New knitter needs help

Hello, I am new. I have taken on doing a cardigan for my new neice who is not born yet. Can I ask a question about the pattern I am following? I desperately need help. If a pattern says dec 2 sts from edge as follows: 1 st once every four rows. Does this mean, cast off 1 stitch each end of the row on the first row and then do 3 further rows without any casting off?

I don’t know, patterns confuse me.
You can’t cast off at the end of a row or your needles won’t have anywhere to go when you turn. You can only cast off at the beginning of a row.

I would assume it means 1st at the beginning of row 1 and 1 st at the beginning of row 5. But that’s a big difference between sides plus it says 2 sts and that puts them all off the same side (which is OK if you’re working on a front panel, not OK if it’s the back panel).

What’s the name of the pattern?

Welcome to KH!
Yes, decrease on a row then knit 3 rows without any decrease. I assume the pattern asks for decreases at each end?

Working the decreases 2sts in from the ends gives you a nicer edge for seaming.

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IT doesn’t say if I have to do it at each end but se my last message for the wording. I am guessing it means do it both ends. It’s so confusing.

What part of the pattern is it? And, as Mike asked, what is the name of the pattern?
If it doesn’t specifically say, “at each end” then the decrease is probably only at one end of the row e.g. one side of a cardigan front with a V-neck.
“At each end” often applies to sleeve shaping where you want symmetrical decreases…

Thanks for your replies. The pattern is called Cross-over cardigan, hat and booties and it’s a Bergere de France pattern. This one

I’m talking about the first part of the “Back”. It has the heading Raglan. it says, "… then dec 2 sts from the edge as follows: 0 months, so 0 mth: 1 st once every 2 rows, dec 5 times from * to*, 1 st 3 times every 4 rows. I feel like I am reading double-dutch. I am not clear what it means. I am doubley confused because it starts the section saying “…then take 2 stitches from the edge as follows”, but under 0 months (which is what I am making) it refers to only 1 stitch, so I am right in assuming that that means one from either edge.

Any chance you can you de-code this for me? Also do you mind telling me what the difference is between decrease and cast off?

I really appreciate your help.

Ahh, 2 FROM the edge. Reading is fundamental but difficult in the morning.

Yup, agreed Mike, that’s when I reach for another cup of coffee.

OK, it can all sound very confusing when you read it out. I can only make sense of these kind of instructions if I write out the row numbers and cross them off as I go.

A cast off is what you do when you’re ready to finish any project. The simplest is to knit 2 sts then lift the first stitch over the second and off the needle. One stitch cast off. Now knit one more stitch and again lift the first stitch on the right needle over the second and off the needle. This is what you’ll do when it says to cast off 2sts at the beg of the next 2 rows. So 4sts decreased total.

Then come the directions for decreasing along the edge. You’re right here, it’s at each end of the row. The pattern tells you how to place these decreases, 2 sts in from the edge.
“To dec 1 st 2 sts from edge: k2, k2 tog, k until 4 sts rem, k2 tog, k2.” Agree with Mike, it should read “2sts in from the edge”.

OK, what rows to work the decreases on: Call the row after the “cast off 2sts at the beg of the next 2 rows” row 1. Then you’ll dec at each end on rows 4,6,10.12.16,18,22,24,28 and 30. Then dec at each end on rows34,38 and 42. That’s 13 dec rows or a total dec of 26sts. That’ll take you from the cast on of 43sts minus 4 for the 2 bind off and 26 for the decreases to 13sts which is what the pattern calls for.

You are amazing. I think I actually get it!

Firstly great idea listing out the row numbers. Great idea, Ive taken your advise and just done that.

I had the right idea with the casting off, but the wrong idea about the decreasing and I hadn’t seen that the pattern lists this at the end. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction there. Damn I’ll have to go back and unpick. Thanks for the confirmation that it is, at each end of the row that the decreasing takes place.
I understood where you listed out the row numbers from 2 - 30 and 34-42 but, but I’m not sure what Row 1 should be. Just garter stitch as normal with no decrease?

I am so utterly pleased to have this resolved and can’t believe how helpful you’ve been. I live in France but am English and my french speaking skills were definitely not up to asking in a knitting shop for help! Thank you so much. I now know knitters are actually rocket scientists!

You are much too kind. I’m delighted to be able to help.
Cast off 2sts at the beginning of a row for the underarm. Turn and cast off 2 sts at the beginning of the next row for the underarm on the other edge, then finish out the row. The next row is what I’m calling row 1. It’s not a dec row. Rows 1-3 are plain garter stitch, then row 4 is a dec row still in garter.

