How Do I Read a Pattern?

Hello new friends! I’m a brand new self taught knitter without anyone near me to show me the way. I’ve done scarves so far and lots and lots of lacy patterns so I’ve got the stitch basics down including lots of lacy techniques. My problem now is HOW do I read a printed commercial pattern? :thinking: I’m at the “tearing my hair out stage” :crying: and there doesn’t seem to be single book around that gives clear detailed instructions. Trying to work out what’s going on after the set pattern has been laid out in 4 rows is like reading greek to me with terms like patt54 thrown into the middle of “next row”??? If anyone can help walk me through this I would be so appreciative. I’m out here on my own in Aberdeenshire countryside and there isn’t a knitting shop or a circle/club anywhere!

Welcome! I’m sure you’ll find this place fun and informative.

Knitting patterns do have a language of their own. Usually the abbreviations are listed at the beginning of the pattern, but they don’t always help with the terms that are used all the time.

There are abbreviations listed above, and I know that www.knitting.fool has a pretty complete list.

However, for the things that go beyond abbreviations, come here. Type them out. Any one of use will be willing to ‘translate.’ :smiley:

Thanks so much for your welcome Ingrid! :smiley:

I can see from the postings I’ve read that everyone here has a great attitude and is bursting with goodwill and lots of helps. I’ll post the tiresome pattern (you asked for it!) and see who’s up for a challenge (that’s in teaching me…not interpreting the pattern! :lol: )

I’ve a busy day ahead, but will return soon with the goods.

Thanks again, and I’ll be in touch best wishes, Jan

Does the pattern happen to be a free patter on line? If so we could walk you through a pattern line by line.

Hello! thanks for saying Hi! Nope, this is a new Sirdar poncho pattern. The gal I bought the pattern from said it was “easy”… obviously she doesn’t know how dim I am??? :oops: I’m trying to decide how much of the pattern to print here without infringing copyright, but to give enough so I can get a start. I think if I print the first part of the “pattern” and then the “next row” instruction after that, I’ll be able to get the principle of the thing. This is a bit of a personal course in perseverence for me - who thought knitting would make me GROW UP??? :rofling:

I’m enjoying being here already…
best, Jan

That sounds good. People often type in whole sections of patterns that they don’t understand.

Hi again, sorry for the delay in getting back and it’s a crying shame in my world when I have to leave my knitting for other stuff…

I should say that I understand all the stitches and how to perform them, what i don’t get is how to interpret the pattern instructions. If you treat me like a child who understands nothing at all about reading patterns I’ll be appreciative - make it as simple and clear as you can for this kid! :wink:

Here goes:

1st Row: Knit
Rep 1st row once
(so far ok)

Proceed as follows:

1st Row: K6[6:3], yfwd, s1, k1, psso, k2, k2tog, yfwd, k3, rep from to last 3[3:0] stitches, k3[3:0]

2nd row: K2, purl to last 2 sts, K2

3rd Row: K7[7:4], *yfwd, s1, k1, psso, k2tog, yfwd, k5, rep from * to last 2 [2:8] sts, (yfwd, s1, k1, psso, k2tog, yfwd) 0 [0:1] times, k2 [2:4]

4th Row: K2, purl to last 2 sts, k2.
From 1st to 4th row sets patt with garter stitch borders
Keeping continuity of patt as set throughout cont until work measures approx 31 [35, 38.5]cm, ending with 4th row of patt.
Place markers at each end of last row

… Up to here I’m ok, but now’s where I really get unstuck, as I can’t see at all how the subsequent “next rows” incorporate the pattern above and which row of the pattern applies to which “next row” starting below…

Next Row K6 [6:3], patt 54 [63:72], yfwd, s1, k1, psso) 1 [0:0] times, k11 [18:18], (k2tog, yfwd, k3) 1 [0:0] times, patt to last 3 [3:0} sts, k3 [3:0]

Next Row: K2, p61 [69:73] k9 [11:15], p61 [69:73], k2

Next Row: K7 [7:4], patt 54 [63:63], (yfwd, s1, k1, psso, k2tog, yfwd) 0 [0:1] times, k18 [18:23], patt to last 2 [2:8} sts, (yfwd, s1, k1, psso, k2tog, yfwd) 0 [0:1] times, k2 [2:4]

Nest Row K2, p61 [69:73], k9 [11:15], p61 [69:73], k2

Phew!!! I also can’t understand what to do when the instructions are given to do a number of stitches 0 times??!! I realise that inside the parentheses are the different number of times a stitch set is done for each size, but why is the largest size (the 3rd) sometimes getting fewer stitches than the smaller sizes?

I know this is probably a bit of a tangled web to translate, but if I don’t get it from you folks, I’ll have to drop it and keep working at simpler things until I can get more expertise.

Thanks to everyone who has the raw guts and courage to take me on! :thumbsup:

All the best, Jan

I’ll give it a shot.

My first advice it to overanalyze a pattern. If the larger size has less stitches its because it has more somewhere else. That’s the designer’s headache. Just focus on your size number, circle them before you start.

The first number outside the brackets is the smallest size, the ones inside the brackets are the subsequent sizes.

The first row of the directions is a knit, then thats repeated. You’ve got that.

The next four rows (really 2-5 of the garment, but 1-4 of the “pattern stitch”) set up the pattern that you will be repeating throughout the garment.

Next row (one that starts K6)

So the next row you will knit 6, or whatever you have for your size, repeat row 1 of the pattern stitches for 54 stitches.

When it says 0 repeats for a size, it’s basically just a place holder. If you’re doing the size that has a zero, just don’t do that section.

Do what they call for for your size, work the pattern stitches to the last 3 stitches.

Next–pretty straightforward.

I think once you get the first “next row” done, you’ll see it more clearly.

Since there are so many places where some sizes have to do something 0 times, its important to circle your size, and if the 0 applies to you, cross out the stitches that you have to do 0 times so you don’t start them accidentally.

I hope this is clear. If not, give us a holler!

Hello Ingrid and thanks for taking time on this. I’m going to give your instructions the time back that they deserve and do as you say - really over analyse the pattern taking everything you’ve said and applying it. I do agree that once a start is made, it can become clearer as you go on, but for me getting that first leg up has been the problem. Even at a quick read tonight I am seeing a bit more thanks to your input and I’ll start stabbing at it seriously starting tomorrow. If it isn’t a big yawn for you :rollseyes: I’ll come back and let you know how I’m progressing :XX: and (more likely!) come back for more help.
Thanks for making my first outing here so helpful. :cheering:
Your grateful servant, Jan

Don’t ever hesitate to ask questions. Notice the title of the web site. And we are all here voluntarily. I enjoy being able to make things a little easier for other people when I can, because I get so much out of knitting, and want to share that.