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How to Determine if there is an Mistake in the Pattern, Part 2

April 14th, 2014

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This column by Barbara Breiter, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter

Last week I went over how to read an afghan pattern. Today we’re going to look at a sweater example.

Inez Cardigan

This pattern has a series of increases to shape the collar and decreases for the armholes and shoulders but it’s not tricky to break down the number of stitches you should have. To make this example easier to follow, I’ve eliminated the multiple sizes in the pattern.

Shape Collar

Next Row (RS): K 6, inc 1 st in next st, place marker, sl 1, place marker, inc 1 st in next st, k to end of row – 43 sts.
Next Row: Purl.
Next Row: K to 1 st before first marker, inc 1 st in next st, sl marker, sl 1, sl marker, inc 1 st in next st, k to end of row – 45 sts.
Rep last 2 rows 21 more times

There are 2 increases each time the increase row is worked so 21×2=42

You had 45 stitches to begin; 42+45=87 stitches

The pattern continues: and AT THE SAME TIME, when piece measures 17 in. (43 cm) from beg, end with a RS row and shape armhole.
Shape Armhole
Bind off 7 sts at beg of next WS row. Work until armhole measures same as Back to shoulders, end with a RS row and shape shoulder.

You’ve eliminated 7 stitches.
87-7=80 stitches
Shape Shoulder
Bind off 6 sts at beg of next WS row and 6 at beg of following WS row – 68 sts.

You’ve eliminated 6 stitches 2 times.
80-12=68 stitches

Conclusion

Once you understand the pattern line by line, it will be easier for you to follow it and maintain the right stitch count. Stitch markers can be helpful when there are repeats, so that you can mark each section and keep track of them. If you determine that there is an error, you can send a note to the pattern’s publisher so they can correct it in the future. By breaking down the pattern as we have above, you can also often determine what the correct stitch count will be so that you can continue working on your project.
Finally, if a pattern is frustrating you at the moment, take a break! Leave it and look at it with fresh eyes the next day. Often, when you come back to a pattern later on, it becomes obvious what the issue may have been.

To sign up for the Weekly Stitch and get columns like this, free patterns, how-to videos and more, click here.

*Editor’s note: While we triple-check each pattern for errors here at Lion Brand, an occasional one may slip through. If that happens, you can contact us via LionBrand.com. When we issue a correction, we include a note at the top of the pattern (for people who may have previously printed out the pattern, but we also incorporate the changes into the body of the pattern for new people downloading the pattern so that you don’t have to worry about the correction.


How to Determine if there is a Mistake in the Pattern, Part 1

April 7th, 2014

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This column by Barbara Breiter, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter

You’ve completed a row and something isn’t right. You have 2 sts left. Or you’ve completed the row but the pattern still has instructions for the row you haven’t worked. You try it again and there’s still a problem. What do you do?

It’s possible there is an error in the pattern…it does happen sometimes*. Or despite the fact that you’ve worked it twice now, you may be misunderstanding or skipping part of it.

If you break down the section or row by number of stitches used and number of stitches remaining (if there is an increase or decrease), it will be easier to determine if there is a pattern error or if it’s a knitter/crocheter error.

Let’s look at an example of how to do this.

Cromwell Court Afghan

This pattern is worked over 114 stitches. At the end of this row, you should still have 114 stitches.

Row 3: K3, (k2tog) 3 times, (yo, k1) 6 times, *(k2tog) 6 times, (yo, k1) 6 times; rep from * to last 9 sts, (k2tog) 3 times, k3.

First, let’s look at K3, (k2tog) 3 times, (yo, k1) 6 times,

There are 3 decreases (k2tog) and 6 increases (yo). You have used 15 stitches (k3, k2tog 3 times, k1 6 times [3+6+6]) and you have 18 stitches on the right needle now (3+3+12).

*(k2tog) 6 times, (yo, k1) 6 times; rep from * to last 9 sts,

This repeat has 6 decreases and 6 increases so the number of stitches used is the same as the number you have on your right needle for this section. The yo’s compensate for the k2tog decreases.

There are 18 stitches used (k2tog 6 times, k1 6 times [12+6]) and 18 new stitches (6+12).

This section is repeated 5 times.

We know this because we started with 114 stitches, we used 15 stitches prior to the asterisk, and we will have 9 stitches left to work.

114-15-9=90 stitches worked over the repeat

90 divided by 18 stitches used=5

(k2tog) 3 times, k3.

