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cinknits
New Pal

18 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2007 :  1:47:23 PM  Show Profile Send cinknits a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm looking for advice on how to keep track of where you are in patterns where they tell you to k or p so many sts and then follow cable pat I, then k or p, then follow cable rib, then cable pat II.... I think you get the picture! How do you all keep track on a pattern like that? I'm looking for any helpful hints you have!

sjanova
Seriously Hooked

USA
963 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2007 :  2:47:20 PM  Show Profile Send sjanova a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There are a lot of different ways to do this and you'll have to experiment to find the best one for you.

Sometimes it works best to write or type out the entire row, even if there are several repeats of the same pattern group. I don't usually do that unless it's a really complicated pattern. I do usually type out a pattern and enlarge the print so it's easier to see, with a blank space between each row. I put it (or a photocopy of the original pattern) into a sheet protector and sometimes, for the first few repeats through the pattern rows, I use a sticky note to cover the row before and after so I know exactly where I am.

Most times it helps me to use stitch markers between groups -- so I might have them before and after cable pattern I and before and after cable pattern II all the way across. I sometimes leave st markers in all the way through because it helps remind me or because then I can knit a least somewhat by feel. Once a pattern set is established, they're not really that necessary and I often take them out then.

To keep track of which row I'm in, I use row counters or a piece of sticky paper stuck onto that sheet protector (sometimes taped -- the sticky stuff doesn't last very long). Then the challenge is to remember to change the row counter or make the note on the paper, which some do as they begin the row, but I usually do as I finish the row. This is also challenging when you're doing two of something simultaneously (two fronts, two sleeves, two socks, two whatevers) to remember to note the row for each piece or wait until you finish both or whatever you do -- so long as you're consistent.

The useful part about my sticky paper (I use 4x6 lined sticky notes) is that I also make notes about the needle size or changes or yarn used or color used and changes, that kind of thing. And if I go back and make another of that same thing, I know how many row repeats of the pattern it took to make the size I made. If I've changed the size and want another of that changed size, it makes it easier.

As I said, you'll need to experiment to figure out what works best for you and it may vary from pattern to pattern.


sja
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socks4all
Permanent Resident

USA
1458 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  06:34:55 AM  Show Profile Send socks4all a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I second Sjanova's suggestions but would like to add a bit. When using sticky notes (yes, the sticky does wear off after awhile, that's what makes it possible to remove and replace) you should position the note abovethe line you are working on. This way you can see not only the current line but the lines already worked. This will help you read both your work and the pattern. So if you are supposed to make a bobble in the 5th st which is a purl st, if you have the paper below the line, you would not see that there is supposed to be a purl st but just the 5th st of the pattern. So when you come to the "5th" st of the pattern and it was not a purl, you wouldn't know to look and see where you may have made a mistake. You might not see the error until the end of the row when you have too many/too few sts.
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fillyjonk
Permanent Resident

1127 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  06:46:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit fillyjonk's Homepage Send fillyjonk a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I agree with what both Sjanova and socks4all said. I LOVE stitch markers, they are my most favorite tool - I use them whenever I can when I'm doing some kind of a pattern with repeats or if there are multiple patterns in a piece.

I just use the simple cheap rubber-ring or split-plastic-ring markers you can find at most crafts shops.

I've also found that for patterns where there are a series of things that need to be done in the right order (the most recent instance for me being the shaping of a sleeve cap), I happened to have one of those Post-It "flags" (the kind that are a little arrow - it was off of a document I had to sign and send back to my stockbroker). So, when I stopped knitting, I put the "flag" on the pattern right at the direction for the next thing I had to do. Helped immensely.

I have also heard of, for patterns where there are multiple different rows, writing out each row on a 3"x5" card, and stacking up the cards in order, and then turning over the card as you finish that row. (I tend to prefer a "real" row counter for that, but this is another way to do it.)
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sandyt
Permanent Resident

USA
3101 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2007 :  06:53:31 AM  Show Profile Send sandyt a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Another forum member suggested that I use index cards-as fillijonk explained-but then use a hole punch and binder ring to keep it together, and flip.

