I like seamed designs. Seams add structure to a garment. As I knit mostly outside the home, I prefer working on a smaller pieces rather than dragging the whole garment everywhere. But I have a problem: I really dislike Mattress Stitch. I dislike its name, dislike the awkward position at which I have to work it
So my alternative to Mattress Stitch is running stitch or back stitch, worked with wrong sides of the fabric facing. Back stitch is more elastic but more bulky. If you use running stitch and are careful enough to match the edges stitch by stitch, the result is identical to Mattress Stitch. But I’m not really that picky, I don’t match every single stitch exactly. I use markers liberally at the side edges by tying a piece of waste yarn every 10cm/4″. When I am seaming, I just aim to match up the markers. These little markers make it so much easier to work a seam without tears!
I don’t knit much at home. Most of my knitting is done at my in-laws place or at the seaside, where my toddler is kept busy. So it is almost a must to have a on-the-go knitting project on my needles. A good on-the-go knitting project should be lightweight to be carried around and it should not be a too quick knit that can be finished in a couple of hours. I don’t want to run out of knitting! That’s why you constantly see this type of designs pops up in my portfolio 😉 Below are some on-the-go projects that I enjoyed. If you cannot live without knitting, you may want to add them to your library of knitting patterns!
A sweater in size 2XL is not an enlarged version of the sample size. When grading is not done properly, you will get an unrealistically wide shoulder width, exceptionally long neck to waist measurement, etc. I had a hard time picking a good pattern when I was looking for a pattern for a plus size friend.
Fortunately it is relatively easy to identify a poorly graded pattern from the schematic measurements. It won’t take you much time and will potentially help you save a huge amount of frustration. The key measurements to compare are shoulder width (or back width), back length (neck to natural waist) and armhole depth. You can compare these measurements against a sweater you already own in a similar style. A slight difference is perfectly normal, but any difference above 5 cm / 2″ is an alarm that the pattern may not be properly graded. You should then check how these measurements vary among sizes. This is a more advanced topic that I hope to discuss in the future.
If you are new to knitting patterns, you may find some phrases not so intuitive to understand. So I have rewritten some of them in plain English, hopefully you will find them useful.
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You are working flat (or working back and forth) when you are facing the right side on one row and facing the wrong side on another row.
You are working in the round when you are always facing the same side of the knitting. It is great if you hate to purl.
Work X rows even – Continue to work in whatever stitch pattern you are working for X more rows.
If you are working it Stockinette stitch, assume that you are working flat, you will continue to knit on the right side rows and purl on the wrong side rows for a total of X more rows.
Cont in patt as set – This is similar to “work X rows even”, you should keep on working in whatever stitch pattern you are using. Typically there are some shapings occuring at the same time, that’s why you don’t see the word “even” here.
Ending with a WS row – The last row worked should be a wrong side row.
Work even until piece measures X cm / Y” from CO – The designer means BLOCKED measurement! So if your pre-blocking gauge is 23 rows and your post-blocking gauge is 24 rows and that the piece measures X cm, it means that it will measure X * 23 / 24 cm after blocking. Keep your hand-held calculator handy!
Work as for Left Front – Reuse the directions for the Left Front, usually it has been written generically so that it works for both the Left Front and the Right Front. This is DIFFERENT from “reversing all shaping”. Don’t worry, I never use “reversing all shaping” in my patterns. It is too confusing for most beginners.