Knitting 1st sweater -- help!

I’m relatively new to knitting and have decided to tackle my first sweater. I started with the back piece and have been working in st st. Can anyone help me make sense of this next part??? I’ve indicated my confusion in brackets…

Shape back neck

Next row K24 sts, turn and work on these sts for first side of back neck.
Dec one st at neck edge of the next 4 rows. [next p row, k row, p row, k row =or= next 4 k rows as part of stockinette stitch?]
Work 3 rows straight. [again, 1 k row, 1 p row, 1 k row =or= 3 rows of st st?]

Thanks again. I think I read somewhere that decreases are only done on k rows, but just checking to be sure.

I think what they are going to do is have you make an exagerated U shape. You will knit across some, turn (leaving unworked stitches on the needle to be dealt with later), and work up a narrower strip for one “arm” of the U shape. The decrease at edge is to create a slightly flattened smaller U “cut out” for the neck… think strait up one side, across for the shoulder, slanting inward for the decreases towards the center of the neck (and I’m guessing that you’ll bind off some stitches you left on the needles and then mirror your decreases on the other side).

You can certainly decrease on pearl rows; p2tog (pearl two together) is effective and creates a left slanting pearl decrease (which should be right slanting on the knit side of the work, if my spacial dynamics is working tonight). You can also make a right slanting (left on the knit side) pearl decrease by slipping one stitch knit-wise onto the right (working) needle, then another knitwise (two total), then return to the source needle and pearl two tog through the back of the loops. What you are doing is twisting the stitches on the needles so the forward loop comes up out of the knitting on the left instead of on the right… so you will want to put your points from back to front on the hindward, right sides of the stitches.

You should be able to decrease on the neck side of the narrower strip on end two neck side stitches on the knit rows, and on the pearl rows…

I’d wait and see if someone checks my directions… it’s been a long day (12 hours at school!) and I may have completly messed something up or explained this really badly or more complicated than it needs to be…

Maybe a more specific question would be, if a pattern says to “work 3 rows straight” and you’ve been working in st st, does that mean to work 3 more rows of st st, or 1 k row + 1 p row + 1 k row?

Also, there’s a collar that attaches to this back piece, if that helps… Thanks!

Welcome flipcat75!

If you’ve been working in stockinette, I’d guess they just want you to stay in stockinette stitch (knitting the right side, purling the wrong side).

Hope that helps. happy knitting!