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k = knit
k2tog = knit 2 stitches together
k3tog = knit 3 stitches together
pm = place marker (spell out on first use)
p = purl
p2tog = purl 2 stitches together
p3tog = purl 3 stitches together
rnd(s) = round(s)
sk = skip
sl = slip
sm = slip marker (spell out on first use)
st(s) = stitch(es)
St st = Stockinette stitch
tbl = through back loop
wyif = with yarn in back (spell out on first use)
wyif = with yarn in front (spell out on first use)
yo = yarn over
Gauge is a set of measurements used to indicate how large your stitches and rows should be to achieve results similar to those achieved by the designer. These results include the size of the piece and the drape or softness of the resulting fabric. If your gauge differs significantly from the designer's gauge your piece will be a different size, and may be stiffer or floppier than desired.
Gauge is typically given as two measurements; 1) Stitch gauge: The number of stitches in a certain number of inches, and 2) Row gauge: The number of rows in a certain number of inches. It is most common to indicate the stitch and row gauge over 4"/10cm, but it could be given over any number of inches.
To determine if you are working to the correct gauge, you can make a gauge swatch. Or, if the piece you are making is at least 4" wide to begin, you can begin making the piece, work for at least 4"/10cm and then measure your gauge over this piece.
To make a gauge swatch, use the indicated size needles, yarn, and stitch indicated in the "Gauge" section to make a small, sample piece. For example, if the gauge is: In Stockinette st is, 12 sts and 14 rows = 4"/10cm, you want to work a piece that is at least 12 sts wide and 14 rows long. We recommend working a piece that is a bit larger than 4"/10cm. After making the small piece, lay it flat but do not stretch it. Use a ruler to measure across a row near the center of the piece and count the number of stitches in 4"/10cm. Then measure and count the number of rows in 4"/10 cm. If the number of stitches or rows is less than the number of stitches or rows given in the gauge, try again using smaller needles. If the number of stitches or rows is greater than the number of stitches or rows given in the gauge, try againImportant Notes:
- It is usually more important to achieve stitch gauge than row gauge. If you must choose, choose to achieve stitch gauge.
- Gauge is critical to achieve a good fit for sweaters. It is slightly less critical for hats and slippers that are designed to stretch to fit. It is even less critical for blankets, bags, toys, and scarves. If the item you are making must "fit" it is worth the time to achieve almost exactly the same gauge as the designer. If the item you are making doesn't need to "fit", the gauge you achieve can vary more from the designer's gauge and still yield acceptable results.
- Sometimes a pattern indicates that the gauge is not critical. For such patterns, ensure that there's not a note somewhere else indicating that you should work '"tightly" or "loosely". Such notes let you know whether the resulting fabric should be stiff (work tightly) or more flowing (work loosely).
comma ( , )
– Separates steps within an instruction.
semi-colon ( ; )
– Separates steps within an instruction. A semi-colon is used when separating larger sections within an instruction (e.g., a repetition or complex series of steps that result in completion on one advanced stitch or pattern).
parentheses ( )
– Surrounds comments that provide more detail about a step within an instruction. Examples: K2tog, yo (buttonhole made) Surrounds multiple stitches that are all to be worked into the same stitch. Examples: (k1, p1, k1) in next st. Parentheses and commas are used to separate instructions (usually the number of stitches to be worked) intended for different sizes.
Example: p3(4,5,6), bind of 3 (3, 4, 4, 5, 5) sts.
square brackets [ ]
– Surrounds steps that are to be repeated a specific number of times.
Example: [p1, k2, p3, k1] 5 times.
asterisks *, **, or ***
– Indicates where a set of repeated steps begin or end. Asterisks will be referred to in a “repeat” step.
Example: repeat from * to end of row, repeat from * to next yo, ending last repeat at **
– A lengthy dash placed at the end of an instruction. The number following the em-dash indicates the number of stitches you should have worked in that row or round.
Projects for first-time knitters. Examples of skills that beginners should have mastered include:
- Cast on, bind off, and weave in ends.
- Work the following stitches: knit, purl.
- Work the following decreases: k2tog, ssk (or skp).
- Work the following increases: kfb, yo.
- Work the following pattern stitches: Garter stitch (knit every row), Stockinette stitch (knit on Right Side, purl on Wrong Side).
- Use stitch markers.
- Add a new ball of yarn (same or new color) at the end of a row.
- Make I-cord.
- Understand basic written knit instructions.
- Read and understand the Abbreviations List and Special Stitch definitions to learn new skills.
Examples of skills that novices should have mastered include:
- Perform all beginner level skills.
- Work a variety of increases and decreases and understand how each "leans."
- Cast on and bind off using a variety of different methods.
- Work in rounds using a circular needle.
- Work the following pattern stitches in rounds: Garter stitch (knit one round, purl one round), Stockinette stitch (knit every round).
- Use a cable needle.
- Follow color charts and pattern stitch charts.
- Be able to identify the RS (right side) and WS (wrong side) of a piece based on the appearance of the stitches and indicators in written instructions.
- Make a gauge swatch and understand the basics of gauge.
- Understand more complex knit instructions including instructions with multiple repeats.
Examples of skills that intermediates should have mastered include:
- Perform all novice level skills.
- Work with highly textured yarns and thinner threads.
- Work in rounds using double-pointed needles.
- Perform Fair Isle and Intarsia color work.
- Read and understand Special Stitch definitions to learn more advanced stitches.
- Read and understand Special Technique definitions to learn more advanced techniques.
- Thoroughly understand gauge and how to adjust gauge as needed.
- Be able to work two sides of a piece (e.g. shoulders) at the same time using separate balls of yarn.
- Be able to continue a pattern stitch "as established".
- Understand basic garment construction.
Yarn can be grouped into different weights. When substituting one yarn for another, always look for a yarn in the same weight category. There is variance within the same weight category. Swatching for gauge is the best way to check whether a yarn substitution will work well.
|Yarn Weight Category||Types of Yarns in Category||Recommended Hook Size (Guideline only)|
|Finger, Size 10 crochet thread||1.5-2.25mm|
|Sock, fingering, baby||2.25-3.25mm|
|DK (double knit), light worsted||3.75-4.5mm|
|Worsted, afghan, aran||4.5-5.5mm|
|Chunky, craft, rug||5-8mm|
|Bulky, super chunky, roving||8mm and larger|