Why I Don’t Follow Patterns

9 Feb

I have the hardest time following knitting patterns!  Here are the reasons why:

  1. My gauge never matches the pattern’s gauge.  A pattern might call for sock or fingering weight yarn and 8 stitches to the inch.  On size 2 needles, my gauge is 7 stitches to the inch.  On size 1 needles, my guage is 8.25 stitches to the inch!  Where’s the size 1.5 needles?  I don’t own them or they don’t exist.  This problem seems to come up a lot.  I was just going to make a pair of gloves for the first time.  Gianna’s mittens were quick and easy and I thought I’d try gloves.  Now, worsted weight won’t work for those itty bitty fingers I figured.  So I tried DK weight.  The pattern was an Ann Budd pattern where she shows LOTS of different gauges in whole numbers between 5 and 8 stitches to the inch.  With the DK yarn, I was trying to strive for 6 stitches per inch.  With size 4 needles, I got about 5.25.  With size 3 needles, I got 5.5.  What?  Do I try a sport weight yarn?  Do I try to modify the pattern?  Do I keep trying larger or smaller needles in hopes of finding a combination of needles and yarn that will result in a whole number of stitches per inch? It’s so frustrating!  I started a new pair of socks instead…
  2. What’s with these instructions?  They have an increase row and a plain knit row.  Okay… I can do that.  Then they have something like this – “On every 3rd row increase two stitches 2 times.”  So does that mean, “Increase now, on this row; knit two plain rows; increase; knit two plain rows.”  Or does it mean, “Knit two plain rows; increase; knit two plain rows; increase.”  Or does it even matter as long as you’re consistent?  Believe it or not, the first one makes more sense to me because I set up first with an increase row then a plain row so that’s the pattern that’s established.  I usually just wing it and consistently use that method and hope for the best.  But is that what the pattern intended?
  3. I’m kniting a pair of socks with a 3 x 1 rib over 64 stitches.  I’m knitting them toe up using the magic loop method so I have 32 stitches on each side of the loop.  One side represents the sock sole; the other is the top of the foot.  The top of the foot will have the 3 x 1 rib but the sole is plain stocking stitch.  The instructions say, “Center the pattern over the top of the foot stitches”.  Okay… except there is no way I can center a 3 x 1 rib over 32 stitches.  Think about it.  If I start with 3 knit stitches then I end with a purl (and visa versa).  I can’t divide the 3 knit stitches in half evenly – I can’t knit 1.5 stitches.  So I can’t really center the pattern.  So what to do?  I changed to 2 x 2 rib.  🙂  Now I can purl, K2, P2…. then end in a purl stitch and it’s perfectly centered.  Too anal?  Probably.

Maybe if I took a knitting lesson instead of winging it on my own, I would know the answers to these questions.  Maybe I should ask on ravelry.com.  🙂

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3 Responses to “Why I Don’t Follow Patterns”

  1. KnitterInPink February 9, 2011 at 2:08 PM #

    Too funny. And everyone’s gauge is a little different. If you’re getting 8.25, I’d say go with that, unless you are using a yarn that stretches a LOT…remember, you can always block it BIGGER. 🙂

    On the increase…I would assume it means every third increase row…increase 2 sitches 2 times instead of one or…instead of what you were doing.

    But going your own way works too. I do that allll the time.

  2. Sheila February 9, 2011 at 7:11 PM #

    I have been following your knitting for a few months now, and this post makes me love you! LOL I could have written it myself. Look for size 2.5mm needles (also called a size 1), which I call a 1.5 and it’s the size I use most frequently. When I come across things such as your 2nd question, I find a different pattern or retreat to my tried-and-true recipe. And I actually had the same problem on my last pair regarding centering the pattern on the instep–it’s from a well-respected author/book so it baffles me. In the end I told myself that no one will know I screwed up but me, and I learned the lesson for next time.

    Did you end up liking the heel pattern you did from Maiaknits? It was one of the first I printed when I learned to knit socks, but I’ve never tried it.

    Good luck!

  3. Sonia February 10, 2011 at 8:03 AM #

    Oh man, this knitting has a language all its own. Do you remember the voice of the Peanuts (cartoon)teacher? This is what I understood: Wha, wha, wha, mittens. Wha, wha, wha, socks! You can do it 🙂

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