The rhythm method

Be grateful when instructions give you the pick-up rhythm. You don't have to worry about getting a particular number of stitches into a band. Instead, you're concerned with a ratio of rows to stitches.

Rhythm instructions are easy to test. Along the cardigan edge (or along your gauge swatch), pick up 32 stitches and work in the rhythm your pattern gives you. Work the stitches for 1 inch (see Figure 17-4), and then check the edge you've made. Be honest. If the band is nice and flat and doesn't pucker, stretch, or distort the front edge in any way, you're on. Rip out those test stitches and pick up the stitches in the same way all along the edge.

If the test band puckers and draws in, you're skipping too many stitches. Instead of 3 out of 4 stitches, try 4 out of 5 or 5 out of 6. And if the band stretches the edge of your sweater, you aren't skipping enough stitches. Try picking up 2 out of 3. Keep experimenting until you get the right ratio; then rip out the test band and proceed with your plan.

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