Stumped by increase instruction

I’m usually okay with increase instructions but this has got me stumped. In particular “repeat increase alternately on every 4th and 2nd”.

Smallest size
The back of the sweater (I have not done the front)
80 stitches on the needle
I understand the cast on to 84.
Then work 1 row straight
Then increase (2nd row) each end (86 sts)
Increase 1 st each end 17 times (2×17=34. 34 + 86=120)
I understand the stitch count but not the row numbers is it just every other row?? Can’t be can it? Or is it the 4th row then 2nd row then 4th row then 2nd row etc?
If I’ve done the first inc on row 2 then 6, 8, 12, 14, 18, 20, 24, 26…

Text from the pattern:
Continue in stocking st. When piece measures 17-18-19-20-21-22 cm, cast on 2 new sts at the end of the next 2 rows = 84-90-96-104-114-124 sts (incl 1 edge st in each side). Insert 1 marker in each side for assembly. Work in stocking st with 1 edge st in garter st in each side – AT THE SAME TIME inc on 2nd row as follows: Inc 1 st inside 1 edge st in garter st in each side. Repeat inc alternately on every 4th and 2nd row 17-17-18-18-19-19 more times = 120-126-134-142-154-164 sts on needle. Insert 1 marker in each side for assembly.

Thank you for helping

I think this is correct. The wording in Drops patterns can be odd.


I usually find the drops patterns pretty straight forward to follow but I have read they can be hard to follow.

Thanks for your input. Much appreciated.

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When Drops patterns are clear they’re very clear; when they’re confusing, they’re very confusing. I tried reading the pattern to see if there is a corresponding set of increases on the front piece but I am not good at doing that. I think this might be to make the curve under the arm. Emphasis I think and might.


I think it’s just that it say alt, 4th and 2nd all in one go and I am used to them separately.
I’m pretty sure it is as we both thought (well, I only had the thought whilst I was typing my post which shows that simply asking a question helps us to think things through in a different/better way) and once it decided what it means, we’ll, it seems to make total sense!

The back widens and the front narrows with external seams, bit of a different shape to this design, I’m experimenting with it. So there won’t be the same increases on the front piece, more likely matching decreases.

I’m good to go now.
I’ve written down my increase rows based on alt 4th and 2nd, gets to 88 rows total from beginning. Then I’ve worked out the number of rows in the remaining back piece which totals 109 rows and if I compare to the gauge of my knitting I need 108 for the 57cm length given in the pattern… so it looks pretty close that way.
And I’ve added the front and back stitch counts together and used my gauge and it works out the right width…
All in all I think those increases will work, alt 4th and 2nd.
Still sounds odd.

Thanks again

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You sometimes see these increases or decreases in patterns. It’s as though the designer didn’t want the shaping to shift from RS to WS by making the shaping every 3rd row.


Ah! That makes it clearer, knowing the reason.
I would not mind increasing on the WS and switching to every 3rd row, but I’ve written out my row numbers now so I’ll just follow it.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and insight.

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YAY! You’re on your way again.

I do believe that with salmonmac’s post we can consider that we did indeed get it right, and your calculations worked out too! I’d still use a lifeline before the increases until I was sure. Too late for that? I suck at afterthought lifelines so if I didn’t use one it I’d just skip it.

Not too late but I’m leaping off without the life line. Gutsy!

I don’t have high hopes of a neat knit on this. I’m using a lighter weight yarn for the pattern to make it more open (still same size needles and same gauge) and following a colour chart on part of it and working the colour as a mix of intarsia and stranded - all in all it’s a bit messy but I’m quite enjoying the experiment.
Whilst browsing patterns and shop made knits I came across shockingly priced designer “distressed” sweaters, sweaters with holes and rips (ever seen them? Some priced as $1,500)…I don’t want one, but the result is I’m feeling quite relaxed about any holes, ladders, errors in the colour work, uneven tension…
I’m only working 2 colours but have about 2 dozen strands hanging off the back. Good job I’m relaxed as my tension is shocking!

Thanks for the help and support!