One of my favourite activities is to flick through my many stitch dictionaries, to pull out yarn 🧶 and my hooks (sometimes needles) and make samples.
I never see sampling or swatching as a waste of time. I love them! They teach me so much
- How a pattern stitch feels
- How it drapes
- If the stitches look good in an 8ply or maybe they would be better in a thicker or thinner yarn.
- Is it an easy stitch to work, do I like making it or is it not so much my thing? I like simple mostly but sometimes I’m in the mood to challenge myself.
- Although I mostly sample a stitch in an 8 ply I occasionally have a new yarn I want to play with or want to see how the stitches will work in a different type of yarn. Does it look good in a cotton or will the drape obscure the texture?
I keep my samples and attach tags to them. I record the yarn, hook and where I found the stitch. I also write out the stitch pattern, to have it handy to refer to with the sample.
The samples pile up for future use. Sometimes I get so in love with the stitch it inspires me to create something immediately. At other times I want to make an item and I will dig through the swatches to find a stitch pattern that sings to me.
I think everyone with a little encouragement and guidance can make up their own ‘patterns’.
I often get people who admire a make and ask where the pattern is. I have to tell them it’s in my head. Until a few years ago I rarely wrote them down.
I think thats because when I learned to crochet I was taught my another child. She was making garments for her Barbie doll and just made it up as she went. I did the same.
Taking risks and playing are essential to developing creative thought and that is now being understood by progressive schools who have implemented free play and nature play into the school day.