My bifocals and a nasty strabismus cause all kinds of trouble with lines and charts-so this method is really helpful!
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llinn
honorary angel

USA
1650 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2007 :  9:48:37 PM  Show Profile Send llinn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I can get myself so thoroughly confused with written dirctions, you cannot even imagine. When I have to do row 3 of pattern A then row 7 of pattern B and so on, I have found that a cheap shot spread sheet on a piece of paper sometimes does the trick. Column A will be the numbers for the rows for pattern A. Column B will be the numbers for the rows for pattern B and so on. Then I can place check marks next to the rows with a pencil or some such and can look to see what row I should be on when the repeats vary so much.

Boy, hope that seems coherent enough to help.

Llinn
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knits_for_preemies
Permanent Resident

USA
1957 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2007 :  01:53:13 AM  Show Profile  Visit knits_for_preemies's Homepage Send knits_for_preemies a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I use stitch markers to separate repeats.

To keep up with which row I'm on, I use a long narrow spiral pad (like a grocery list pad) and write the row numbers down. I check them off as I go. To the side of the row number, I note anything important, such as simple directions or a color change.

The bonus here is I have a written set of notes when I'm through to help me if I knit this item again. Oh yes, I note the name of the pattern, needle size, yarn & yardage/no. of balls, etc. at the top of the first page.

Hope this helps.

Barbara

www.southernfriedknittin.blogspot.com
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spielerd
Gabber Extraordinaire

417 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2007 :  02:12:10 AM  Show Profile Send spielerd a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Good on all the above. I just ordered some row markers that hang on the needle. Hope they work out well. I have given up on the sticky notes. I now use blue painter's tape on the sheet protector to "underline" the current row. It comes right off and moves easily. I have the ends turned under to have a "handle" to grab onto. It seems to be working out pretty well.

Debby
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achrisvet
Permanent Resident

USA
5986 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2007 :  03:57:41 AM  Show Profile Send achrisvet a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Are you working from a chart? Some cabled designs can have 4 or six different charts for the different sections and you have to keep flipping pages as you go from chart to chart. I used my scanner to scan each chart and then I pasted them in a document in the order I needed them, even repeating the small charts where the pattern was used more than once in a row. Each little chart has it's own sticky note.

Anita
My completed projects

and here

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cinknits
New Pal

18 Posts

Posted - 09/04/2007 :  11:10:55 AM  Show Profile Send cinknits a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for all of the suggestions! I think retyping the pattern and using the stitch markers will do the trick for me. It's a bit of extra work, but the results should be worth it!
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Terryknits
Chatty Knitter

USA
275 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2007 :  07:37:39 AM  Show Profile Send Terryknits a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I absolutely agree with the stitch markers. I also type the pattern repeat not the whole pattern in larger print that is double spaced. Usually at most this is not much more than 15 lines. Instead of the sticky notes, I use a magnetic strip. I put the pattern on top of one piece of metal that is magnetic. The size is up to you. Usually the weight will limit the size. On top I put a light weight magnetic strip such as at these sites below.

https://www.seejanework.com/ProductCart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=144

http://hangercity.com/wallstrip.html

I move the top strip as I knit to keep my place. I try NOT to use a white top strip so there is contrast between my pattern and the strip. I like this because the sticky edge of post its often wears off. The magnetic strip stays in place. I sometimes have to reduce the number of magnets because it is difficult to move the strip along it holds so well. There are all sorts of various ways to use magnetic strips and I found it works for me.


Terry
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abt1950
Permanent Resident

3019 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2007 :  2:03:24 PM  Show Profile Send abt1950 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Stitch markers, index cards, and peg-type row counters that allow you to track different things at the same time. Stitch markers go between the different patterns on my needles. Each pattern gets written out on it's own index card (assuming they're not graphed, which makes it a different ball game.) Each pattern gets assigned a specific place on the row counter. When I finish a row, I move the row markers for each pattern.

