Monday, October 10, 2016

How to Read your Knitting Part 1


Knitters often have trouble understanding the difference in appearance between various stitches, rows, increases and decreases on the needles. Knowing how to "read your knitting" is important because it will allow you to find mistakes in stitch patterns and give you the ability to correct them. You’ll make fewer errors and will have less trouble finding your place when the work has been put down.

Reading your knitting is a skill which most knitters pick up along the way. Usually we start to get it when we make mistakes. A more experienced knitter can help you when you know you've made a mistake but don't know what it is. A novice hands the work over to someone else and they point out the error and how to correct it. In the beginning we are focused on learning the manual skills which are required to form our stitches. The difficulty for anyone teaching you is that knowledge and skills are two different things. I can give you the facts about how to read your knitting but depending on where you are in your knitting journey you may not be able to hold all of the information in your short term memory and then be able to apply it to your work. When you consider the total possible permutations of stitch combinations and errors it could be a long list of items for you to check. The answer is to practice by paying attention to what you are are doing and what the end result is.

As a teacher I love helping knitters and seeing the light bulb moment when a knitter gets it. Whatever the it is. I helped a friend to understand stitch orientation recently. She's come back to knitting after a long absence excited about knitting a sweater for her first grandchild. She dropped a few stitches and knew she could use a crochet hook to pick them back up. What she didn't know about was stitch orientation, but she could see they stitches were "messed up" once she knit a few more rows. 

I'm going to start working on some swatches to run a series on reading your knitting. Come back soon for more on this topic.

 

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for this very useful topic. I look forward to following along and hopefully learning a few things.

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    1. If there is anything specific you would like me to write about you can email me. My contact info is at the top of the page.

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  2. I missed a couple of yarn overs during "The Debate" last night, and noticed them in the very next row of a thankfully simple lace pattern. Marked them each with a stitch pin, and backed up successfully.

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    1. That's exactly what reading your knitting is about. Once I really see the work my mistakes become very obvious and I catch them quickly rather than many rows later.

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