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When placing buttons and buttonholes, some knitters make the mistake of measuring each placement. The tape measure is of little help in getting accurate placement because knitted fabric stretches and what is 2″ (5) cm one time may not be the same measurement the second time. The trick to placing buttons and buttonholes precisely is counting rows.

Know how many rows you get per inch and you can place buttons and their corresponding buttonholes right where you want them. According to pattern standards the first and last button is usually place 1/2 inch (about 1.25) cm from the top and bottom of the garment. The rest of the buttons are spaced evenly between these two.

I do a dry run, laying out the buttons on the back of the garment because the front area where they will go has not yet been constructed. When placing the top and bottom button I figure out how many rows I am working per inch. For the latest baby sweater I am knitting 9 rows per inch. To find how many rows per 1/2 inch I divide 9 by 2 which equals 4.5 rows. I have a choice of rounding that number up or down. I decided to round it down to 4. Thus, I know 4 rows from the top of the garment and 4 rows up from the bottom of the garment will have buttons.

Next, I lay out the remainder of the buttons between the top and bottom. For this particular baby sweater I only had one more to place. I found the middle distance between the top and bottom by measuring between the two buttons. The total distance was 2.5 inches. To find the half way point, I divided the total by 2 and got 1.25 inches. I multiply the 1.25 inches by my row gauge of 9 and I get 11.25 rows as the middle distance between the top and bottom button. Again, I round down to 11 rows.

Now I know that at four rows I need a buttonhole and button. I knit another 10 rows and on the 11th I make another buttonhole. When I am four rows shy of the top of the garment in goes another buttonhole.

Since buttonhole bands and button bands are usually worked separately the row counting works great. On the buttonband when I come to a row where a button will go I mark that row with either a piece of yarn or a removable stitch marker. When it comes to sewing on the buttons opposite the buttonholes I don’t need to fuss or fiddle around because their placement is already marked.

I hope this information helps make placing buttons and buttonholes a little easier.

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Finally, the pattern writing part. Pages are numbered, the header is the name of the pattern, the footer is copyright and contact info. This is page 2 of the pattern. Skip a space or two and begin.

All headings regarding garment names such as, Hat, Sweater, Gloves, Scarf, Socks etc. are written in Heading 1 in Word. All headings regarding garment pieces such as, Brim, Crown Shaping, Sleeves, Back, Right Front, Neck, Wrist, Thumb, etc. use Heading 2. When writing about garment pieces within an instruction always capitalize the first letter of the names of the garment pieces . For example, “Work Left Front same as Back.”

Paragraphing occurs whenever there is a logical break where the knitter will naturally look away from the pattern for a time before completing the next instruction. At these “look away” points, one paragraph ends and the next begins.

Use italics for construction notes. For example, at the same time. Or when signaling an instruction applies to only certain sizes. For example:
Size 6 mos only:
Inc Row: Increase 12 sts evenly across row.

Rows / Rnds are written in bold. For example, Row 1:. While some use ordinal numbers with superscripts as in 1st Row, I dislike it. I also haven’t seen it making big inroads to becoming a common way to denote rows or rounds. Do place periods at the end of row / round instructions. If delineation between a RS and WS row is necessary cite it like this: Row 1 (RS): and then the instructions. Don’t let instructions peter out and become vague at the end of a row or round. For example:
Row 1: K1, p1; rep to end of row. Or Row 1: K1, p1 across row. If a certain number of sts at the end of a row or round are worked differently than what has come before them, write it out Row 1: K1, pl to last 3 sts. K3. Don’t assume the knitter will just know what to do with the last few stitches at the end of a row or round. If the last few stitches are always worked the same way at the end of each row, it can be written as a pattern note before starting the segment. Be aware too that many knitters, myself included, will blissfully knit on forgetting the pattern note only to remember it 4″ (10) cm later.

Every row / round that includes decreases or increases should have a stitch count at the end of the row. Yes, even if only 1 st was changed. The exception is when a stitch pattern has accurate st counts only after a certain row is completed. Then an accurate st count goes at the end of that specific row taking into account the increases and decreases that occurred in the previous rows. Remaining stitches can be cited this way: K2tog, p1.–84( 89, 93) sts rem.