Anne in NJ

Knit long and prosper
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kat0926
Chatty Knitter

USA
340 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2007 :  9:01:42 PM  Show Profile Send kat0926 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I always make a copy of my pattern before I start. That way I can write notes right onto the pattern and my original doesn't get messed up. As I complete a row I write the number of the row next to the pattern or chart. That way when I pull the pattern back out I know right away where to start. This works the best for me. The row counters just don't work as well for me (not to mention that my 4 year old son loves to play with them and always changes the numbers on me).

Kim
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NancyW
Chatty Knitter

USA
219 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2007 :  10:04:17 PM  Show Profile  Visit NancyW's Homepage Send NancyW a Private Message  Reply with Quote

For patterns with multiple cable sections like the original question, I usually make liberal use of the copy machine and cut apart the pattern then tape it back together in an order that matches the pattern; repeating sections as necessary. Using stitch markers in between each repeat is really key too, more so on lace, but it's great for cables too. Sometimes I re-chart the pattern so it's all one chart and easier to read, marking where the stitch markers go with thicker lines.

For keeping track in the charts themselves of which row I'm on, I used to use post its, but always ended up losing the post it in my knitting bag; which kind of defeated the purpose! I found (and now sell on my site, cuz it's so awesome) Highlighter Tape, which is colored see through tape that's removable like a post it, but doesn't come off as easy, and couldn't knit without it now.

I've used the magnetic boards too - but they aren't very portable for my knitting bag. I also have used extra thick sheet protectors to keep my pattern from being crumpled too much in my bag; but I don't have many of those in the right size.

-Nancy
The Knit Foundry: building better tools for knitters
http://www.knitfoundry.com
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annelindenfeld@mac.com
New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  03:52:56 AM  Show Profile Send annelindenfeld@mac.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
First of all, I avoid patterns written out as "word instructions" at all cost, when it comes to knitting cables or lace patterns. I much prefer knitting from charts. My eye can easily scan the number and kinds of stitches and memorize them better, much better than reading and remembering something like K2, YO, K2TOG, K2, P6, YO, CABLE4, P6,P2TOGTBL....Eeeek!

Also, before I knit, I scan the charts on my handly home office scanner, blowing up the chart by at least 150%, so I can read it more easily. (I wish the patternmakers would not publish charts at 6pt.) When knitting I keep a highlighter on hand, so I can highlight the last row of the chart that I have completed. This works better for me than a stitch counter, because once I get knitting at a good clip, I will forget to click a counter, but I mostly will remember to mark a page. (There's that visual memory thing again!) If the chart requires repeats, I can just mark ticks on the side of a row and keep track of things that way.

I group repeating vertical pattern between markers, which I use with abandon. It's much easier to remember small groups of pattern than 80 stitches at a time. I often knit on circular needles -- and more often than not, 2 circular needles, so I mark the beginning of the row or grouping of pattern by using different colored markers.

Hope that helps! I think all of us, over the years, devise our own method to the madness.
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sandrasingh
Seriously Hooked

USA
740 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  05:05:19 AM  Show Profile  Visit sandrasingh's Homepage Send sandrasingh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I literally take Notes with the date. Often I'll rewrite a pattern so I can cross off rows &/or sts as I go and in my notes I'll tell myself where I'm at and what I need to do next! What ever methods you decide to use try not to rely on your memory, I talk to so many knitters who have put a project aside because they can't remember where they left off!

Sandra Singh
www.sandrasingh.com
sandrasingh@sandrasingh.com
My Blog:http://knittingwithsandrasingh.sandrasingh.com/
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jenesei@comcast.net
New Pal

