Following Knitting Patterns

Knitting patterns often include instructions for making a design in a choice of three or more sizes. These are body measurements and any necessary allowances for movement have been made by the designer. For an average garment, this is 5 cm (2 inches), although it might be less on a garment intended to be clingy and more on a garment intended for outdoor wear.

The instructions on multi-size patterns are given for the smallest size first, followed by the other sizes, which may be separated by strokes or brackets, so: cast on 22/24/28 stitches or 22 (24, 28) sts. To avoid confusion while working the pattern, read through it first and underline the correct figure for your size.

Always work the pattern pieces in the order instructed, as you may have to complete and then join pieces before continuing.

Patterns usually contain abbreviations to save space, and words preceded by asterisks or enclosed by brackets may be used to indicate a set of instructions which has to be repeated across a row or later on.


This should be done at the beginning of a row. If ending a ball of yarn, check that you have enough to complete the row — about four times the width. Leaving an end of 10 cm (4 inches) on the new ball, start the row with it. Cut the old end to the same length and darn both ends in later.


If you drop a stitch, do not leave it because it may become a ladder. Dropped stitches are picked up most easily on a knit-stitch row.


Use matching yarn and a blunt-ended needle.

Seams along shoulders, sides and sleeves may be joined by backstitching. For seams in ribbing, such as on welts and cuffs, the seam is flatter if joined by oversewing the ridges together.

Try to match row ends and do not pull the yarn tightly.

Turn the work so that the right side faces you. Insert a crochet hook into the dropped stitch from the right side. Push the hook under the horizontal thread above and draw it through the hook. Continue until the stitch is on the correct row and put it onto the left-hand needle to be knitted in the next row to be worked.


Use a rigid ruler and lay the knitting flat. Always measure depth in a straight line, parallel to the vertical line of stitches. Measure width by laying ruler along the rows.