The Big Picture Keeping Track of Where You

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You don't knit a sweater in one sitting. No matter how much you love to knit, eventually you have to put it down. For this reason, I highly recommend that you develop a system to remind yourself of where you are at the moment you put down your knitting and where you're going when you pick it up again later.

Our favorite method for tracking a sweater in progress involves making a diagram of whatever we're working on. We're indebted to Gertrude Taylor's America's Knitting Book (Simon Schuster Trade) for the idea for this system. What follows is our version of her system.

A diagram is a quick outline drawing you make of your sweater piece. On it, you can show all the knitting information embedded in the text of your pattern. If your sweater pattern is a map of your entire sweater, the diagram you make is a map of the piece you're working on at the moment. It gives you an instant visual picture of where you are, where you're headed, and the steps you have to take to get there. Figure 15-3 shows a diagram of a sweater back.

dec 1 st

Figure 15-3:

A diagram of a sweater back.

Back neck

/in etc

Back neck

56 rows worked to shoulder

14" to underarm

2" ribbing

56 rows worked to shoulder

98 rows worked to underarm

100 sts

We usually work from a general diagram on plain white paper; then we move to graph paper when we get to the shaping area so we can chart out every stitch. Because most sweater patterns have you begin with the back, draw a diagram for that piece first and enter the information that will remind you of the steps en route to the finished piece, such as the following:

I How many stitches to cast on I How many inches to work in the border stitch I Where to begin binding off the armhole I How many stitches to bind off I How many stitches to decrease

As you work through the sweater, you can mark off your route as you go (doing so is helpful if you put your work down for a few days) and make notes on things you want to remember. If we're working on a sweater with armhole shaping, for example, we note on the diagram the number of rows we've worked to the first shaping row. This way, when we're working on the front, we know exactly how many rows to work for the piece to be the same as the back.

As we work through shaping, we can mark off our progress by checking off the decreases as we make them. When we reach the shoulder, we count the rows between the beginning of the armhole shaping and the shoulder and note it on the diagram, and then we finish any shoulder and neck shaping the pattern calls for. Then we have a map that we can use to make the front, up to the point of the neckline. Using the diagram, we can work the front as we did the back, following our notes.

^ If you'd rather keep track of where you are in a pattern in an easier way, look for removable highlighting tape available at teacher's supply stores. It looks ■ foj 1 like regular clear tape but can be peeled off the page when you're done with it.

It's also a good way to keep track of a particular set of directions you're knitting again and again, such as a stitch pattern.

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