There are some deceptively brief phrases used in prose instructions that have a powerful, agreed upon meaning. At first, you should approach patterns with such phrasing cautiously as they assume a higher level of knit or crochet knowledge.
This phrase simply means that the last row you work before proceeding to the next part of the instructions should be a RS row and that you should be ready to work a WS row when you begin the next part. Of course, the opposite is true for the phrase “end with a WS row.”
The first row or round following a “end with a WS row” or “end with a RS row” often indicate on which side the row or round is to be worked (e.g., Row 1 (RS)). Looking for this reminder can help you be sure to end on the correct side before beginning the next group of instructions.
Posted in Tips & How To | Comments Off on Cracking the (Pattern) Code, Part 9: Special Phrases and Terms Comments
Obviously the most important information in crochet and knit patterns are the instructions. They are also the most challenging to decrypt. Instructions consist of two basic types, 1) row/round instructions, and 2) prose instructions. Row/Round instructions provide detailed directions for completing one row or round. Prose instructions are sentences or paragraphs that provide more general directions for completing a section, repeating sections, or finishing a piece.
Each Row/Round instruction consists of a name, a series of steps separated by commas or semi-colons, and as mentioned earlier, possibly a stitch count at the end of the instruction. Names of Row/Round instructions can indicate the order (e.g., Row 10, Next Round), purpose (e.g., Decrease Rnd, Set-Up Row), and/or relationship to the fabric (e.g. (RS), (WS)). Some of this information may be included in parentheses, e.g., Row 12 (Decrease – WS).
The series of instruction steps are usually arranged in a specific order.
Punctuation differs from publisher to publisher, but in all cases is used to separate and group instructions. Typically, commas, semi-colons, colons, and dashes are used to separate. Parentheses, brackets, curly braces, and asterisks are used to group. Commas and semi-colons are used to separate each part of an instruction making the parts a bit easier to see and read.
Instructions and parts of instructions are grouped for several reasons; 1) To indicate that multiple stitches are to be worked into the same location and, 2) To indicate that instructions are to be repeated.
Parentheses are most often used to group stitches to be worked into one location. For example, “(k1, p1, k1) in next st” indicates that all 3 stitches within the parentheses are to be worked into the next stitch before it is removed from the left needle. Brackets, curly braces, and asterisks paired with “repeat” are used most often to group instructions to be repeated.
Posted in Tips & How To | Comments Off on Cracking the (Pattern) Code, Part 7: Understanding the Punctuation Comments
The extensive use of abbreviations can make knit and crochet patterns appear to be written in Klingon or Elvish rather than a human language. There are two sources of abbreviations used in pattern instructions; 1) Standard abbreviations, and 2) Special abbreviations.
The meaning of standard abbreviations and the unabbreviated forms are widely known and understood in the knit/crochet world. Accordingly, standard abbreviations are simply listed at the beginning or end of pattern instructions or in the reference section of magazines and books. Further explanation and illustration of such abbreviations can be found in any basic book about knit or crochet, or by searching the web. Examples of standard abbreviations include: st(s) = stitch(es), rep = repeat, RS = right side, and yo = yarn over.
Editor’s note: You can find abbreviations on LionBrand.com in our Learning Center, and when you click on the individual term, a brief explanation will open. Click here for the Abbreviations page.
Posted in Tips & How To | Comments Off on Cracking the (Pattern) Code, Part 6: Abbreviations Comments
Gauge is very important in all but the simplest designs. The gauge at which you work determines the finished size of the piece and the firmness of the fabric. If your gauge is off your afghan may barely cover a doll, or your slippers may fit the Jolly Green Giant quite comfortably. On the other hand, if your gauge is accurate but the yarn inappropriate for the gauge your sweater may be so firm you can’t lower your arms or so “holey” you could only wear it at home with the curtains drawn.
Gauge is the measure of the number of stitches and rows worked to yield a piece of fabric of a specific size. Gauge is usually given in terms of the numbers of stitches and rows worked to yield a piece of fabric that is 4 x 4 in. (10 x 10 cm) square.
If the size or drape of a finished project is important (and most of the time size and drape are important) take the time to check your gauge. To check your gauge, begin by using the size hook or needles listed. If more than one size of hook or needles is listed, the gauge statement should indicate which of the sizes is intended. Work a piece of fabric (known as a swatch) in the indicated pattern stitch that is at least 4 x 4 in. (10 x 10 cm) square or at least the size specified in the gauge statement, whichever is larger. Lay the piece flat without stretching or bunching it, place a ruler on the piece and count the number of stitches and number of rows over 4 in. (10 cm). Compare these numbers with the numbers in the gauge statement. If the number of stitches in 4 in. (10 cm) of your swatch is less than the number of stitches indicated by the gauge statement, you need to make another swatch using a smaller hook or needles. If the number of stitches in 4 in. (10 cm) of your swatch is more than the number of stitches indicated by the gauge statement, you need to try again using a larger hook or needles. Continue to make swatches using a larger or smaller hook or needles as needed until you achieve the gauge.