There is more regarding style sheets and the use of parenthetical marks (), brackets [], asterisks *, citing complex stitches, and when one can accurately claim a pattern is both charted and written.

Until then. Enjoy your weekend. I am having oral surgery on Friday and hope to be more myself by Monday. By the way, I haven’t knitted a thing this whole time. With the medication, I haven’t dared pick up needles and yarn. Not being able to knit is having an unnerving effect on me. The Skipper is spending a lot of time in his man cave areas of the house. Yarn Rascal spends his time curled up with me giving me comfort and love.

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As my luck would have it, March, and I mean the entire month, can’t move on and be done with fast enough. Two minutes after midnight, that is two minutes into 1 March, I was in the emergency room of the one hospital that is close to me, but which I highly distrust because they are simply awful.

In seeking help, I increased the pain in the tooth and added on an allergic reaction from the medication they gave me. Let’s just say I am up to my ears in medical stuff I don’t like and won’t have relief from the pain until Friday. All my breast cancer tests, MRI with contrast and mammogram, scheduled for today have been canceled and need rescheduling. We have an ice storm visiting. None of what is going on medically should kill me, but when I am in this kind of pain that is made worse by weather fronts it is a special kind of hell.

Please make this month go fast, please, please, please.

Back to the Style Sheet for knitters and crocheters.

Following the first page is, naturally, the second page. Number the pattern pages following the first page. It’s about a 50-50 split between those who print out a pattern and those who only use electronic devices to access the pattern. Thus, it is still advisable to format a header that includes the name of the pattern and the page number. The footer on the inside pages include copyright information, your name or business name and a way of contacting you such as email or pm via Ravelry.

While a debate continues on where to place the list of abbreviations used within the pattern, I tend to favor placing it on the second page. The Craft Yarn Council has a list of standard abbreviations. The Abbreviation List is in alphabetical order. The first letter of most abbreviations is lowercase and the abbreviation itself is in bold. The abbreviations for WS (wrong side) and RS (right side) rows are always in caps. Within a pattern, abbreviations are lowercase unless they begin a sentence or signify row side.

After the Abbreviations List comes two more items: Stitch Patterns and / or Pattern Notes. Stitch Pattern cites those patterns you are not charting. A particular ribbing, a particular overall pattern with unusual components, an uncommon cast on.

Pattern Notes is where information goes that applies to the whole pattern. For example, accurate stitch counts occur only after completion of a WS row. If a note does not apply to the entire pattern, then place the note in a sidebar and put it right where the information is needed.

It is now time for my pain medication after which I won’t even be sure of my name.

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I have decided to do a couple of fasts posts giving the elements of a style sheet for knitters / crocheters who are interested in self-publishing. I do this with this caveat: This is the style I use. Other styles are out there, so look around. The information contained below is not chiseled in granite. These are the things that work for me. Do experiment and find what works for you.

What Info Goes On the First Page

1) Design Title

2) A picture of the garment or object. Recommended size 3 x 4″ (8 x 10) cm. Where you place it is up to you. My strong recommendation is to make the design of all the pages in your pattern as clean and easy to read as possible. Study patterns with layouts you like. Adopt what you like and leave the rest.

3) Your name or your business name.

4) Description of the item. This is the romance part. Include inspiration for the design. A description of construction. Sell the person on why he / should buy this pattern and how it will make life better. Keep the description short. Avoid superlatives.

5) Sizes. For sweaters, I like to list 2 chest sizes. The “To Fit Chest” measurement and the “Finished Chest Measurements”. The “To Fit” measurement tells the crafter the actual chest size without ease. The “Finished” measurement is the size of the sweater after it is seamed and blocked and includes the amount of ease.

6) Yarn. The format for listing yarn is this: Yarn Company Yarn Name (fiber content %; yds [m] / oz [g]) per skein; weight; color. Number of skeins.

