I use written pattern table instructions in Jill Wolcott Knits® patterns to make it easier to “read” the written instructions. Tables allow the written instructions to be formatted with columns that line up with the stitches in your knitting. They also allow you to easily find the instructions for your size in an orderly fashion.
Why Written Pattern Table Instructions
One key reason for using this style of pattern tables is: it is easier for your brain to take in the information. Each pattern table is constructed to match what you are seeing in your knitting. My goal with all Jill Wolcott Knits® patterns is that it is easy for you to knit!
Here’s an example of two lines of written instructions from a Jill Wolcott Knits® pattern.
The goal is always to have the the “sections” of your knitting line up in columns in Jill Wolcott Knits® patterns. Doing this means you can easily read your knitting and compare it to the written pattern instructions. Because of this it can sometimes be tricky to get the columns to read properly in each direction. Sometimes vague terms that will work at either end of the needle need to be employed.
Notes for Reading Columns in Pattern Tables
- In the example pattern table above the first column on the left is Row, and tells you which row of your knitting it is. (If worked in the round, it would say Rnd.)
- The second column is Size. This tells you which line of text to work for which size in the pattern. This column is only present in patterns with multiple sizes, however a Jill Wolcott Knits® pattern with only one size is rare.
- Edge is the third column, which presents the edge stitches which frame the main pattern.
- In the example written instructions above, the main stitch pattern starts with the fourth column, labeled “Seed” and contains written instructions for seed stitch. The pattern is the same for all sizes, so only appears in the first line.
- In this example, the fifth column is Repeat, which tells you how many times to repeat the fourth column. Notice that the repeat numbers are different and an “x” is used to save space.
- The sixth column is “Center” and presents instructions for the center stitch design and acts as a transition to the second half of your knitting.
- Columns seven, eight, and nine are similar to columns three, four, and five, but written so that the sides of your knitting will mirror each other around the central design.
- The final column, labeled “Sts” and gives you the final stitch count for that row of knitting.
- You’ll notice in this example that the edge stitches (column 3) are separated by a stitch marker from the seed stitch (columns 4 and 5), which are then separated by another stitch marker from the center stitches (column 6), and the same on the second half of the row. This is again, to help you visually follow and connect the written instructions in the pattern to your knitting. (This also makes it easier to find mistakes.)
Notes for Reading Rows in Pattern Tables
- Each row of the table is numbered in the first column with the row of knitting that you’re working and read from left to right.
- The first row of the table indicates which side of your knitting the row is worked on. For flat knitting I try to keep RS rows odd numbers, and WS rows even numbers. But it is most important, to be consistent! For knitting in the round, no side designation is needed and Rnd numbers can be used however they appear.
- On rows where there is decreasing, increasing, or another major action, I put that into the Row Name as well: Dec, Inc, BO, CO, GSR, etc.
- The letter in the “Size” column will list each size in the pattern. In cases where sizes begin on different rows/rnds that is specified in the pattern directions before the pattern table.
- The written pattern begins with the third column, and in this example case also indicates putting in a marker.
- In column three “Edge” the same instruction is worked for every size. This is indicated by instructions only appearing on the first line of row 1, column 3.
- Next, a stitch pattern repeat is set out; in this case it is just a 2-stitch pattern, with the instructions appearing in column 4 “Seed” and the repeat appearing in column 5 “Repeat”.
- A number of times to repeat that column 4 pattern is in the following column (column 5), and uses “x” instead of “times” to save space. Each size has its repetition numbers set out. In this example, size S would repeat the “Seed” instructions 8 times, while size L would repeat the “Seed” instructions 9 times.
- In this pattern, “Center” in column 6 is the center of the piece. Placement of markers is specified. The center is 5 stitches, with a parenthetical repeat.
- Again, columns seven, eight, and nine are similar to columns three, four, and five. But written so that the sides of your knitting will mirror each other around the central design. Note that the stitch pattern isn’t exactly the same under “Seed.”
- In this example table the stitch count is given for each size in the last column of the row. Note that in patterns I often exclude the Sts column when there has been no change in the total stitch count.
- Row 2 of the table is the WS but no information other than the row number is needed. The size column indicates ALL, because the sizes are all worked in the same manner. Previously placed markers are now used as guideposts and allow a slightly abbreviated written presentation.
Columns in Pattern Tables That Reflect the Action Charts and Your Knitting
This is the key for me. I want the words in my patterns to match the symbols and charts I create. There is a constant push and pull in creating clear knitting patterns to make this all work together.