Hand knitters often talk about “reading your knitting”. Once you’ve mastered the basic knit and purl stitches and are ready to branch out with your knitting, this skill is essential in keeping track of stitch patterns and for more enjoyable knitting without laboriously following a pattern row by row.
For example, when working cables, you should reach a point that you can “read” when it’s time to work another cable, eliminating the need to count rows each time.
If you make a mistake in a knit and purl stitch pattern, you should not only be able to “read” when you mis-patterned and knits and purls are reversed, but be able to “read” the stitches to repair your mistake.
Machine knitters should can also read their knitting …. BUT we have an advantage!
Staying on track when machine knitting.
- Rely on your row counter. If your knitting pattern hasn’t provided you with row-by row instructions, create your own. For example, your pattern tells you “decrease both sides 1 stitch every other row 7 times”. Chart out ahead of time on what rows your shaping will occur. 2-4-6-7-10-12-14 then watch your row counter to remind you when to work your shaping.
- Rely on the number strip on your needlebed. Let’s say you started with L30 – R30 needles in work. “decrease both sides 1 stitch every other row 7 times” and you’ll end up on row 4 with stitches on L23 – R23.
- Did I work that decrease (cable)? In addition to the number strip, examine the needles and look for doubled stitches. “Read” the row that is on the bed.
- Get distracted? Hang a tool on your needles before walking away. When you return, it will be obvious that you need to do something before passing the carriage and knitting a row.