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  • Adequate knitting is my go-to goal. I figure that I’m not up for the Olympic Gold Medal or Stanley Cup of yarn wrangling so “fits and doesn’t look like dog barf” is my usual criteria.

    I agree wholeheartedly, learning to read your knitting is a revelation. Knowing how a knit stitch looks vs. a purl stitch when they’re dangling from your needle has saved me many times (just last night, in fact) from having a one-stitch “design element” somewhere eight rows back to deal with or pretend to ignore.

    Love the new site.

    • It’s such a light bulb moment, reading your knitting. All of a sudden, you’re not randomly flailing around. Order emerges. So great!

  • Thank you for this. I actually got so frustrated with myself for losing track in patterns that I’ve gone back to the basics, working on small things like scarves and mittens and socks, trying to retrain myself to pay better attention. This will help a lot!

  • My knitting equipment bag – not to be confused with a project bag – includes highlighters in three different colours, a ridiculous number of stitch markers in a multitude of sizes, tapestry needles, quilters safety pins, mechanical pencils, erasers, line marker tape, post-it note pads in every colour of the rainbow and almost every size they offer, and last but most important, a couple of skeins of life line yarn (crewel works best for me) in white and black. I use some, none or all of these, depending on the pattern.

  • Yay for writing on stuff- and for visualizing. I love reading patterns for unusually constructed garments because I do this and understand how it all comes together. I’m with you on the charts too. And schematics, for that matter. Just give me the information in a way I can understand it, and I’ll be a happy knitter. Or happier, anyway.

  • I believe I am wearing the same color of nail polish.

  • Awesome advice! It makes me feel less like I’m the only one who makes silly mistakes!

  • Making my first shawl with lace. Highlighter tape is my new best friend!

  • I laughed when I saw the writing on the pattern , that me! So funny, but it helps!

  • I am going back and reading all of your “how-tos” I find them so helpful. Thanks for this!

  • Instead of crossing out irrelevant bits, I cut and paste the pattern so that it is “customized” for me. I save it and print it and write on it as needed.
    If I make changes along the way, I save those as another document.

  • I love this article, as is true for most everything you and Kay write. I have another suggestion. Get to know the software Knit Companion. It’s a bit of a challenge in the beginning, but it is a show stopping life saver once it becomes your friend. Yes, you can still hand write your own notes on your pattern with this software. And Very Pink now has 3 tutorials on it to help with the learning.

    • Some of the features are only available on apple products verses android. Still useful in android but now debating if I need an ipad mini in my notions bag.

  • My mom used to line up Cheerios on the arms of her chair, the number needed for decreases at the ends of each row. As she did a decrease, she ate a Cheerio from that side of the chair. It helped her keep her sanity.
    I’m a firm believer in copying the pattern and hi-lighting your size instructions. Keep it in a plastic sleeve so it doesn’t get trashed going in and out the bag. And read/understand the whole pattern is KEY!!
    If I were teaching knitting, I’d have students learn how to pick up dropped stitches, knit or purl. It’s a good way to start understanding that thing about reading your knitting. Which is transformative.
    Great article!!

  • A couple years ago I took a class from Stephanie Pearl Mcphee in which she taught us about running markers (a strand of contrast yarn laid between two stitches and brought from front to back and vice versa every 5 rows or whatever the repeat requires). I can come back to my knitting any time and know where I am quickly. This blew my mind and changed the way I knit. Using running markers makes me feel like a knitting rock star 😀

  • Great tips Thankyou

  • I put my copy of chart or pattern in clear sleeves, and use highlighter tape to keep my place. I use a bit of tape on the paper inside so it doesn’t slip around.

  • So true -I can relate to all of it. Such a learning process. I have a sweater (I have never done a sweater) and I thought I read directions well only discover after is sewed my side seams they were supposed to be done with sleeve seam.. So it’s all on hold not sure what to do. I’ll get there..eventually. Great article.

  • Excellent advice. I find that for me as I have gotten older it is helpful to use needles that are either darker or lighter than the yarn I am knitting with. This helps me see the stitches much better.

  • Great suggestions/tips and glad to see them in writing. I am saving this one also!

  • Many, many years ago I read a hint on keeping track of multi-row patterns by making a card for each row and putting them on a ring. The rings you get when you take your car into the shop work perfectly.