How do you know if the border stitches you add will be symmetrical?

I have seen many lovely stitch patterns in books and on the net that I think would make great afghans, scarves, or even dishcloths. I like borders around flat pieces and have used garter or seed stitch for this purpose. Recently, I’ve done a couple of dishcloths ([I]had[/I] wanted to use as gifts)
but the stitch additions resulted in uneven patterns on the sides. One side would look like a nice four or five-stitch border and the other border side would be twice as wide. Sometimes the reverse side would be better, sometimes it was just as asymmetrical.

I am a dense-headed, relatively new knitter who cannot figure out anything on her own.My question:

How do you know if a given stitch pattern will “accept” the addition of border stitches and still look symmetrical? Is there some formula, such as: “If the pattern ends with x number of knits or purls, an added border will not work and you must add x number of stitches to assure equal sides.”

I am not even sure I am explaining the problem well enough to be understood.

Thanks for any help anyone can give.

I think I understand the problem. Perhaps I should know an easy answer, but I don’t. :oops: Some patterns have to have stitches added at the beginning, the end or both to get them to turn out right. Often a stitch will give a repeat and a “+” number. Like “this pattern is a multiple of 12+3”. I don’t know how the patterns work out every time in those kinds of cases. Maybe you could do a small swatch of the multiple part done twice or three times and see what happens. You may find you need to add 3 only at the beginning to get it to work, but perhaps that is not a hard and fast rule. Some patterns are pretty complex.

Not a good answer, but I at least know what you are talking about. Maybe someone with greater powers of observation will have figured out how all this stuff works out all the time. Lets see if we get more input.

I do understand about the multiples plus another number, which is supposed to “balance” the pattern. I was hoping to avoid swatching every time I want to add a border. Frequently enough, I don’t see the asymmetrical problem till I’ve done a lot of rows - and this is time-consuming even with just a swatch. Yes, I am hoping we can get more input on this question. Thanks for your response.

It is mostly experience. For side borders, I chart them out. For example, if I have a body of stockinette, and a border of seed stitch, then it looks more balanced if I do-

kpkpkpkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkpkpkpk
pkpkpkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkpkpkp

and so on. The border is a mirror image.

A place I find that needs more thought, is the bottom & top borders. If you do a garter stitch bottom border & a stockinette body. Then the border will ripple. That is because a garter stitch is wider than stockinette. So I plan on doing increases when I switch to stockinette or any pattern that is mostly stockinette like cables. At the top, I do decreases when I switch back to garter stitch.

When I am knitting a afghan like feather and fan stitch I separate the border stitches from my pattern area. I will start the afghan with a seed stitch border on bottom and sides and finish up with the same number of rows as the first border. I made one like this for my son and daughter -in-law while they were in Key West. Recently they moved back to Norfolk Va( he is in the Navy) and she said that the afghan get used while they sit and watch tv. Grandson and his daddy fight over who the afghan belongs to. I used Peaches and Cream cotton yarn in white, ombre colors of blue, green, and yellow. The blue was to represent the water around Key West, the green for the land and the yellow for the sun. The white represented Fla sugar sand beaches.

Thanks, Abby and Day, for your input. I’m not very good at charting things out, so I guess I’ll simply have to swatch out a pattern to see if it works with a border.