Yarn Rascal is in full mode today. His rascal genes are sparking on all cylinders and he his heading for a major time out. I tried to ease these stitch markers out of the yarn vault without his knowledge. But nothing that has anything to do with yarn slips by this little guy.
As you can see, their plastic holder looks like it has come in contact with a wild animal. It has. Yarn Rascal. The stitch markers and their holder drive him right around the bend. We’ve had his esophagus, stomach and intestines x-rayed twice in his short nine month life because I was missing stitch markers and was sure he had eaten them. Each time the x-rays were negative. Eventually I found the errant markers chewed and mangled in a lonely corner of the house. Hence, to save my sanity and money (x-rays are expensive) I lock the stitch markers in the yarn vault.
But I needed them out today because I wanted to say that good knitting patterns can and should include tips to help knitters. Tips need to be kept at a minimum and placed outside of the main pattern in a side bar or text box near the place in the pattern where the tip can be used. For instance, when it is time to divide stitches for heel work on my toe up socks, I always place a little box to the side suggesting the knitter slip the first three stitches at each side of the instep onto markers to help prevent holes from appearing when rejoining to work in the round. Holes are most often created from the stress put on the first unworked stitch at each side. Taking three stitches off the needles at each side helps distribute that stress.
Helpful tips can also be placed in a section called Pattern Notes, if a side bar is not ideal. The objective is to keep all but the necessary language out of the main portion of a pattern. What is the main portion of a pattern? For now, the main portion here means the knitting instruction themselves. A sweater’s main portion includes the BACK, RIGHT FRONT, LEFT FRONT, SLEEVES. A toe up sock’s main portion includes TOE, FOOT, GUSSET, HEEL TURN, HEEL FLAP, LEG, CUFF.
Don’t let the main portion get bogged down with language. Knitting patterns that read:
Row 1 (RS):K1, p3, k10, yo, ssk, k10, p3, k1
are much better than
Row 1:K1 (this is your selvage stitch), p3, k10, ssk (slip one stitch, slip another stitch, take your right needle ….
Keep pattern writing in pattern language. Knitting pattern language is abbreviations. Learn them and learn what they mean. Learn how to write them. Do this by constantly reading good patterns in order to pick up their rhythms, usages, organization, punctuation and language.
Pattern language is clear, concise and consistent in how it presents instructions. Being consistent means a pattern reliably uses the word “stitches” when referring to a larger instruction that is not included in a row or round instruction. For example,”place remaining stitches on a piece of thread.” A pattern consistently uses the abbreviation sts when referring to stitches in a row or round of instruction, such as the stitch count after decreasing or increasing.
Explaining involved techniques like short rows and provisional cast ons occur once and not in the main portion of the instructions. In today’s publishing, the explanations of these techniques go at the end of a pattern. Like the writing in the main portion, the language describing the technique is kept clear and concise. For example, the explanation for a short row might be written as shown below.
Row 1 (RS): Knit to last st. Bring yarn fwrd, sl st onto right needle, wrap st by moving yarn to back. Turn.
Row 2: Sl first st, purl to last st. Move yarn to back, sl st onto right needle, wrap st by bringing yarn fwrd. Turn.
Row 3: Sl first st, knit to 1 st before previously wrapped st, w&t.
Row 4: Sl first st, purl to 1 st before previously wrapped st, w&t.
Second Half of Short Row
Row 1 (RS): Knit to first wrapped st. Sl wrapped st onto right needle, pick up wrap with left needle, sl wrapped st back to left needle, knit both st and wrap together. Next st w&t.
Row 2: Purl to first wrapped st. Sl wrapped st onto right needle, pick up wrap and place on left needle, sl wrapped st back to left needle, purl both st and wrap together. Next st w&t.
Row 3: Knit to first double wrapped st. Sl st onto right needle, pick up both wraps with left needle, sl st back to left needle, knit st and its wraps together. Next st w&t.
Row 4: Purl to first double wrapped st. Sl st onto right needle, pick up both wraps, sl st back to left needle, purl st and its wraps together. Next st w&t.
In the main portion of the pattern short row work can be described as follows:
Using short rows, work until there are 8 stitches wrapped on left side, 8 stitches wrapped on right side and 8 live unwrapped stitches in the middle.
Work second half of Short Row until all stitches are once again live.
Wednesday we’ll look at how to organize a pattern.
Yarn Rascal is now going to have the time out he’s been working so hard to achieve.
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