7) Needles. US size (mm size) straight, circular or dpns, If necessary, change needle size in order to obtain gauge. When listing circular needles: US size (mm size) circular length in inches (cm). For those outside the US, mm size is listed before US size.

8) Notions. Tapestry or darning needle, types of stitch markers, stitch holders, ribbons, buttons, etc.

9) Difficulty level. Go here for how to assess skill levels.

10) If I have specific construction techniques I want to highlight, I list them under Design Elements. An example of design elements for a sock might be short-row toe, round heel, gusset, provisional cast on, lace, etc.

11) Gauge / Tension. Stitch number and row number = 4″ (10) cm with Needle size used followed by the type of stitch. For example, 36 sts and 15 rows = 4″ (10) cm with US 6 (4 mm) needles over pattern stitch. Outside the US list cm and mm before US measurements.

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What is an in-depth schematic? It contains much more information than a schematic that comes with a pattern. It accounts for every stitch, row, inch, centimeter, rate and amount of increase or decrease that goes into making the garment. A well-made in-depth schematic tells the designer everything he / she needs to know in order to create the garment and does it through numbers, not words. Ultra in-depth schematics even cite the types of seaming stitches used. Here’s an example of an incomplete one I began creating only to abandon it once I decided to measure gauge in the pattern stitch rather than stockinette.

in depth schematic 1

I use inches when I design. They are highlighted in yellow. Stitch counts are highlighted in pink, row counts in orange. Since I’m in the numbers stage of designing I translate the inches into centimeters. This makes it easier when and if I decide to write up the pattern. Missing from this particular schematic is the rate and amount of decreases for the neckline and armhole shaping. Also missing is the stitch pattern information for the body, which includes the stitch multiple plus the number of extra stitches needed to make the stitch pattern and the number of rows needed to complete one pattern.

Why include the stitch multiple on a schematic? It tells me the number of stitches in a set to complete one pattern. A stitch multiple of 4 plus 2 lets me know that I will have less of a headache if I make all my stitch count numbers multiples of 4. A multiple of 4 is simply a number that when divided by four provides what I call a “clean” answer, or a whole number with nothing left over. An example of a multiple of 4 is 12. When 12 is divided by 4 it equals 3. No messy left overs in the form of fractions or decimal points. So what does the plus 2 mean and where does it come in?

Plus two tells me that at the beginning and at the end of the 4 stitches I need to have one additional stitch. For example, if I had a row of 26 sts the first stitch would be one of the plus 2, then I could work 6 sets of 4 sts across the row leaving the very last stitch to count for the second stitch of the plus 2. In reality, I would add a selvedge st to either end for a row count of 28.

Stitch multiples also give me an inkling of how the pattern will look when I start increasing and decreasing. Sometimes where and how often an increase or decrease is performed is affected by the stitch multiple.

I try to work out all the math before I start knitting the garment and include it on my schematic. Doing so prevents nasty little surprises from popping up when I am half way through a project. Well…most of the time it does.

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Knitting on the Canyonette Shawl continues and is nearing the end. All in all, it’s been a great project for the knitting break I needed. Now it’s back to the hard work.

I am being haunted by Ming Blue. Though it doesn’t exist in knitted form any longer, I feel I need to justify why it doesn’t. In truth, if I had known I’d feel this bad, I wouldn’t have killed it. Instead I would have folded it up and put it away. Lesson learned.

girl's smock 001

sketch girl's 1960 smock 1

Yes, Ming Blue came out looking very much like what I imagined in my design. Though I changed the cuffs from the initial drawing, I was still liking the overall form. I felt the clean, close line of the knitted cuffs worked well with the shape of the mandarin collar. The gentle blouse shape of the sleeves above the cuffs went well with the A-line body shape. The overall effect was one of an artist’s smock circa 1960s kind of thing. The patch pockets were and integral part of the smock-child-1960s look. So what didn’t I like? Where did the prototype fail?

Color. I have no yarn stores near me, so every yarn I procure is via the internet. In turn, I very much depend on the colors being what they look like on screen. If I had been able to hold the turquoise, lime green, and pink yarn next to each other in my hands, I would have seen that the pink had a bluish cast that when put next to the lime green deadened what should have been a pop, vibrant splash of color.

