Analysing Stitch Patterns – Mrs. Montague’s Pattern

As part of the learning process of designing my own shawls, I’ve been examining stitch patterns. Rather than simply copying them from stitch dictionaries, I want to understand how they work, why the fabric knitted with a certain stitch pattern behaves the way it does. And it’s an excuse to play with Stitch Mastery, the chart design software I indulged myself in purchasing to draw up the charts for Tidal Beach.

Anyway, it’s led to some interesting discoveries. For one, there’s a difference between stacked and staggered pattern repeats, as demonstrated by the classic stitch Mrs. Montague’s Pattern. This is what it looks like:

Mrs. Montague's Pattern. Yarn: Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply. Needles: 4 mm.

Mrs. Montague’s Pattern. Yarn: Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply. Needles: 4 mm.


This is the chart for Mrs. Montague’s Pattern:

Mrs. Montague's Knitting Stitch Pattern

Mrs. Montague’s Pattern

This chart is for a single repeat of the pattern. Now look at a chart with a few repeats of the same pattern (you can click on the image to view a larger version).

Mrs. Montague's Pattern Repeats

Mrs. Montague’s Pattern Repeats

The red box indicates the stitch repeat we’ve seen above. As you can see, the stitches in the box are repeated again in the rows above in the exact same way. The repeats sit neatly on top of each other. This is what I call a stacked repeat. However, if you look at it very closely, however, you will see that the stitch pattern actually breaks down further than a segment of 16 stitches by 16 rows:

Mrs. Montague's Pattern Breakdown

Mrs. Montague’s Pattern Breakdown

The two red boxes contain exactly the same stitches. Mrs. Montague’s pattern is charted the way it is in the first picture, as that block of 16 stitches and 16 rows can be neatly stacked on top of one another. The stitches in this last chart (16 stitches by 8 rows) need to be staggered to created the nice symmetrical pattern in your knitted fabric.

You can, of course, choose to stack these smaller stitch repeats as well, which would create the following chart:

Mrs. Montague's pattern stacked

Mrs. Montague’s pattern stacked

Knitted up, stacked repeats of the broken down Mrs. Montague’s Pattern looks like this:

The broken down repeats of Mrs. Montague's Pattern when stacked. Yarn: Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply. Needles: 4.5 mm.

The broken down repeats of Mrs. Montague’s Pattern when stacked. Yarn: Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply. Needles: 4.5 mm.


So by choosing to stagger or stack the repeats of the same batch of 16 stitches by 8 rows, you can get a very different outcome.

1 Response

  1. September 24, 2014

    […] the meantime, I’m working on another shawl design. It’s based on my analysis for the Mrs. Montague Stitch pattern; the picture at the top is of the work-in-progress. This one will be much simpler in a lot of ways, […]

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