Following a knitting pattern - first steps

Sep 16 2013 0 Comments Tags: knitting

Now that I have mastered socks, I decided it was time to start on the vest that I have been wanting to make since I started knitting a few years ago.  I have been collecting vest patterns from the op shop, this booklet was 20c.

cheap knitting pattern booklet
There's a few things to look for before starting a new pattern.  First look at the sizes and figure out which size you will be knitting.  I then go through and underline the stitches for the size I'm making.  Next check that you have everything you need.  This pattern specifies 8 ply yarn (the ply is the thickness).  The ply should be written on the wrapper, if you buy yarn from the market like I do, and it doesn't have a wrapper, you can work it out roughly by wrapping the yarn around a needle and measuring the width of a set number of loops, for example here.  This pattern also uses 4mm and 3.25mm needles, you can check your needle sizes with a ruler.  The most important part though is the gauge or tension.  This is the number of stitches per cm, on the specified needles, for example this pattern has a tension of 22.5 stitches per 10cm in stockenette stitch.  I stitched up a nice size 22 stitch swatch just to be sure.  Mine was just over 10cm, which means that my vest will turn out a little bigger than the pattern, so I chose a slightly smaller size that normal.

reading the pattern
Finally, check that you have enough yarn.  The pattern will list the yarn requirements for each size pattern.  For this one I need 6 50g balls of 8 ply, and as the yarn I want to use is in 100g balls, and I have 4 of them, I think I'm pretty safe.  Nothing worse than running short on yarn, especially if its from the markets and you probably can't get any more the same!

Its also a good idea to read through the pattern and make sure you can follow most of the steps.  I tend to read each step in detail as I come to it, otherwise I get confused by steps that I'm not up to yet, but it does help to have a rough idea of what is coming up next.  Then just focus on completing each step as accurately as possible.

checking the tension
Having done all that, its finally time to start casting on 105 stitches!  Wish me luck!  Any tips for starting a knitting pattern?

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