There are 3 decreases and no increases. So the last section compensates for the 3 extra increases in the first section.
You have used 9 stitches (6+3) and there are 6 new sts (3+3).

So the total number of stitches used is 15+90+9=114
The total number of stitches you now have is 18+90+6=114

Conclusion

Here are four simple tips to help you think there is an error in a pattern:

  1. Try to understand the pattern line by line so you can follow it and maintain the right stitch count.
  2. Use stitch markers, which can be helpful when there are repeats. Mark each section and keep track of them.
  3. If you do determine there is an error, send a note to the pattern’s publisher so can correct it in the future.
  4. If a pattern is frustrating you at the moment, take a break! Leave it and look at it with fresh eyes the next day. Often, when you come back to a pattern later on, it becomes obvious what the issue may have been.

Next week we’ll be looking at another example: a sweater pattern.

To sign up for the Weekly Stitch and get columns like this, free patterns, how-to videos and more, click here.

*Editor’s note: While we triple-check each pattern for errors here at Lion Brand, an occasional one may slip through. If that happens, you can contact us via LionBrand.com. When we issue a correction, we include a note at the top of the pattern (for people who may have previously printed out the pattern, but we also incorporate the changes into the body of the pattern for new people downloading the pattern so that you don’t have to worry about the correction.


Keeping to Pattern

April 6th, 2014

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We’re reposting some of our favorite columns by Barbara Breiterauthor of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, previously featured in our Weekly Stitch newsletter.

When knitting a project that involves a stitch pattern (something other than stockinette or garter stitch) and shaping, such a sweater or hat, you will likely run into the term “keeping to pattern”. It may be written as “keep to established pattern”, “work pattern as established”, or “continue in established pattern”; they all essentially mean the same thing.

When working on the non-shaping section, you will knit your stitch pattern, following the written instructions for each row. But if you increase or decrease at each end of a row while shaping, those rows will no longer begin and end as written because you have added or subtracted stitches. But you need to keep the previous stitches aligned so the stitch pattern continues.

doubleseedstitchMany times, you can simply look at your knitting and see where you are within the stitch pattern. This is why it’s important to learn to “read your knitting” and understand by looking at your work the sequence of knits, purls, yarn-overs, etc. Knitting from a chart is also an advantage here because you can look on each side of the pattern repeat and understand visually where you are in the row.

There are times when it’s more difficult to follow where you are at or perhaps you are just starting out. So let’s work through an example of Double Seed Stitch, sometimes known as Box Stitch:

Multiple of 4
Rows 1 and 2: *k2, p2; rep from *
Rows 3 and 4: *p2, k2; rep from *

Let’s suppose you began with 16 stitches and you have increased one stitch on each end on Row 4. You now have 18 stitches and you can no longer begin Row 1 with a knit stitch because you no longer have a multiple of 8 and knits and purls will no longer align as intended.

How should you be keeping to pattern when you work Row 1 again? You would begin p1, then proceed to begin the row as written. The first stitch you work is the last stitch of the row as written. You are working backwards from the end of the repeat to the beginning of the repeat as you increase stitches.

keepYou will also have one extra stitch at the end of the row. As written, you ended Row 1 p2. Because you have an extra stitch, the row will now end with k1, which is the first stitch of the row as written. The last stitch you work is the first stitch of the row as written…the repeat is starting over again. However, you won’t have enough stitches to complete the row as written.

So, the new Row 1 would be:
P1, *k2, p2; rep from *, end k1

Remember that where you begin and end each row will change each time you add more stitches. If you increased one stitch at each end again, Row 1 would now be:
P2, *k2, p2; rep from *, end k2

Or even more simply:
*p2, k2; rep from *

When you decrease you eliminate stitches, so again you need to recalculate how to begin the row and how it should end.

Let’s suppose you were working over 16 stitches again but this time you decreased at the beginning of Row 1. You would have k2tog and this brings you to p2 as the next step. You would then continue k2, p2.

You don’t need to worry about ending the row when you decrease. As long as you begin in the correct place, the row will end when you’ve run out of stitches and they will all be aligned as intended.

Remember, just as with increasing, where you begin and end will change each time you decrease stitches.