10 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  05:23:42 AM  Show Profile Send jenesei@comcast.net a Private Message  Reply with Quote
All of the suggestions for index cards, spreadsheets, etc., that involve re-writing the pattern aren't for me. That isn't knitting, it's too much like my job. I use stitch markers between sections and add row markers to row 1 of each vertical pattern section (cable group, lace repeat, etc.) Row 1 for me isn't always row 1 on the chart or instructions. I treat the actual cable crossing as the last row of cable and mark the next row as row 1 of the next group with a row marker. Anyway, once the pattern is established, I then focus on reading my knitting to know what to do next. I try to use the completed part already knit as my template for what to do next. I refer to the pattern or chart when I need to, but not for every row. I do make notes on my working copy of the pattern to help with this method, like writing the number of rows in a vertical repeat on the chart so I don't have to keep recounting the same thing. I rely on my knitting as the pattern partly because I never remember to increment a stitch counter, or put that checkmark on the pattern, etc., so I always have to recount my rows anyway!For me, too, knitting is all about the physical repetition, not the mental work.
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tommysmemere
New Pal

6 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  05:25:44 AM  Show Profile Send tommysmemere a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi,

I, too, write out each pettern row and check them off as I go.....stitch markers help as well.

The wonderful thing about notes is that they become a legacy of your work! When my grandmother and mentor passed away, I received about 600 patterns from her...all with her personal notes and comments about each pattern. It was a wonderful rememberance of her to sit and read her fun comments:

:"I will never make this again"
"Be cafeful with this gauge and yarn weight"
"This looked adorable on baby Andrew (now 46 yo)"
"I have made 200 of this little take me home sweater"
"DO not make this bathing suit again.....It swells in the water and hangs....not very pretty for all the work"
"Yarn very expensive ($2.09 a skein) but worth every penny. Remember not to tell George (my grandfather) how much it cost"

There was hours of reading and I still discover moments of brilliance when I am working on a project that she made before me. I recently finished football sweaters for my Grandsons. When they tried them on I showed them a picture of my two brothers in the same sweaters and the kids laughed and giggled.

So, keep your notes and pettern tips with your patterns...it may provide wonderful memories inthe future!

Enjoy!
Michelle
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abt1950
Permanent Resident

3019 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  07:34:57 AM  Show Profile Send abt1950 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Michelle, that's wonderful. I do similar things with recipes. They're not just comments on the recipes but also about the time and place that I made them. They bring back memories. I also have a couple of recipes written in my mother's and grandmother's handwriting. They are precious to me. Unfortunately, I don't any knitting patterns or notes from my grandmother.

I scribble notes on the working copies of my patterns all the time. I also write summaries of what I've learned, problems, stuff to remember in future when I'm done with a project. It may not help with pattern reading, but it gives me a reminder of my progess as a knitter.

As for pattern reading, I prefer keeping track of individual stitch patterns separately. When I'm a few rows into the piece I can see the logic of each stitch pattern. That helps me keep things straight. Once, long ago in a a galaxy far, far away I tried to write out a combined row by row pattern. It didn't work, and I never made the project.

Anne in NJ

Knit long and prosper
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mykidzmom5@yahoo.com
New Pal

24 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  07:39:57 AM  Show Profile Send mykidzmom5@yahoo.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
All of the suggestions are excellent. I believe, just like with learning, that we all have our own styles of comprehending instructions. I recently made a very detailed baby blanket with a lace border. I enlarged the chart and used the small magnetic board that cross stitchers use with the long skinny magnets. I placed one above and one below the row I was on. I then couldn't confuse my rows and because they stick so well to the board I could put it in my knitting bag and take it with me and not lose my place. It made all of the difference in the world. I believe the same could be done with any instructions. It's reusable and actually a bit more efficient than (un)sticky notes.
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era253
New Pal

USA
20 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2007 :  08:53:42 AM  Show Profile Send era253 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think it has become clear from all of these responses that everyone has a different preferred method of dealing with information and making it easily available. We each have cognitive styles and strengths and weaknesses in this area. I am SOOOOOO reluctant to use a chart. I avoid them like the plague. I do, however much work it is, write out a pattern before I start knitting. I do it on my computer and save it. This way I can make as many copies of the difficult part as I want. I type it in large print with space between the lines. I use a pencil to check off each row as I knit it. It's primitive, and time consuming, but the only way that works to make the actual knitting enjoyable for me. And that's what my goal is. I'm sure I can use a chart and be successful with it, but would not find the knitting nearly as fun.

Evie
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