Wednesday, December 7, 2016

How to Read your Knitting Part 6

Here's another stitch pattern for us to work through. It's a simple eyelet stitch pattern. The motifs are offset in what is often referred to as a half drop pattern. You could also think of it as a brick laying pattern. The motif would sit in the centre of each brick.

I've used a garter stitch border around the pattern stitches as in my last post. I didn't include it in the stitch pattern below. Working two sets of instructions simultaneously is another skill which will simplify your knitting. I use markers to define those borders.

Eyelet Stitch (multiple of 8)

Row 1 (RS): Knit.
Row 2 (WS) and all other wrong side rows: Purl
Row 3: K3 * yo, ssk, k6; rep from *, end last repeat as k3 instead of k6.
Row 5: K1, * k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k3; rep from *, end last repeat as k2 instead of k3.
Row 7: K3 * yo, ssk, k6; rep from *, end last repeat as k3 instead of k6..
Row 9: Knit. 
Row 11: K7 * yo, ssk, k6; rep from *, end last repeat as k7 instead of k6.
Row 13: K5, * k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k3; rep from *, end last repeat as k6 instead of k3.
Row 15: K7 * yo, ssk, k6; rep from *, end last repeat as k7 instead of k6.
Row 16: Purl.

When you review a stitch pattern it often helps the knitting if you start to take note of how the pattern works. First thing to notice is all the wrong side rows are purl. That means it's a stocking stitch base and 50 % of the rows will be plain purl only. Rows 1 and 9 are all knit, that means 60 % of the knitting is stocking stitch. Notice next that Rows 3, 7, 11 and 15 are the same stitch pattern repeat from the * forward. Next, 5 and 13 are the same as one another from the * forward. While it takes 16 rows to write out, this is a fairly easy stitch to learn. Rows 3, 5, 7, 11, 13 and 15 only vary slightly at the beginning and end of the row to balance the motif across the work. There are really only two pattern rows to learn. When you think it through that way the stitch patterns feels much easier than it looks to be from a cursory look at the text instructions.

The knitter's rule here is, size doesn't matter...really!

Once you get knitting, you should start to work on the relationships of the pattern stitches. First, you establish a yarn over followed by an ssk (Row 3). The decrease keeps the stitch count consistent. If you are using markers you can count the stitches when you work the wrong side purl rows to ensure everything is correct. A wrong stitch count tells you there's an error. Stop and assess. My common error is to accidentally drop the strand of yarn making the yarn over. If you do, pick it back up and put it on your needle. I find this easier to do from the right side of the work to be sure I get it to the right of the decrease and with the correct stitch orientation.

If you look at the motif when you get to the next pattern row (Row 5), you can see the k2tog has to be in front of the yarn over from the previous RS row. Next, there is another yarn over and then a knit. That knit gets worked into the stitch immediately above the yarn over of the previous RS row. If it doesn't, you've made a mistake so it's time to go back and fix it.

The next thing to notice is the ssks make a fairly strong diagonal line in your knitting leaning to the left. As you work them make sure this line is maintained. As usual this makes way more sense if you create a sample and work through the process yourself. Click on the photos to make them larger.

Here I'm starting the next motif (Row 11) which will fall in the centre of the two from the previous row. If you visually follow the stitch up from the ssk column you will notice that you work one more knit stitch, then the yarn over and then the next ssk. If it doesn't it's time to look for an error. There is only one motif in this repeat because there isn't enough room at the edges for a full motif to be worked. Once you recognize these relationships you are well on your way to reading your knitting. You won't stop referring to the stitch pattern, but you will catch your errors much more quickly once you have a road map of stitch relationships in your head.

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