6 Helpful Tips for Knitting & Crochet

March 23rd, 2014

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We’re reposting some of our favorite columns by Barbara Breiterauthor of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, previously featured in our Weekly Stitch newsletter.

knit+crochet

Yarn crafts should be an enjoyable experience. Pitfalls abound but many of them are our own doing. I hope these suggestions will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed or disheartened as you explore the world of knitting and crochet.

1. Don’t be afraid to try new things.

You’ve never knit with circulars? Thousands, if not millions, of people have done it. How hard can it be? You won’t learn a new skill unless you give it a go. Try out the new skill and you’d be surprised how many skills come naturally to you.

Need extra help? Lion Brand can show you other ways you can learn to knit or crochet.

2. Break it down.

If you’re working a series of instructions [such as this bobble: Knit into front, back and front of next st, turn and k3, turn and p3, turn and k3, turn and Sl1, k2tog, psso] that you don’t understand, try it step by step without thinking ahead. It’s easy to get overwhelmed looking at the entire sequence. By looking at it in steps, it’s easier to break down.

3. Knit or crochet with a yarn you love.

If you’re finding a texture cumbersome or that the yarn is rough on your hands (doesn’t slide, feels like plastic…whatever the case may be), perhaps it’s not the right yarn for you (or this particular stitch pattern). Pick a smooth yarn for more complex stitch patterns and use a simpler stitch when using more textured yarns. Finding the right pairing will make your project more enjoyable.

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Understanding Common Pattern Terms, Part 2

September 23rd, 2013

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Throughout this season, we’re reposting some of our favorite columns by Barbara Breiterauthor of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, previously featured in our Weekly Stitch newsletter.

Understanding Common Pattern Terms, Part 2 | Lion Brand NotebookLast week, I wrote about pattern terms and concepts people often find confusing. This week, I am covering a couple more concepts that you will often encounter.

Parentheses, brackets, asterisks, and phrases are commonly found in patterns; they are intended to make it easier to follow, and they also decrease the chances of a typographical error in a pattern. Here’s some help on deciphering what you are being asked to do.

Parentheses

You will find parentheses or () used in two ways:

The first is to indicate you are to repeat everything in parentheses the given number of times. For example:

(k2tog, yo) twice

What it means is that you should work k2tog, yo two times or k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo.

The second way they are used is to show a grouping or sequence of stitches that are related to each other in some way. You might see (2 dc, ch 3, 2 dc) in next ch-1 sp. The pattern is telling you that everything in the parentheses is all worked into the next ch-1 space.

Brackets

Brackets or [] indicate either to repeat something or a sequence of stitches, just as parentheses do; however, a bracket is needed when a set of instructions within the brackets are already in parentheses. Occasionally, you will brackets used instead of parentheses.

In this example, brackets are being used to indicate you are repeating instructions:

[k2, (yo, k2tog) 3 times] twice

The above means that you would repeat everything in the brackets twice while making sure you also repeat yo, k2tog 3 times in the order written.

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Understanding Common Pattern Terms, Part 1

September 19th, 2013

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Throughout this season, we’re reposting some of our favorite columns by Barbara Breiterauthor of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, previously featured in our Weekly Stitch newsletter.

Understanding Common Pattern Terms, Part 1 | Lion Brand NotebookA pattern is a blueprint for a project. A well-written pattern doesn’t intentionally confuse you. If you find something confusing, keep in mind that sometimes the pattern is simply trying to convey information to help you. The term might be an industry standard, but one that you’ve never come across before.

Here are some terms and concepts, commonly used but also commonly confusing to many knitters and crocheters.

Work even

Work even means to work in the pattern stitch over the number of stitches you have at the present time. It often follows a sequence where you have just completed increasing or decreasing.

Turn

Although crocheting often uses this term at the end of every row (for example, chain 1, turn), it’s also used in places that, at first glance, don’t appear to make sense. When working short rows, or partial rows of knitting or crocheting, you will see an instruction to turn while not at the end of the row. Simply complete the instructions for that row, and when the pattern states turn, prepare to work in the other direction and the next row by turning your work around just as if you were at the end of the row. It may seem wrong to do so, but sometimes you have to have faith that a pattern works out in the end!

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What Size Do I Make?

September 13th, 2013

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Throughout this season, we’re reposting some of our favorite columns by Barbara Breiterauthor of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, previously featured in our Weekly Stitch newsletter.

What Size Do I Make? | Lion Brand Notebook

You’ve found the perfect sweater pattern. It’s just challenging enough to keep your interest. You think you’ll be able to wear it a good part of the year for many occasions. The yarn is something you can afford.

