This past year I was asked by a friend to duplicate a comercial knitted sweater. Her husband had bought it for her many years ago and it was her favorite, but as all things do eventually, it began to show its wear. So, I bravely, but reluctantly, said, “OK!” Boy, was I in for it!
First off, I had a devil of a time finding a yarn that came even close to the original. Next, I had to find a stitch that would duplicate the one used in the sweater. After searching for some time I came across a version of the “Brioche” stitch in an old Burda book that I had. Now, I had it made- or so I thought.
So…. what’s the point in this post? Just because the pattern is in a book doesn’t mean it can’t have mistakes.
This beautiful slip stitch rib pattern instructed me to, ” YO, slip purl, knit two together.” This basic sequence was to be repeated every row to form a reversible rib pattern that lies flat. Well, I did that, but the first time I tried it out on a swatch, the K 2 tog would not lay open like it looked in the picture. I knew something was wrong, so I changed it to YO, slip purl, SSK. It worked. I had it made-well sort of….
Now I don’t know about you but when I see instructions to YO (yarn over) before a knit stitch, I bring my yarn to the front then knit the stitch to the left. In this case, the instructions were to slip the purl, so I brought my yarn forward and looped it around the needle as I do if the next stitch to the left is a purl. I will have to tell you that it worked fine accept in this particular case, I had to be very careful that my YO was snug, otherwise the tension of the slip stitch was very hard to control-in other words, it was definitely NOT a relaxed knitting experience.
After finally reaching the arm hole on the back, I began to look carefully, following the yarn as I knitted, trying desperately to fine a better way of handling the stitch pattern. As I did, I realized that the term YO (yarn over) was in error( or at least my interpretation of it), so I tried just bringing my YF( yarn forward), slipping the purl, then working the SSK for one row. When I turned it around to start the next one, I noticed that the two stitches that were to be knitted together were already in their proper order and I no longer had to SSK them to get them to lay open. From that point on I was able to yf(yarn forward), slip the purl, then knit the two stitches together. The tension was also no longer a problem, and the move set me up for the next row. My nightmare was over. I could finally relax and enjoy knitting the sweater.
Why all this blather? If the pattern you are working on doesn’t look right, it doesn’t always mean that you have made a mistake. Your knitting instructions could have been written incorrectly. Terms means things. Our understanding of them is very important, and I will say that I have discovered that many have different intrepretations of similar terms. Also as a writer, it is very easy to assume your readers know what you are talking about, and many times the editors don’t catch these things as they are not actually knitting them. In this case the YO(yarn over) slip purl, should have been written YF(yarn forward) slip purl. What a difference two little letters, can make. Had I only known I would have saved many hours of pulling my hair out. Oh, well, live and learn.
PS: I also had to figure out how to handle decreases, increases and proper case on for the pattern. What fun!!!!