Often knitting patterns don’t always have the space to write out all of the line by line instructions for a stitch pattern or section of knitting. So, often knitting patterns will include, “knitting repeat language” – language that instructs you to repeat a section of the pattern.
There are multiple ways this language can be phrased and exactly how it is written, depends on multiple things, (including the designer, the publication, the pattern writer, the technical editor, the pattern, etc), so I’ve included a couple of ways this direction can be written.
Rep = repeat
Rnd = round
Repeat Language – Repeating Whole Rows or Rounds
Pattern repeat instructions say “Rep ___ a total of X times.”
The row(s) or round(s) spelled out are included in that total. i.e. if X is 10, that is the total number of times to repeat those rows or rounds. Including the first time the rows (or rounds) are worked.
Repeat Language – rep from *
The “*” sets a point in the instructions from which to repeat.
In Jill Wolcott Knits Patterns, the instruction will look something like this:
Row 1: K1, *k1, p2, k1; rep from * to last stitch, end k1
In other patterns the language could also look something like:
Row 1: K1, *k1, p2, k1; rep from *, end k1
Row 1: K1, *k1, p2, k1; rep from *, k1
Sometimes the same instruction will be given as a parenthetical, followed by the number of repeats to be done. Using the * repeat from allows some extra flexibility to the pattern writer. I find that having the number of end stitches can be helpful for ensuring the repeats have been worked correctly.
Repeat Language – ( ) Parentheses
Work instruction inside “( )” parentheses, and repeat number of times indicated outside.
This groups one or more instructions within the ( ) parentheses, which are to be worked the number of times specified outside the ( ) parentheses. All instructions within the ( ) parentheses are worked before moving on to the next instruction.
(k2tog) 3 times = knit 2 stitches together a total of 3 times
(k1, p1, yo) 6 times = knit 1, purl 1, yarn over, a total of 6 times
Repeat Language – [ ] Brackets
Work instruction inside both [ ] brackets and ( ) parentheses fully then repeat number of times indicated outside.
[k1, p1, (k2tog) 2 times, p1, k1] 3 times = knit 1, p1, (knit 2 stitches together) a total of 2 times, p1, k1 and work that entire instruction a total of 3 times
[k2tog, (k1, p1, yo) 2 times, SSK] 6 times = knit 2 stitches together, (knit 1, purl 1, yarn over) a total of 2 times a total of 6 times
This groups more than one instructions within the [ ] brackets. One of the instructions inside the brackets is already using ( ) parentheses, so it is the next level of grouping. Each instruction inside the [ ] brackets is fully worked before working the next repeat of the bracketed instructions.
Pattern Specific Variations
Sometimes, I include technique variations that are for specific patterns. I always include directions for specific techniques in the pattern itself, so be sure to also read any patterns you’re working on closely.