ItBEft Are all the parts there

Every knitting pattern should have the following parts:

1 Materials: This list tells you what you need in order to knit the project, including needles, yarn (the kind and the amount), and other materials, such as stitch markers or a crochet hook. See Chapter 1 for details about knitting supplies.

ii Gauge information: This information, which is sometimes labeled "tension," tells you the gauge that you need to knit at. If you're substituting yarn, compare the pattern's gauge in stockinette stitch to the gauge listed on the yarn's label. Sometimes a pattern will list a gauge measured over a pattern stitch instead of stockinette stitch, so be sure to read carefully! (Check out Chapter 2 for the scoop on gauge.)

i Size: The finished dimensions of the project should be written out or given in a diagram. Flip to Chapter 3 for general information about sizing.

i Directions: The pattern directions should have subheadings for all the parts of the finished piece, such as back, right front, left front, sleeves, and so on. It's also customary to find finishing information that tells you how to sew the pieces together and make and attach any details, such as buttonbands or tassels. Make sure that none of these parts is missing. For instance, if the picture of the garment shows a hood, there should be directions for making the hood.

If everything seems to be accounted for, move on to the next step. If any of the parts are missing, I suggest that you find another pattern or see if the missing parts are available as errata.

Do you understand the directions?

Pick a part of the pattern and begin reading it. Does it make sense? Can you follow all the steps without getting lost? If there are a couple of new things that you feel ready to try, go ahead and go for it; a pattern that excites you is the perfect way to improve your skills. But if you really can't make heads or tails of it, you're probably wise to choose something else to knit.

Does the pattern come in your size and style?

\BEH Before you choose a pattern and a size to knit, you must know what size you are!

Check out Chapter 3 to find out more about how and why you should take your measurements. Don't simply assume that you're a medium or a large. Look at the range of sizes offered and see if the pattern comes in a size that will fit your specific measurements. If the sweater won't fit, it isn't the pattern for you — no matter how much you may like it. Think about what it is that you like in the design and look for another pattern with some of the same elements that comes in your size. And remember that if it's the cable up the front or the stitch pattern used at the sleeves, you may be able to add these to a pattern that suits your body better.

Now a few words about style. A beautiful picture accompanying the pattern of a hand-knit garment can do funny things to your brain. By looking at a picture of the finished product, you may think that knitting a specific sweater could make your chest larger, make your hair curlier, or put you that much closer to the sun-drenched beach in the picture. Unfortunately, that isn't the case. And, because you can't try on handknits before you make them, sometimes it's difficult to know whether you're going to like what you get. So, when choosing a pattern, be aware of the styles that suit you and the ones that don't. The fact that you've knit it yourself probably won't change your feelings about bulky turtlenecks or sleeveless tops; if you never wear them, don't knit them.

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