It’s a snowy Cape Cod night and with Netflix streaming in the background, I thought I would post a knitalong update! I’ve received a handful of emails in the past few days from people who have finished with the back and are getting started on the fronts. WOW! I still haven’t quite made it to the armholes on the back, but I’ll catch up to you!
I’m writing this post in an effort to relay a concept that is very concrete in my head, but sounds very abstract on paper. I hope this doesn’t make things more cloudy for you. Please read through, and at the end, if it’s still cloudy, you’ll find something more transparent.
Through my knitting career I’ve developed self-preservation techniques for getting through a pattern like this without getting too wound up in the language. As I get started with the fronts, one of the most helpful things I do is spend a moment with the schematic to get a good visual of what I’m doing. Sometimes I even draw myself a picture! For this pattern, we have a textured stitch at the center front, along the cardigan opening, and we have some side and armhole shaping at the opposite edge.
In this diagram you can see a left front and right front. Imagine you are looking at the front of the sweater with the right (public) side facing you. When we talk about left and right fronts we refer to the fronts as you would wear them. So if we are looking at this diagram from the Front Side of the sweater, the piece to the right of the diagram is the Left Front. Does that make sense? When we knit across a row, with the Front Side facing us, we are knitting from right to left across the diagram.
Once you get oriented in this space, the not-so-clear directions make a little bit more sense. For the left front piece, you are instructed to cast on and complete the bottom edging as you did for the back. Then, your pattern says something like,”continue in stockinette and 22 sts toward the front in double seed stitch.” If you have the front side of your work facing you, looking at the left front, this means you are going to follow the arrow on the diagram – knitting plain stitches across most of the row, and working the last 22 stitches in double seed stitch. Those last 22 stitches are the ones “toward the front” of the sweater. When you turn your work to complete the next row, what stitches are facing you? At first, you’ll have those 22 double seed stitches, then you’ll purl to the end of the row. Does that make sense? Once you have a few rows done, it will be more clear.
When you begin to work the Right Front of the sweater, the only instructions you are given are to work as for the Left Front but in reverse. Without panicking at the thought of reversing all of the instructions, take another look at the diagram, above. You will cast on and knit the bottom edging same as you did for the back and the left side. Then, when you start working in stockinette and double seed stitch, where does the seed stitch go? At the beginning or the end of the row?
With the Front Side of the sweater facing you, you would knit the 22 double seed stitches first, then complete the row in stockinette stitch. When you turn around to work the next row, you will have purl stitches facing you, and the 22 double seed stitches at the end of the row.
Remember that any shaping, or binding off for the armholes will happen at the stockinette edge. Once you establish that one edge is for seed stitch and one edge is for side and armhole shaping, then all you have to pay attention to is the numbers. You don’t have to stop and reorient yourself in between every instruction.
For those who would love to rewrite this portion of the pattern it would start something like this:
CO for your size and knit the edging that you’ve decided to knit.
Row 1: Knit to last 22 sts (or whichever for your size), *k2, p2; repeat from * to the end of the row.
Row 2: *P2, k2; repeat from * across the first 22 stitches, purl to the end of the row.
Work side and armhole shaping at the start of your Right Side rows.
Row 1: *K2, p2; repeat from * across first 22 sts (or whichever for your size), knit to the end of the row
Row 2: Purl across to the last 22 sts, *P2, k2; repeat from * to the end of the row
Work side and armhole shaping at the end of your Right Side rows.
AND remember as you continue that double seed stitch is two rows of the same, then two rows of the opposite. Clear as mud?