Estonian gathers

Posted 29 Dec 2014 by JC

Nupps are a distinctive feature of Estonian lace. So are “gathers,” places where several stitches are worked together to create several new stitches – for example, five stitches might be worked together in such a way as to create three new stitches, or three stitches might be gathered together to create seven stitches. These gathers, as the name implies, pull the fabric into lacy little knots that permit all sorts of textural interest. Quatrefoil, a traditional Estonian pattern, is a good example:

Quatrefoil swatch photo

Of course, gathers can be used in non-traditional patterns too. Consider Beetles:

Beetles swatch photo

Now you can map gathers at, using these symbols:

  • 2-to-2 gather 2-to-2 gather
  • 2-to-3 gather 2-to-3 gather
  • 3-to-2 gather 3-to-2 gather
  • 3-to-3 gather 3-to-3 gather
  • 3-to-5 gather 3-to-5 gather
  • 3-to-7 gather 3-to-7 gather
  • 3-to-9 gather 3-to-9 gather
  • 5-to-3 gather 5-to-3 gather
  • 5-to-5 gather 5-to-5 gather
  • 5-to-7 gather 5-to-7 gather
  • 5-to-9 gather 5-to-9 gather
  • 7-to-3 gather 7-to-3 gather
  • 7-to-5 gather 7-to-5 gather
  • 7-to-7 gather 7-to-7 gather
  • 7-to-9 gather 7-to-9 gather

A huge reason to map gathers is so that you can see precisely which stitches are to be gathered together. You can then be sure to knit these stitches very loosely on the previous row, making it much, much easier to knit all of them together as part of the gather. (Otherwise, creating the gather becomes a hair-pulling experience. Ask me how I know!)

Quatrefoil stitch map

Want to see more stitch maps with gathers? Check out these examples. Note that, at this point, only a few have corresponding swatch photos. But if you want to be notified when new swatch photos become available, remember that you can make use of our new Swatch photos RSS feed.


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