These are dreaded words in knitting. I don’t use them because they are likely to be missed, or to freak someone out. In a Jill Wolcott Knits pattern I am likely to tell you how to work the two instructions together, but in most patterns, the instructions are set out separately, and you need to be alert to make this work. However they may be set out, the need to follow two simultaneous instructions remains. Here are suggestions for dealing with having to work two sets of instructions at the same time based on the instructions in the Beginner Lace Cardigan (and other garments).
At the same time . . . Neck and Armholes
Before the armhole instructions for each front, the Beginner Lace Cardigan, pattern gives the length to work to to start the shaping for the front neck. This is given as measurements. Ideally you will multiply your blocked row gauge by the number of inches given for a size or desired starting point (remember, neck shaping is done in anticipation of being filled in by the neck trim).
1. Calculate the number of rows to be worked to hit those measurements (2.75 (3) (3) (3.25) (3.5)”) based on blocked row gauge (6 rows/in). Round to a whole number.
Row gauge x inches to shaping
= 6 x 2.75 (3) (3) (3.25) (3.5)”
= 16.5 (18) (18) (19.5) (21) rows
= 16 (18) (18) (20) (22) even rows or 17 (19) (19) (19) (21) odd rows*
On the Left front the bind off for the neck is on a WS row, so round to an even number and round to an odd number for the Right front (which binds off on a RS row). I’ve been charting the shaping for my Beginner Lace Cardigan KAL, so I know that for every size this is going to mean there are armhole decreases still to do when I do the Front neck bind off. In this pattern, because there is no “At the same time” I suggest counting the total number of stitches to be decreased (or remaining to be decreased) at the armhole before embarki at the place where the neck bind off is done.
*In Women’s garments our Right side buttons/closes over the Left, so it makes sense to have an extra row on the top side.
2. Then, before doing the neck bind off, put a marker at the armhole end of the front, showing you how many stitches you need to decrease to have completed all the armhole decreases. Then you don’t have to worry, just work your decreases as instructed, until you have 0 stitches left outside the marker.
3. Do the same thing with the neck shaping. Count how many total decreases the pattern calls for doing at the neck edge after the bind off row, and after completing the bind off, put a marker in to so that the number of decreased stitches for the front neck sits outside the neck marker. Work the decreases as instructed.
Okay, that may all make sense, but how do you know the total number of decreases?
At the same time . . . How to get the Numbers
For the armhole marker: Take the number of stitches for the Front [69 (74) (82) (85) (87) stitches] after the Divide, subtract the number of Front stitches after all the armhole decreases have been worked [53 (55) (57) (58) (61) stitches]. The result is the total stitches decreased at armhole [16 (19) (25) (27) (26)].
For the neck marker: The stitch counts given are calculated as if all the armhole shaping has been completed, so this would be the number of stitches from the armhole marker to the neck edge.
Take the number of stitches after the bind off [28 (29) (30) (31) (32) stitches], subtract the stitches remaining after all the neck decreases [18 (19) (20) (21) 22) stitches]. The result is the total stitches decreased at the neck [10 (10) (10) (10) (11)].
Of course you still have to figure out how the shaping is done, which I always think is a bit of a challenge, so I recommend charting or making some other notation to make sure you know what to do.
Take a look at my newsletter this week because it is about making shaping charts!