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StitchFinder: Tips for Using the StitchFinder: A Starter Guide

Sometimes when knitting or crocheting, we don’t need an entire pattern. We’re just looking for a stitch pattern, a trim, a motif, or decorative element to add to our project or to use as a jumping off point for our own designs. That’s when a stitch dictionary or motif book can be useful. The StitchFinder contains great useful stitches, sampled with permission, from some of our favorite stitch dictionaries and motif books.

What yarn do I use with these stitch patterns?

The stitch patterns and motifs in the StitchFinder can be worked in any yarn you wish. Since these stitch patterns and motifs are general directions, they can be made in any yarn. Some use a little bit of a few colors and are a great way to use up scrap yarn. They are also a great way to try out new colors and types of yarn to get a sense of how they work up.

What size hooks or needles should I use?

Start with the hook or needles recommended on your yarn label or the size that you're most comfortable using with your specific yarn. You can also experiment with different sizes; a larger hook or set of needles will produce a looser fabric while smaller tools with the same yarn will produce a denser fabric.

What does it mean to work a multiple of a certain number of stitches?

This is called a stitch multiple. It is the number of stitches needed for one complete repeat. For example, if a pattern states to chain/cast on a multiple of 4 sts + 3, chain/cast on any number divisible by 4, then add 3.

You can also use them to create scarves or afghans in one continuous piece. First determine the width you'd like your project to be. Then determine your gauge, using your selected yarn and tools. Stitches per inch x desired width = number of stitches to begin with. So long as you begin with the correct stitch multiple, you won’t have to readjust your desired width.

Can I incorporate a stitch pattern or motif into another project that I'm working on?

Yes! Some of the stitch patterns are simple repeats of the same pattern over and over. If you find one that you like, you can use that stitch pattern to embellish a plain afghan or to make a border on a jacket. Some are trims that can be added at the end or 3-D motifs that can be sewn onto a project. The sky is the limit! Consider it a new skill that you've learned and that you should feel free to incorporate into future projects if you wish.

What are some ways in which I can use my finished stitch pattern and motif samples and swatches?

If you only have a few swatches, use them around the house. Be creative! If you've made a few smaller swatches, they can be used as coasters. You could take four cotton squares and seam them together to create a washcloth. You could even seam together a few in a row and create a scarf.

If you find a few stitch patterns or motifs that you like, make several samples of each in the same size and shape. Once you have a few, seam them together in a pattern that you like to make an afghan! You can make a checkerboard pattern by alternating square samples in contrasting colors, or you could put one style of samples all around the border and another style along the inside. Make yourself a chart so that you know how big your project is going to be and how many samples you will want to make. (Will your project be a 6 square by 8 square afghan? Or will it be a 2 square by 6 square shawl? It's good to know so that you can plan ahead.)