The Joys of Pattern Writing: Non-Conventional Techniques

Calliope Close Up

I am currently working on revising Calliope, a lace tank that was licensed by Knit Picks for a year. The Yarn that I am doing it in is Lyndon Hill, from Plymouth Yarns. Thank you, Plymouth Yarns, for the yarn support by the way. Lyndon Hill is much lighter in weight than Shine, and it is a nice Cotton and Silk blend. In the Photo, which is an old one, it is in Knit Picks Shine. It is so much prettier in the lighter weight yarn.

The stitch pattern is basically a ribbed chevron of sorts that has yarn overs in it. Due to the nature of the stitch pattern, what I discovered in doing this design is that there is a lot of bias, or can be, when doing shaping.

So for the armhole decreases in this pattern, rather than have the traditional directions where you have your initial BO and then dec this many on RS rows this number of times, what I was faced with was not only the stitch pattern itself, which had a central double decrease (the center line that the ribs point in to)  separated from its paired decreases, but the pattern is in ribbing as well. So I want to keep it in pattern with the ribbing as well as have to keep in mind where I am at in the stitch pattern with regards to the yarn overs and their decrease.

I normally work about a third of the stitches for the underdarm in BO 2 sts, and then a third in single decreases. It gives a nice curve to the underarm.  What I found for the 2 st BO’s was that in some places because I was at a point in the pattern where I was working the double dec, but I was not far enough out to work the yo, that I had to dec one stitch instead of eliminate 2 (one was eliminated in the double dec, as it did not have a yo paired with it, so there would be a stitch decreased). In some places, I had to eliminate 3 sts, not 2, because I had worked a yo but would not be far enough in the pattern to be working that double dec. So I was fitting it in at the edge, between p2togs, k2togs, and sometimes more creative types of decreases. At one point, I needed to end up with that central decrease next to my selvedge stitch, and I had three stitches to eliminate. The one normally decreased on the left of it that paired with the yo on the left of it, and then the 2 sts at the right needed to BO for the armhole shaping. I still wanted to maintain that central line that I had going there. I inserted the tip of my RH ndl into the first 3 sts on the LH ndl as if to knit (the central stitch which is always on top, which is why there is an uninterupted line, and the 2 sts to the right), slipped them to the RH ndl, then did the same with the next stitch on the LH ndl and then knit the 4 together. This just arranges the stitchs so that the stitch on the left is on the bottom, and the one in the center is on the top.

When working the double decreases for the rest of the garment I had been slipping 2 stitches, the central st and the one to its’ right, in the same way. Who says you cannot put them in the order that you want, or do it with more stitches than you normally would? Since Lyndon Hill is a fine gauge yarn, I could get away with it. If you were working in a worsted weight yarn this would be more difficult to do and have it blend in because of the thickness of the yarn. What I ended up with was the stitch pattern looking exactly as it always did exactly where it stopped. For this pattern, this level of scrutiny in where the decreases go and how they are done just gives a better finish at the edge. It might not be noticable to most as to why it looks so much neater, but it is the difference between a professional looking garment and one that just doesn’t look as nice. Those kinds of details are important to consider when designing. How do the decreases in shaping affect a stitch pattern, and do I need to do things a little differently for a better finish?

Since I am going to a different yarn, I have to re-chart the armhole shaping for each size as it is different because the gauge is different. It took awhile to get things set up, but after I got going in Adobe Illustrator it was a little easier and I got the chart done for the first size. Today I hope to get a couple more done, and then I will be casting on sufficient stitches just for the armhole shaping and testing the shaping to make sure it is doing what I expect it to. Then it will be off to the test knitter.

Those decreases and yo’s can bias a fabric when they are separated, and you will see them paired but some distance from each other in different types of stitch patterns. The best way to handle the edge of your fabric when shaping so that the fabric does not bias is to maintain that stitch pattern while working your shaping.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

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2 Responses to “The Joys of Pattern Writing: Non-Conventional Techniques”

  1. Mickey Says:

    I had no idea that you had to rewrite the pattern when you switched yarns. I assumed the pattern might change a bit in size but that the old method (1st pattern) would still be acceptable. Thanks for the insight on pattern writing.

    • jolenetreace Says:

      It is amazing how much a small change in gauge can affect a pattern. There is no doubt about it, there is a lot to it that we don’t generally think about.

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