Cast On, Knit Up, Drop Out: Understanding Knitting Patterns

HEY!

PEOPLE OF THE WORLD!

KNIT UP!

KNIT UP!

In doing some research on Timothy Leary, I came across some rather groovy experimental videos. He said that the natural state of the brain was chaos. It is when we are overloaded by information and stimuli that we are able to be reprogramed. Basically, out of chaos comes a kind of order.

Lights and colours kept flashing before me and my mind suddenly snapped to that pattern I had been agonising over. The feeling of gaining some kind of clarity comes at the darnedest times. I stopped doing the work I was doing and went to my knitting basket, pulled out the pattern and just took the time to read it. Now at this point, many of you might be saying to your self, “No duh! Who doesn’t read the pattern before you start?” The answer, my friend, is LOTS OF PEOPLE. But it’s not about just reading the pattern. It’s about becoming one with it.

At the last knitting circle I attended at Bugman’s Bar with the Knitting Kninjas, I mentioned how I was still studying the pattern I was currently working on. One of the ladies was nonplussed. “You study it? I just start it!” she said. One of the beginners looked at my pattern and mearly shook her head. “I’ll never get there,” she sighed.

Knitting patterns can be very confusing. The abbreviations and symbols can look as if it is some ancient language. Throw in some runes and you have something you would see on an alien’s information display in its helmet. (he he) But seriously, it looks daunting. Once you become familar with the chaos, the order appears. You just need to chunck it down. Take it line by line and take your time.

The first thing to do is become familiar with the knitting abbreviations. I bought a book when I first learned to knit. I carried it around with me in my knitting bag. 20170127_100027.jpg

I first got used to the basic ones which are:

K or k = knit stitch
P or p = purl stitch

CO= cast on

BO= Bind off

Inc= increase

Dec= decrease

Rep= repeat

sl= slip stitch or slip a number of stitches

YO= yarn over as in taking the yarn over the needle

Tog= together as in knit two stitches together

Work Even= continue to what you have been doing without increasing or decreasing

Maintain Pattern= this means continue to do what you have been doing whilst dcreasing or increasing on the rows given.

Another helpful bit of advice was to print out a list of abbreiviations, laminate them and keep them in your knitting bag. I found a list on the Craft Yarn Council’s Yarn standards page.

It is a feeling of absolute joy when I all of a sudden “Get” the pattern. The soundtrack in my mind suddenly snaps into Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now” and the cinematography becomes all golden. A very nice lady and self proclaimed Old Hippie told me once, “You just can’t rush things, sugar. Take your time. Breathe in…out and it all becomes clear.” (Thanks Mom)

You can find detailed help on how to understand knitting patterns on Wikihow.

We call this process “turning on.” And secondly, we seek to express the revelation, the glory, and the confusion and the paradox which comes to us from turning on in acts of glorification, of communication, of expressing the wonder and the meaning. It’s this process of acting it out that is called “tuning in.” But in order to turn on and tune in, you must of course “drop out.” — Timothy Leary

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