Swatch Library Project Update & Stitch Dictionary Review

Today as I work on new swatches and tidy up my notes, I am refining how I organize my information. I have a stack of stitch dictionaries and a large mug of tea to help me prepare for future swatches. This post covers two topics. It includes an update to the Swatch Library Project and a review to a comprehensive stitch dictionary.

Array of stitch dictionaries, swatch, swatch worksheet arranged on a desk, and the tail of a sleeping black cat peeking out from behind a window curtian

Swatch Library Update

Over the past few months as I worked on my swatch library, I realized there are some details I want to know at a glance. Specifically, what was my purpose while creating the swatch? Was my intent to learn about the yarn, evaluate a stitch, practice a technique (which one), is it a repeat of another swatch with a needle or yarn change, is it a gauge swatch, or is it some combination thereof?

With that in mind, I added this quick categorization to my free worksheet. It is the only change to the document and the new version is now 2021-01-01. If you missed the introductory post, it is Swatch Library Project, First Steps. I’m continuing to refine the overall project and hope to release more updates soon.

First page of the swatch library project worksheet printed and folded in half. Details are Yarn Over New York Yarn in Brookyln Bridge (Worsted weight), Queen Bee color. The yarn is $26 a skein and 100g are 199m/218yd. This is a 4ply 100% superwash merino. The swatch is to learn about the yarn, evaluate a stitch, and work a technique. Paper is a pale yellow and the swatch is a rich honey gold with tons of tiny speckles in warm browns and reds.

I don’t often match my printer paper to my swatch, but it’s a nice touch.

Stitch Dictionary Review

Book cover - 1000 Japanese Knitting & Crochet Stitches

If you are looking for one stitch dictionary that covers a range of knitting and crochet stitches to help you build your stitch library, I highly recommend 1000 Japanese Knitting & Crochet Stitches. It is published in Japan by Nihon Vogue and in the US by Tuttle Publishing and translated by Gayle Roehm.

While originally published in 1992, this collection of stitches is timeless and classic. Now fully translated into English, you no longer need to puzzle through the Japanese to figure out complex stitches. I’ve had my eye on this book for years and am thankful for Roehm’s work to make it accessible to English readers.

About Japanese Stitch dictionaries

For the uninitiated, most Japanese chart symbols are standardized. Complex stitches build upon the simple ones which makes them easier to read. One thing to be aware is that most charts include a symbol for every knit ([ | ]) and purl ([ – ]). This can make the charts look more complex than what many of us are used to. Crocheters are likely be more familiar with the symbols used as their use due to the wide adoption of this style of stitch diagrams. Please note that other than in the technique review section, there are few written instructions, each stitch is provided only as a chart.

Inside this volume

In this dictionary, you will find a collection of 700 knitting stitches including combinations of knits and purls, twisted stitches, lace, cables, color-work motifs, and more. If that weren’t enough, there’s no need for a separate crochet dictionary! There are 300 different crochet patterns covering grids, textures, colors, and edgings. If you aren’t sure how a stitch works up, there are many clear line drawings which step through and illustrate common techniques. Additional information is also provided to improve your interpretation of variations to these basic stitches. For each stitch you will find a clear color photo, the stitches and rows for the repeat is clear, and the chart is next to the photo, no need to hunt or flip pages. Some of the designs will be familiar if you have other Nihon Vogue stitch dictionaries. The advantage is they are all here in one book.

Ask your favorite bookseller or yarn store if they can help you buy a copy. It’s also available to libraries digitally through hoopla and OverDrive.

As a bonus for today, here’s a picture of my cat Shadow, snoring while I edited this post! There’s a wall heater directly below him so it’s a very cozy windowsill.

Photo of black cat, named Shadow stretched out on window sill mostly behind a curtain. there is a wire running across the upper part of the frame, it extends the FM radio antenna.

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