Don’t be tripped up by pattern instructions – part 2

Following on from our look at instructions like “at the same time” or “on every following”, this time we are going to give you some tips for dealing with the term “evenly”.

Increasing evenly

You occasionally still find this instruction in new patterns but it is more common in older ones. You will be asked to increase a certain number of stitches evenly across a row. Here we will use the example of increasing 10 sts in a row of 69 sts, ending up with 79 sts.

To work this out you need to think about different parts of the row:

  • Stitches before the first increase (beg)
  • Stitches after the last increase (end)
  • Number of increases
  • Number of spaces between increases. This is the number of increases minus one – if you draw it out on a piece of paper you will see this is true.
  • Stitches between the increases (gap)

In this example we are using the make one increase which doesn’t use any existing stitches.

Working this out does need a little bit of maths but it isn’t complicated.

The total stitches at the start of the increases (69 in this case) is made up of:

Stitches before the first increase (beg)
Gap stitches times the number of space (number of increases minus one)
Stitches after the last increase (end)

First a little trick – divide the total number of stitches by the number of increases to get a start ing point for the number of gap stitches. In the case of our example we are increasing 10 sts and start with 69. If you were simply to divide 69 by 10 you get 6.9 which is close to 7 which is a good place to start

If we take 7 as the number of gap stitches in our example and there are 10 increases, for our sum we need to multiply 7 by 9 (that’s 10-1 for the number of spaces we want between the increases) which gives us 63 sts.

So we know that: Beg stitches plus 63 plus end stitches equals 69. That leaves 6 stitches for the beginning and the end, that is 3 at the start and 3 at the end (sometimes you may have an odd number of stitches to divide so will end up with one more st at the beginning or the end).

This means we can rewrite the original instruction as: K3, (m1, k7) 9 times, m1, k3. 79sts

Decreases and buttonholes

These work in a similar way except that decreases and buttonholes use stitches. This means our sum becomes:

The total stitches at the start of decreases/buttonholes =

Stitches before the first decrease (beg)
Gap stitches times the number of space (number of decreases/buttonholes minus one)
Number of decreases/buttonholes times number of stitches used in each decrease/buttonholes
Stitches after the last decrease (end)

For example “make 10 (yo, k2tog) buttonholes evenly over 79 sts”.

The first thing we know is that each button hole uses two stitches so all the button holes will use up 20 of our 79 stitches. This leaves 59 stitches for the gaps and the stitches at the beginning and end. Using our estimating trick again we divide 59 by 10. This gives 5.9 so we are going to estimate that the gap between buttonholes is 6 stitches.

That means we have used 20 stitches for the button holes and 6 times 9 = 54 stitches for the gap stitches. Those add up to 74 which leaves us 5 stitches for the beginning and end stitches.

So we can rewrite the instruction as: K3, (yo, k2tog, k6) 9 times, yo, k2tog, k2. 79sts

Sometimes you may have to play about with the numbers of stitches in each section get a result you really like but if you follow these steps you will be able to tackle any of these types of “evenly” instructions.

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