But before you can begin, you need to answer one question: What size do I make?

Studying the size information, you note there are 4 sizes: small, medium, large, and extra large. Usually you wear a medium. But wait. The pattern states for the medium size, the finished chest measurement is 50″. That does not seem right at all, you think. In fact, it seems like the sweater will be way too large!

Before deciding the pattern is wrong or what size you’ll make, there are a number of considerations to take into account. Ask yourself how you like your sweaters to fit. Do you like them tight? If you do, perhaps you will want to choose a smaller size. Do you like them loose? Do you layer them with lots of other pieces or with just a camisole underneath? Do you wear your cardigans more like jackets or buttoned up as a top? Keep all of your preferences in mind as you consider the size.

Generally a sweater is not worn skintight. The difference between your bust measurement and the finished chest measurement of a sweater is referred to as “ease.” Some garments have more ease than others, depending upon a number of factors.

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Short Rows: A Primer for Knitters

September 5th, 2013

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Throughout this season, we’re reposting some of our favorite columns by Barbara Breiterauthor of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, previously featured in our Weekly Stitch newsletter.

Short Rows: A Primer for Knitters | Lion Brand Notebook

Short rows are partial rows of knitting. They are used to shape projects in a way that decreases or increases cannot accomplish. They can create darts in a pullover and heels of a sock. You can make wedges or “slices of a pie”; when the wedges are continually made, you have an entire “pie” and, depending upon the scale, you will have a cloth or a large circular throw. Short rows can also be used to create a bell curve, which knits up as a wonderful shawl collar on a sweater.

Don’t shy away from a pattern using short rows because it just seems too complicated. Once you get the hang of it, it’s no more difficult than knitting or purling.

There are two important concepts in short rows: turning and wrapping.

It may seem incorrect, but turn whenever your pattern indicates to do so. You may be at the end of a row or you may not be; if you’re not at the end, turn your work just as if you were at the end of the row, and then work the next set of instructions going in the other direction. Sometimes you just have to have faith that it will turn out correctly in the end. So even if it seems totally wrong, keep going!

Wrapping prevents holes from forming. There are several ways of accomplishing this and your pattern should give specific instructions. What’s important to note is that the working yarn is literally wrapped around a stitch; usually this is a slipped stitch.

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What’s Reverse Shaping and How Do I Do It?

August 25th, 2013

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Throughout this season, we’re reposting some of our favorite columns by Barbara Breiterauthor of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, previously featured in our Weekly Stitch newsletter.

When knitting cardigans, you are making two fronts that are reversed and mirror images of each other. The armholes are on opposite sides of your knitting as is the neck shaping.

The neck and armhole edges are at their logical, respective places. When you are knitting the right side of the piece, you are looking at the reverse of how it will be worn. With the right side of the work facing the public, hold the left or right front up against you. This is the easiest way to tell which is the armhole edge and which is the neck edge if you get confused.

Almost all cardigan patterns will give you exact instructions for knitting one front; the instructions for the other front will usually tell you to knit it the same way, but reverse shaping. This can seem like a cryptic instruction intended to confuse you, but it avoids pattern errors (like one side being written one way and then the other side being written differently).

To reverse the shaping, work the shaping at the opposite end from where you worked it for the first front. The armhole shaping and decreases must be at opposite ends so that when it’s sewn together, you will have one armhole on the left and one on the right. The neck shaping must be on the inside of both pieces, where it would logically be.

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Picking Up the Right Number of Stitches: Tips & Tricks

August 11th, 2013

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Throughout this season, we’re reposting some of our favorite columns by Barbara Breiterauthor of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, previously featured in our Weekly Stitch newsletter.

Many projects, particularly sweaters, will ask you to pick up stitches to complete a section, such as along the neckline, armholes, or the button band of a cardigan.

Your pattern will generally indicate how many stitches you need to pick up. But that number is based on the row gauge the designer achieved; your row gauge won’t always be identical, as it is very common to achieve the stitch gauge but not the row gauge of a pattern. You may have fewer rows or more rows available along which you can pick up the needed stitches.

If too many stitches are picked up, the resulting ribbing (or whatever pattern stitch you’re working) will flare out and will not lie flat. If too few stitches are picked up, it will pucker.

You can attempt to pick up the exact number of stitches specified, but you may end up frustrated. Here’s how to pick up the correct number, regardless of how many rows there are to work along.

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