Mathematical Monday: The Numbers in a Pattern

Filed in Uncategorized by on December 27, 2010 0 Comments

Something that I try to incorporate into all my teaching is the concept of pattern-reading as a different skill than knitting. I go over principles of pattern reading that help students to feel more confidence. Patterns often get a bad rep, mostly due to the bad apple syndrome, but a lot of published patterns actually are thoughtfully conceived and thoroughly edited. Careful reading and assertive number-deciphering can put almost every pattern successfully to work.

Here are a few tips:

  • Carefully read the words surrounding the numbers to make sure you understand explicitly what is being counted-stitches, rows, repeats, or some other operation?
  • Get a clear understanding of the knitted measurements, ease as photographed and the designer’s intentions regarding fit. 
  • Do not hesitate to wrangle the numbers using a method that fits your learning style, such as rewriting an abbreviated sequence in chart, list or tally mark form.  
Remember that patterns are, almost always and by necessity for printing, truncated in some form. Sometimes it can seem like all that’s left are the numbers. Read between the lines, use the excellent reasoning skills that led you to be a knitter in the first place, and use the great, wide world of knitting knowledge that is out there to take control of those numbers instead of fearing them. 

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