You've completed a row and something isn't right. You have 2 sts
left. Or you've completed the row but the pattern still has
instructions for the row you haven't worked. You try it again and
there's still a problem. What do you do?
It's possible there is an error in the pattern...it does happen
sometimes*. Or despite the fact that you've worked it twice now,
you may be misunderstanding or skipping part of it.
If you break down the section or row by number of stitches used
and number of stitches remaining (if there is an increase or
decrease), it will be easier to determine if there is a pattern
error or if it's a knitter/crocheter error.
Let's look at a couple of examples of how to do this.
Cromwell Court Afghan
This pattern is worked over 114 stitches. At the end of this
row, you should still have 114 stitches.
Row 3: K3, (k2tog) 3 times, (yo, k1) 6 times,
*(k2tog) 6 times, (yo, k1) 6 times; rep from * to last 9 sts,
(k2tog) 3 times, k3.
First, let's look at K3, (k2tog) 3
times, (yo, k1) 6 times,
There are 3 decreases (k2tog) and 6 increases (yo). You
have used 15 stitches (k3, k2tog 3 times, k1 6 times [3+6+6])
and you have 18 stitches on the right needle now (3+3+12).
*(k2tog) 6 times, (yo, k1) 6 times; rep
from * to last 9 sts,
This repeat has 6 decreases and 6 increases so the number of
stitches used is the same as the number you have on your right
needle for this section. The yo's compensate for the k2tog
There are 18 stitches used (k2tog 6 times, k1 6 times [12+6])
and 18 new stitches (6+12).
This section is repeated 5 times.
We know this because we started with 114 stitches, we used 15
stitches prior to the asterisk, and we will have 9 stitches
left to work.
114-15-9=90 stitches worked over the repeat
90 divided by 18 stitches used=5
(k2tog) 3 times, k3.
There are 3 decreases and no increases. So the last section
compensates for the 3 extra increases in the first section.
You have used 9 stitches (6+3) and there are 6 new sts (3+3).
So the total number of stitches used is 15+90+9=114
The total number of stitches you now have is 18+90+6=114
Let's look at a second example: a sweater.
This next portion of the pattern has a series of increases to
shape the collar and decreases for the armholes and shoulders
but it's not tricky to break down the number of stitches you
should have. To make this example easier to follow, I've
eliminated the multiple sizes in the pattern.
Next Row (RS): K 6, inc 1 st in next st, place marker,
sl 1, place marker, inc 1 st in next st, k to end of row – 43
Next Row: Purl.
Next Row: K to 1 st before first marker, inc 1 st in
next st, sl marker, sl 1, sl marker, inc 1 st in next st, k to
end of row – 45 sts.
Rep last 2 rows 21 more times
There are 2 increases each time the increase row is worked
You had 45 stitches to begin; 42+45=87 stitches
The pattern continues: and AT THE SAME
TIME, when piece measures 17 in. (43 cm) from beg, end with a
RS row and shape armhole.
Bind off 7 sts at beg of next WS row. Work until armhole
measures same as Back to shoulders, end with a RS row and
You've eliminated 7 stitches.
Bind off 6 sts at beg of next WS row and 6 at beg of following
WS row – 68 sts.
You've eliminated 6 stitches 2 times.
Once you understand the pattern line by line, it will be easier
for you to follow it and maintain the right stitch count. Stitch
markers can be helpful when there are repeats, so that you can
mark each section and keep track of them. If you determine that
there is an error, you can send a note to the pattern's
publisher so they can correct it in the future. By breaking down
the pattern as we have above, you can also often determine what
the correct stitch count will be so that you can continue working
on your project.
Finally, if a pattern is frustrating you at the moment, take a
break! Leave it and look at it with fresh eyes the next day.
Often, when you come back to a pattern later on, it becomes
obvious what the issue may have been.
*Editor's note: While we triple-check each pattern for errors
here at Lion Brand, an occassional one may slip through.
If that happens, you can contact
us via LionBrand.com. When we issue a
correction, we include a note at the top of the pattern (for
people who may have previously printed out the pattern, but we
also incorporate the changes into the body of the pattern for
new people downloading the pattern so that you don't have to
worry about the correction.