Don’t be tripped up by pattern instructions – part 1

We are always on the look out for knitting and crochet problems that you need help with and several people have asked our advice on making sure they understand pattern instructions correctly. We’ve picked out a few instructions that can trip people up.

“Decrease on every”

This instruction (and similar ones of increases) are quite common but sometimes need a little thought.

For example: Work 10 rows straight, then dec at each end of next and following 4 RS rows and then on foll 3 4th rows.

It can be useful to think through this whole instruction and note down what rows the decreases happen on. In this case the first decreases happen on row 11 and then on the next four right side rows so the will be rows 13, 15, 17, and 19. After that the decreases are every fourth row – 23, 27 and 31.

knitting decrease notes

As you work through your decreases you can tick them off.

“At the same time”

One good reason for making a note of the rows when increases or decreases happen is because instructions like the one above are regularly followed by “at the same time” for example around the neck shaping in garments.

This is one example of when it is important to read though your pattern carefully before you start. It is easy to be caught out by starting on one set of instruction and then suddenly realising you should have also be carrying out a second instruction.

If you have notes for which rows decreases or increases happen on, you can then match which rows other instructions need to be followed on so you can keep track.

“XX rows before”

Another good reason for reading through your pattern – especially for garments – at the start is you might notice an instruction along the lines of:

“Cont with front as set until 24 rows less than back to shoulder have been worked”.

If you have noticed this instruction before you have worked the back you can make notes as you go about the number of rows to any armhole shaping and to the shoulder, etc. Then it is easier to match what is happening with the front and work out how many rows “24 less” actually is, than if you have to spread out the back and count rows at a later date.

What knitting and crochet problems do you want help with? Let us know in the comments

5 thoughts on “Don’t be tripped up by pattern instructions – part 1”

  1. Thank you. They’re simple solutions but sometimes they don’t come to you when you’re in the midst of de-coding a pattern!


  2. I have just frogged a mitten which on the face of it appeared to be a simple pattern …. felt quite upset that I couldn’t work it out even with some squared paper! Maybe I’ll try again soon. Bit like falling of a bike, you ought to get back on it straightaway!


  3. Great advice, thank you! As a late returner to knitting, I feel like I’m learning all over again (and hopefully clearing out my worst habits as I go). This will definitely help. ☺


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