch dictionaries and designing. I’ve tried a few times to design things, but they’ve not yet been completed. I have a colorwork sock I’ve been messing around with designing for a while, but the results just haven’t been quite right. I think I’d like to try my hand at sweaters next!

  36. I love stitch dictionaries. When I first learned to knit I made up the design for my first scarf. I was so proud of it and wore it the entire weekend.

  37. I have tried and failed a few times. It works better when I keep it as simple as possible. But I worry that if it’s too simple, other people have already done it, so what would be the point of me putting it out there. I am nowhere near being able to design the complicated stuff I have drawn.

    I think the main factor though, is giving myself two months straight of working on it. I have to have solid hours of time to work on things. I have a whole lot of knitting and frogging I have to get out of my system usually before I settle down to what I’m going to do.

  38. OMG…typing that out, I just figured out how I’m going to make a pattern for a complicated color stole…and it might only take a 1/2 a month to do the design if it works out! I’m so glad I just came in here. If it works out I’ll give you notice.

  39. Never yet tried to design anything. I don’t think I have the mathematical mind for it. Still learning how to adapt patterns to fit me or my skills. Maybe some day.

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