As one who paints in acrylics, I am used to mixing my own colors to get the right one, so it really bothered me that the bluish cast of the pink killed the vibrancy of the lime green. The pink needed to be more toward the red / yellow area of the color wheel. While the right orange would have been a perfect color triad, I wanted the retro look that a bright pink would bring.

To off-set this problem, I tried to work the checkerboard with turquoise separating the pink from the green. Since a color is greatly affected by those that surround it, the separation made the pink pop and it lost it’s bluish cast. It also made the lime green pop. However, I was not happy overall with the way the checkerboard looked with the turquoise separating the colors. I wanted edgy 1960s, not something off the farm from Iowa. I used a slipped stitch pattern to create the checkerboard with the turquoise separation and I liked the way it looked on the reverse side as opposed to the stranded method I used originally. With the slipped stitch pattern I wouldn’t need to create facings, except perhaps around the neck, because the floats were not too exposed.

The second thing that killed the design was the facings. Knitting a facing and then properly sewing it so it covers the float area but does not affect the drape of the hem, cuff or neck on the right side takes time and patience. I want knitters who buy my patterns to enjoy creating their projects. I want them to like the project as much when they finish it as they did when they started it. Sewing facings is fiddly work. While I don’t mind it, I can see where it would not be a hit with all knitters. I could see them jettison the facings altogether and their end product would not be the nice, neat looking garment inside and out that I had designed it to be. Thus, they would not be happy.

The third thing to kill the design was the buttons and their placement. It had a clown costume feel to me that I just couldn’t get beyond. If I changed the neckline I could have rectified this, but I wasn’t willing to make that change. The more I thought the more I realized the mandarin collar had become the main point for me around which I was designing and not the 1960s look that I first zeroed in on.

And so there will be two sweaters coming out of this attempt. There will be a 1960s child’s smock and there will be a mandarin collared garment with clean lines and frog closure. The latter garment will be named Ming Blue Too.

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Progress continues on the 1960s girl’s sweater. Last night I crocheted the sleeve to the sweater. That’s right, I didn’t sew it, I crocheted it. I love the perfect way sleeve meets sweater when it’s crocheted together.

1960s girl's sweater

When I first read about crocheting knitting seams together, I was a little skeptical about how it would turn out. After all, I had sweated, cried, and suffered numerous meltdowns learning what sewing technique to use where and perfecting those sewing stitches. Wasn’t all that a rite of passage into the knitting world? Along comes Jean Frost and her book Custom Fit Knit Jackets Casual to Couture and there’s a whole new way of looking at seaming.

Crocheting seams together gives a neat, but thicker seam than sewing. While it’s great for finger weight yarn and may work with a DK weight yarn, I don’t think worsted or Aran weight yarns would work. While I loved the way it brought sleeve and armhole together, I found I prefer to sew the side seams of the body instead. This in part is due to the way I start my seam work.

Although I am comfortable with a crochet hook in my hand, I found it slightly awkward seaming with it. First, selvedge stitches make crochet seaming easier. While I had none on the cap of the sleeve, this didn’t cause a problem. Probably that’s because the cap was intentionally shaped to fit this particular armhole shape. What did make things awkward was how and where I like to start my seaming. I like to start my seaming in medias res, so to speak. Translated that means “in the middle of things.” No matter what seam it is, I start my seaming from the middle out so I don’t worry about weakness at the end of seams. This way of seaming was a little awkward with a crochet hook. When I turned the piece to continue seaming the other half, the yarn was on the wrong side of the hook. So I had to work an extra step to get the yarn into the correct position.

Another plus for crocheting knitting seams together is at the end of the seam there is no worry about securing the yarn so the seam doesn’t come undone. When I came to the end, I just finished off the crochet stitch. It was like locking the seam shut. I had less worry about weaving in the ends so the seam wouldn’t open and could concentrate instead on intertwining the yarn in such a way that it could not easily be seen.

Crocheting knitting seams together takes a little longer than sewing them, but overall I am happy with the results.

Have a great weekend.

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