With a title like knitting’s essential tool, you may think that I’m talking about needles, yarn, gauge guides, stitch markers or any of the myriad of tools that we knitters and crocheters just can’t live without. Instead, I’m going to wax lyrical about the lowly sheet of grid paper.
I’ve found over the years that I can’t knit, much less design or tech edit without it. As you can imagine, it’s marvelous for row/round counting, for charting out colorwork ideas and perhaps transposing a chart off the computer. But it really comes into it’s element when you’re working a pattern with multiple directions worked at the same time.
I used to read the pattern as I knitted. Many of us do. But how many times have you worked a section of a pattern, got to the end of it, only to read those dreaded words, “AT THE SAME TIME….”
Now, whilst I’m guilty of sometimes not reading the entire pattern before working it, I do at least read through the next two sections.
Imagine you’re working a bottom up, lacy raglan neckline. You have the lace, the sleeve decs and the neckline decs all happening pretty much at the same time.
Here’s how I’d graph out the sleeve decs – let’s say, k1, tog, every 3rd row, 6 times
Now let’s add in the lace, let’s pretend that there’s a significant lace detail every 5th row
I’ve added blue circles around every 5th row – see how there are two on row 15? I probably would have missed that without making a note first.
Now let’s add the neck edge. Row 12: Bind off 3 sts, this and every alt row 6 times. I’ve colored in the squares for these because there were too many circles, but you get the idea.
Once I’ve done this, all I have to do is the actual knitting. I’ll know what I’m supposed to do each row, without reading the whole pattern, and I won’t get to the end and realise that I’ve missed that third set of instructions!
What about you? What is that one knitting tool that you just can’t do without? Have you had disastrous results from not catching that pesky AT THE SAME TIME instruction?