I am a tactile addict….I need to feel yarn and fabric, so having a handy book of small stitch samples to help in the design process is a real boon. It’s also handy and very portable; take it with you when shopping for yarn or patterns. I use several medium size albums (for organization and because they fit into my travel bag easily), but depending on how prolific a Sampler you are, use a small or large photo album (or binder) with pockets for 4×6 pictures.

Using 3″x5″ (regular size) recipe cards allows a little extra room for samples to slip easily into the pockets.

Documentation is the Key: Whether you’re trying out stitches or combinations from the Harmony Guides, Barbara Walker, or designing your own combinations, knit / crochet a small sample of the stitch and record all the info on a recipe card: Card #(helps if you’re going to index the book), Stitch Name, Source, Date, Yarn, Needles/Hook, Washed (yes/no), and Comments (suggestions for use, feel of yarn, nice to work with? or directions for creating the stitch pattern if you’ve created the stitch pattern yourself). Attach it to the sample to the card.

These samples can be used with cardboard cut-out silhouette (see previous post Designer Notebook: Inspiration) during the design phase.

Move the cards temporarily to your Design Binder (lots more to come on this topic including free sample pages) as you create swatches for your design, but put cards back in Stitches sample book once you’ve completed your actual swatches. Once you’ve used a stitch sample in a design, on back of card record the name of design for which it was used.

If you make many samples, create an Index for the front of your book. List Card #, type of stitch (knit/purl, cable, etc) and type of yarn (weight, content), or you may wish to create different sample books for different categories of stitches. Happy Knitting!

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