Stitch Swatch Sampler Project: Changing the Number of Stitches
If you decide to alter the number of stitches in your swatch, here is how to do it. I will try to put the information you will need in the instructions for each swatch, after the number of starting chains. For example, (Multiple of 2+1, +2 turning chains). To alter the number of starting chains, choose a number that is a multiple of the number stated (in this case, a multiple of 2). So if your swatch was too big, you will need to chain less than the number stated in the instructions. To this number you will add however many additional chains specified to work the pattern, (in this case, 1), plus the number of chains you will need to chain up for your first stitch (in this case, 2). Here’s why.
Let’s look at the instructions for Alternate Stitch. It says to chain 15. If you look at instructions for the second row (where the stitch pattern really starts), you will be skipping the first stitch, then working two stitches in the next, and will repeat this pattern across the row. Here is how it looks, graphed out:
The row of starting chains are represented by the 14 ovals on the bottom and the one oval at the right side. The first row is represented by the plus signs, which each denote a sc stitch. The first row is read from right to left, the second row (which begins with a chain stitch) is read from left to right. On the second row, you will repeat the highlighted section (sk 1 st, 2 sc in next st) until you get to the last st. So you have a repeat of 2 stitches across the row, with one more sc in that last stitch. In order to maintain the same number of stitches in each row, you need to use the same number of stitches each time, which is a multiple of 2, plus that last one. Technically, you could probably work this pattern stitch with an even number of stitches, but I suspect that the last single stitch in the row helps to maintain a more even, straight edge. When beginning your work, you need to account for the extra stitches needed to chain up to the height of your row, so in addition to the number of stitches you want in each row, you need to add additional ones (the last number, which is the number of turning chains needed to make the “corner” of your work nice and neat).
So, if you want less stitches in your rows to create a narrower fabric, you will need to chain less than 15. I would try 2 less, so chain 13. That would remove one repeat from your pattern. You would end up with 11 stitches on your first row, instead of 13.