Recently, I got thinking about how the same stitch looks really different depending on how it is worked up. So I did an experiment. I started with a fairly generic pattern stitch:
The pattern stitch is basically 1 row of a traditional shell stitch, followed by a row with a V-stitch and a (sc, ch, sc) made in the middle of the shell of the previous row. Both rows have a multiple of 6 stitches. (An aside: Actually, the (sc, ch, sc) is (sc, ch2, sc), but the (ch2) counts as one stitch, so whether it is actually 1 ch or 2 ch doesn't matter that much.) The shell stitch makes a scallop; the V-stitch row straightens out the edge. I made samples out of worsted weight yarn (Encore by Plymouth) in rows, triangles, rounds worked from the center out, and strips. Staggering the two rows, there is a 4-row repeat.
Starting with the pattern in just rows: the two pattern rows alternate, so the shell stitch row is always right side (RS) facing on one side and the V-stitch is always RS facing the other. The two sides look different, making an orderly fabric that looks crocheted:
|Rows - shell stitch RS facing - this looks smoother to me.|
|Rows - V-stitch RS facing looks a bit more rough.|
Next, a triangle - starting at the center top at the back of the neck, small, and increasing out, with an increase line down the center. The increase line in the middle adds a visual element that breaks up the order of the plain rows. The last row is the two short sides with the scallop-y edge. The (fairly) straight line across the top is the row ends.
|Triangle - looser gauge|
A looser gauge version (left) makes a squishy fabric, that drapes well in different directions. In a tighter gauge (below), the long edge isn't so straight - that means the corner isn't really square. Both triangles are the same size, but the one with the looser gauge is 2 rows shorter.
|Triangle - tighter gauge - not so straight across the top|
|In the round, starting at center|
How does stitching in the round look different? It is more dynamic-looking than the straight rows, with increase lines radiating out from the center and stitches going in different directions. Stitched as motifs and joined together, the increase lines would create a visual lattice crisscrossing the fabric. Ending with a shell stitch round gives a scalloped edge. Ending with a V-stitch round would make a straighter edge and also would make joining motifs easy in the last round, with a slip-stitch joining to the neighbor block replacing each ch-1.
|One repeat edging|
Then there could also be narrow strips: A single repeat is asymmetric. The wider strip is a repeat-and-a-half to be symmetrical. There's a lot of experimentation in crochet, using thread patterns with yarn and yarn / afghan patterns in thread to see how they look different. These could be charming for a strip afghan, as edgings, weaving ribbon through the holes for baby headbands, or as bookmarks.
|strip, handy for mile-a-minute construction|
This is just a few variations on one pattern stitch, in one yarn. I like to try out different stitches to see how the fabric plays out:
- Is is better for garments or for afghans or for threadwork?
- Does the stitch pattern get lost in a loose gauge that drapes nicely?
- Does the fabric get too stiff in a firm gauge that shows up the stitches better?