Knitting stitch patterns are usually written assuming that you are going to work them from the bottom up and in flat knitting. If you want to design a project worked in the round, or from the top down, or knit sideways, sometimes the stitch pattern won’t turn out looking the same if you follow the directions as given in a stitch dictionary or a pattern you find online.
This can become especially troublesome if different parts of the same project are worked in different ways, such as a bottom-up garment worked in the round with sleeves worked from the top down, or sleeves that are worked flat with a body worked in the round.
Wendy Bernard wants to make it easier for knitters to have the confidence to use stitch patterns in all different directions, both flat and in the round.
Her book All Around offered 157 stitch patterns and eight projects to get knitters thinking about patterns in different directions, and her The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary has 150 more patterns for knitting top down, bottom up, back and forth and in the round.
Little Pearls Stitch: An Excerpt
This pattern, called Little Pearls, is reprinted from The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary by Wendy Bernard with permission from Stewart, Tabori & Chang.
It’s a four row/round repeat that includes little cables that produce a braid with spaces in the middle like pearls.
(panel of 4 sts worked on a background of Rev St st; 4-row repeat)
Row 1 (RS): LC, RC.
Row 2: Purl.
Row 3: RC, LC.
Row 4: Purl.
Repeat rows 1–4 for Little Pearls Flat.
Worked in the Round
(panel of 4 sts worked on a background of Rev St st; 4-rnd repeat)
Round 1: LC, RC.
Round: RC, LC.
Repeat rounds 1–4 for Little Pearls in the Round.
Working the Cables
The book describes the moves to make the cables in the following way:
LC: Left Cross. Insert needle from back to front between first and second stitches on left-hand needle and knit the second stitch through the front loop.
Knit first stitch; slip both stitches from left-hand needle together.
RC: Right Cross. On right-side rows, insert tip of right-hand needle into front of second stitch, bringing tip to front of work between second and first stitches, knit stitch, knit first stitch through front loop, slip both stitches from left-hand needle together.
These are methods of working cables without a cable needle, which is a lot easier when you only have a couple of stitches involved in each.
About the Book
She covers what to look for in your swatch, how to swatch in the round and how to keep track of the needle size you used on different parts of the swatch, if you’ve changed needles.
There’s also information about how to use the patterns that follow and what reversible really means when it comes to knitting stitch patterns.
The 150 patterns are arranged by category: knits and purls; ribs; twisted, slipped and fancy; cables; lace; and mosaics.
Each pattern takes up one or two pages, with a large photograph of the swatch, instructions on how to work the pattern flat and in the round (as well as other variations when it makes a difference if the pattern is worked top-down or bottom-up) and charts for the variations.
Each chapter also has a project where you can try out one of the stitch patterns. These projects offer ideas for customization so you have the confidence to knit the stitch pattern of your choice into the project. Check out the patterns on Ravelry.
At the back of the book is an appendix all about designing from scratch, only not quite. It includes what you might call plain vanilla patterns (what Bernard calls formulas) for socks worked toe-up and top-down, a hat worked bottom-up and top-down (both in a range of sizes from kids through adults) and a triangular shawl worked from a large number of stitches and decreased along the way or worked from a small number of stitches to the desired width.
She offers tips about choosing stitch patterns, knitting needle size selection for different projects, yarn requirements for different projects and more that will get you using the stitch patterns from the book with confidence.
This book and its predecessor are great guides to working stitch patterns in different directions and provide a lot of inspiring ideas for people who want to design their own projects or take a basic pattern and make it their own.
Book specifications: 288 pages, hardcover with spiral binding, 150 stitch patterns and six project patterns (as well as six “from scratch” templates). Published April 2016, Stewart, Tabori & Chang. Suggested retail $29.95