When knitting a project that involves a stitch pattern (something
than stockinette or garter stitch) and shaping, such a sweater or hat,
you will likely run into the term "keeping to pattern". It may be
written as "keep to established pattern", "work pattern as
established", or "continue in established pattern"; they all
essentially mean the same thing.
When working on the non-shaping section, you will knit
pattern, following the written instructions for each row. But if you
increase or decrease at each end of a row while shaping, those rows
will no longer begin and end as written because you have added or
subtracted stitches. But you need to keep the previous stitches aligned
so the stitch pattern continues.
Many times, you can simply look at your knitting and see where you
within the stitch pattern. This is why it's important to learn to "read
your knitting" and understand by looking at your work the sequence of
knits, purls, yarn-overs, etc. Knitting from a chart is also an
here because you can look on each side of the pattern repeat and
understand visually where you are in the row.
There are times when it's more difficult to follow where you are at
perhaps you are just starting out. So let's work through an example of
Double Seed Stitch, sometimes known as Box Stitch:
Multiple of 4
Rows 1 and 2: *k2, p2; rep from
Rows 3 and 4: *p2, k2; rep
|Let's suppose you began with 16
stitches and you have increased one
stitch on each end on Row 4. You now have 18 stitches and you can no
longer begin Row 1 with a knit stitch because you no longer have a
multiple of 8 and knits and purls will no longer align as intended.
K = knit; P = purl; + = increase
How should you be keeping to pattern when you work Row 1
again? You would
begin p1, then proceed to begin the row as written. The first stitch
you work is the last stitch of the row as written. You are working
backwards from the end of the repeat to the beginning of the repeat as
you increase stitches.
You will also have one extra stitch at the end of the row. As
you ended Row 1 p2. Because you have an extra stitch, the row will now
end with k1, which is the first stitch of the row as written. The last
stitch you work is the first stitch of the row as written…the repeat is
starting over again. However, you won't have enough stitches to
complete the row as written.
So, the new Row 1 would
P1, *k2, p2; rep from *, end k1
Remember that where you begin and end each row will change each time
you add more stitches. If you increased one stitch at each end again,
Row 1 would now be:
P2, *k2, p2; rep from *, end k2
Or even more simply:
*p2, k2; rep from *
When you decrease you eliminate stitches, so again you need to
recalculate how to begin the row and how it should end.
Let's suppose you were working over 16 stitches again but this time
decreased at the beginning of Row 1. You would have k2tog and this
brings you to p2 as the next step. You would then continue k2, p2.
You don't need to worry about ending the row when you decrease. As
as you begin in the correct place, the row will end when you've run out
of stitches and they will all be aligned as intended.
Remember, just as with increasing, where you begin and end will
change each time you decrease stitches.