One thing I love about stitch dictionaries is that you can take a stitch pattern and use it as inspiration for adding it to an otherwise plain garment or to use the stitch pattern as an allover motif on something like socks or a simple cowl.
If you've ever knit socks, you know that, at least in the calf part, it's mostly just a tube and you can work your stitch pattern in the round and incorporate a motif that strikes your fancy.
But if you want to make something truly on the fly for yourself or as a gift, a cowl is a great way to start. After all, a cowl is just a knitted tube that you can slip over your head and wear around your neck.
My new book, Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary that just came out makes it super easy to use practically any stitch pattern you like in your own custom cowl. Since I convert everything to in-the-round for you, you get to skip that usual step you have to take with other stitch dictionaries that present stitch patterns in one direction and flat only.
So here is how you start:
Choose a couple stitch patterns that you like and swatch them flat or in the round in your chosen yarn (instructions are given on swatching in the round in the introductory section of the book). Since this isn't an item that has to have a perfect "fit," and I know that my gauge changes only a stitch or two over four inches when I knit in the round, I chose to knit my swatches flat.
This first picture is of my swatch in the Ripples stitch pattern after washing and blocking. Notice the knots that I placed in the tail? This indicates to me what size needles I used on my swatch. I always do this because if I don't write it down, I'm likely to forget!
The next picture is of my swatch in the Checks stitch pattern. Even though I do like the Ripples Stitch pattern, the combination of the yarn (This is Blue Sky Alpacas Metalico in Silver) don't play as well together as they do in the Checks stitch pattern.
My next step will be to measure my swatch and determine how many stitches to cast on.
Stay tuned for more!
BTW: Thanks for the tremendous support and kind words regarding Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary. I'm so excited about this book!