Reading pattern instructions

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I used to tell readers to read the pattern carefully before starting but I have changed my views on this as I feel that some parts of the pattern, which are simple and make sense when you are actually knitting them, seem confusing when initially reading through them. Some instructions may only really make sense when the knitting is on the needles.

However, do read the materials list before you leave the shop with your pattern and yarn. Check the equipment you need carefully. There is nothing worse than getting home, eager to start your project, only to find out that you don't have the needle size you need. Check too for additional materials that you may need, such as a zip or buttons. However, buttons should sometimes be left until the garment is completed to get a proper idea of size or shade.

check measurements Look at the measurements on the knitting instructions before buying your yarn to be sure what size you want to knit. Most patterns quote the actual finished knitted size of the garment rather than the bust/chest measurements of the wearer. The actual measurements will show the width around the whole garment and this will tell you how much 'ease' a garment has, whether it is a generous style or slim fitting. If you wish to make up a garment with a different fit from that in the pattern, you may decide to knit a smaller or larger size. If you are unsure, measure an existing garment for comparison. The length of the garment is usually taken from the cast-on edge to the shoulder.

reading pattern instructions look through the There is rarely space in a knitting pattern to write out all the instructions in full. For this abbreviations reason abbreviations are sometimes used throughout the pattern. They are explained in full before the start of the pattern or, if in a book, on a page dedicated to abbreviations. As you gain in experience you will become familiar with the most common ones such as 'k' for knit and 'beg' for beginning. Not all abbreviations mean the same in different patterns so check them carefully. There are also some phrases that appear in patterns that you may need to get familiar with.

abbreviations alt = alternate beg = beginning cm = centimetre(s) cont = continue dec = decrease foil = following in = inch(es)

inc = increase one st by working into front and back of st K(k) = knit kfb = knit into front and back of st ml = make one st mm = millimetres patt = pattern P(p) = purl rem = remaining rep = repeat st(s) = stitch(es)

skpo = slip 1, k1, pass slipped st over si = slip st st = stocking stitch tbl = through back loop tog = together yf = yarn forward yon = yarn over needle yrn = yarn round needle

RS/Right side: refers to the right side of the fabric - the side that is facing to the outside when the garment is worn.

WS/Wrong side: refers to the wrong side of the fabric - the side that is facing to the inside when worn.

At the same time: two things need to done at the same time, for instance decreasing on a neckline at the same time as an armhole is being shaped.

most frequently used phrases

Work as for: you will be working the piece as a previous one, as in 'work as for back'.

Ending with a RS row: the last row you work will be a right side row.

Ending with a WS row: the last row you work will be a wrong side row.

Inc every 4th row: work 3 rows straight and then increase on the next row. This is the same principle for other increasings, as in every 5th row. This is commonly found on sleeves.

Work inc sts into pattern: this is usually found on a sleeve where you are increasing stitches. You need to make sure you keep the repeat of the stitch pattern consistent on each side of the sleeve as you add on more stitches.

other points to • When working a jacket or cardigan where you have two front pieces, remember that remember the Right Front refers to the right front as you are wearing it rather than as you are looking at it.

  • Most patterns are written for a range of sizes. Quantities and measurements relating to the smallest size are given first in the instructions and appear outside of the round () brackets. Those for the larger sizes are given inside the brackets. Make sure as you follow the pattern that you are consistently using the right stitches for your size - it is only too easy to switch sizes inside the brackets. One way to avoid this is to photocopy the pattern and then mark the size you are knitting with a highlighter pen.
  • Work the instructions given in square [ ] brackets the number of times stated afterwards, as in [k1, p1] 3 times. Where 0 appears, no stitches or rows are worked for this size.
  • Asterisks are also used to indicate a repeat, as in * k1, p1, rep from * twice.

When two parts of a garment share the same instructions, asterisks are also used, as in rep from * to **. This means repeat the instructions between the asterisks.

care of garments care of garments

Taking care of your garments is important. If you have invested all that time and labour in knitting them, you want them to look good for as long as possible. Follow these guidelines for the best results.

1 Check the yarn label for washing instructions. Most yarns can now be machine-washed on a delicate wool cycle (all the yarns used in this book are machine-washable).

2 Prior to washing make a note of the measurements of the garment or piece, such as the width and length.

3 After washing, lay the garment flat and check the measurements again to see if they are the same. If not, smooth and pat back into shape.

Some knitters still prefer to hand wash their garments. Use soap flakes especially created for hand knits, and warm rather than hot water. Handle the knits gently in the water - do not rub or wring as this can stretch or felt the fabric. Rinse well to get rid of any soap and squeeze out excess water. Even if you have machine-washed your garment, the gentle spin will mean that you will probably need to get rid of more water by rolling the garment in a towel. Dry the garment by laying it out flat on top of a towel to absorb moisture, smooth and pat into shape. Do not dry knits next to direct heat such as a radiator. Store them loosely folded to allow the air to circulate.

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