It’s a really sweet little sweater. We’d love to see a photo when you finish.

Due to the grace of your help, I finished the back section last night. I attach a pic. Not quite as exciting as the finished garment, but small steps. As you can see I’ve got a hole in it. I assume it’s a dropped stitch. I’m just about to google to find if there is a way to repair it without un picking? Because i am NOT doing that.

Now I’m going to start the Right Front. Gulp. Any change you can translate for me again? I totally understand if you haven’t time, I am probably being a complete pain. But if you can find it in your heart, it says,
"Work in g st inc (No idea how to do that) on right edge 2 sts from edge every 2 rows:
1st 21 times

Then work 3 rows on rem 37 sts, then dec on right 2 sts from edge every2 rows:
1st st 20 times

I wiill be more than happy to send you a photo of the finished product, if I ever get there!!! :slight_smile:

Congratulations on finishing the back! That’s a great accomplishment.
The photo didn’t post (Use the little up arrow in the top ribbon in the Reply box.)
I try to ladder up a dropped stitch as far as I reasonably can. Then I take a tapestry needle with a strand of the same yarn and go through the loop and tie off to an adjoining stitch. The ends of the strand can be woven in. It usually is unnoticeable.
Not a pain at all. I’ll be happy to look at the right front and get back to you.

Progress report.

Did as you advised and sewed the yarn in with an embroidery needle and it’s not completely invisible, but unless you knew what you were looking for, you wouldn’t see it.

Have just finished knitting the 1st part of the right front. Have come to the point where it says work 3 rows on remaining 37, but I have only 27. I can only think that they wanted me to add 2 stitches from EACH end of the rows when increasing, but it di say only on right edge.

Thanks for agreeing to have a look at it for me. It’s very kind.


This is only an increase on one edge. It’s the right front so that’s the right front as if you were wearing the sweater.
You cast on 16sts and the pattern for the newborn wants you to add one stitch every 2 rows (so every other row). Add the stitch at the beginning of the RS (right side or public side) row if that’s easy for you to do. Knit 2sts, then increase and finish knitting across the row. Turn and work a row on the WS (wrong side or private side) with no increases.
Repeat the increase 21 times (16 + 21 =37).

ETA: One warning: there’s an instruction coming up for the underarm bind off and raglan seam which will be worked at the same time as the front shaping. I don’t think you’ll get to it while you’re on the increase section (above) but it’s worth laying the current knitting on top of the back so that you can see when you get to the same point as the underarm bind off on the back.
This probably won’t happen until you get to the decrease section of the front shaping.

Dear Salmonmac

So I have finished the right front up to the raglan heading. I’m reading "In the meantime, when right front …

I have listed out the row numbers and put down a 1 st dec every 4th row starting on row 4. Is this right?

Then it asks for a 1 st decrease once every 2 rows, so have put this down to start on row 2, BUT I don’t understand it saying “dec 5 times from * to *, 1 st once every 4 rows”. The way I have done it, there are 5 decreases (for the once every 4 row rule) and 10 decreases (for the once every 2 rows).

Can you help?

By the way the front left piece doesn’t exactly match the back, but if I stretch it around a bit, it’s fine. It’s the right general shape. So if I was sewing the pieces together at the end I don’t think it will be an issue. What do you think?

The frequency of the raglan decreases is like the raglan decrease for the back. The pattern wants you to alternate a dec after 4 rows with a dec after 2 rows. Dec after 4 rows, then 2 rows, then 4 row, then 2 rows etc.
So the decreases for the raglan (shoulder) edge are on rows 4,6,10,12,16,18,22,24,28,30 and finally row 34.

I write out 2 columns, one for the rows numbers for the front edge decreases and one for the raglan decreases and check them off as I go. It helps you not to go absolutely crazy.

You’re making great progress with this little sweater!

The distance from the cast on to the underarm cast off should be approximately the same. That’s where lining the two pieces up helps. If it’s a little off that’s ok. Knitting stretches and will cover slight differences.

I write everything out and keep track of all increases and decreases as well as how many rows i have worked so i never short myself

Got it. Thanks for another great translation. The line, “in the meantime” threw me. I thought that meant do it at the same time and I didn’t see how that was possible. Strange language in this pattern. Will keep you posted. Hope you’re having a lovely time getting ready for Xmas. Am I right in thinking you’re in the States?

Hi Trisha,

I’m coming to that realisation. Next time I’ll be more organised. I’ve got scraps of paper everywhere!