Slightly obsessed

By | May 4, 2014

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a bit obsessed with stitch patterns. So it’s no surprise that, as I’m flipping through Textured Stitches by Connie Chang Chinchio, part of me is oohing and aahing over the lovely garments, but a bigger part of me is drooling over the stitch patterns.

Case in point: the lace pattern in the Starflower Hat. Was it the same as the Falling Leaves pattern I’d recently found in Vogue Stitchionary Volume Five?

Falling Leaves stitch map

Falling Leaves

Alas, it was hard to tell from the photos in Textured Stitches. And the instructions were written, not charted.

No problem. I popped over to and entered in those written instructions.

Starflower stitch map, uncorrected


Whoops. Things were clearly off-kilter. Symbols weren’t lining up as you’d expect; the centers of the motifs were gradually drifting to the right.

A quick check revealed that errata had been published for the pattern. (No worries. These things happen.) The book should’ve instructed the knitter to move the beginning-of-rounds marker at the start of rounds 7 and 15.

Now, doesn’t understand the concept of “markers,” much less “remove marker, k1, replace marker.” But I wanted to see what the stitch pattern looked like as a stitch map, so I fiddled around on paper for a bit. (Yes, I still draw stitch maps by hand, when I’m trying to figure things out. Once the “ah ha!” moment has been reached, I can always draw a pretty stitch map at Following the stitch map, but properly lining up the symbols from one row to the next, this is what I got:

hand-drawn Starflower stitch map

getting better

Notice how the motifs widen and narrow. With two motifs side by side, offset vertically by a half a repeat, you can draw lines at “natural breaks” within the stitch pattern:

hand-drawn Starflower stitch map, with repeat lines

outlining a pair of motifs

And voilà! Entering those instructions into gave me the stitch map I wanted:

Starflower stitch map


The nifty thing about this stitch map is that it can be followed in the round without ever having to move the beginning-of-rounds marker. Gaining that kind of insight into a stitch pattern is why I love stitch maps so much.

But back to the original question: how does Starflower compare with Falling Leaves? That’s easiest to answer when comparing apples to apples, so straigtening Starflower’s edges so it can be worked as an insertion (flat or in the round), we see this:

Starflower insertion

Starflower as an insertion

Mm… nope. The two patterns are quite similar, but they’re not quite the same. Guess I’m going to need to swatch both of them.


Betty on May 6, 2014 at 5:19 am.

Don’t know why it didn’t occur to me before that Stitch Maps would be a great way to “see” those old words-only patterns without charting them out square-by-square myself! {head slap}

JC on May 6, 2014 at 8:42 am.

Betty! Of course they’re a great way to see words-only patterns!

Gwen Bortner on May 7, 2014 at 8:14 am.

I have said it before and I will say it again…you really are a genius. I am just glad I am smart enough to have become your friend!

I loved watching your mind “work” through the process and seeing how the stitch map evolved. Thanks for sharing your insights!

JC on May 7, 2014 at 1:20 pm.

Thanks, Gwen!