From time to time, I see the same question about a particular pattern pop-up in our pattern support inbox. This spring, several knitters have asked us how to keep the sweet little flowers in Fredrika‘s charted stitch pattern lined up when beginning decreases on the body.
Whenever you’re working any kind of allover pattern, you do need to do some adjusting as you decrease to keep the pattern correct. The most important thing is to keep the pattern stitch lined up, and keep the yarn overs and decreases balanced within the pattern stitches.
One option, to make things simpler, is to place markers in between the first couple of chart repeats. Then, when one of your decreases eats into the first chart repeat, take the first marker off and simply work in stockinette over where the first repeat was. Since this will be at the side seam, it will look fine to just make those stitches into stockinette.
A slightly more advanced option would be to only convert the stitches at the very edge to stockinette – making sure that anytime you eliminate a decrease, you also eliminate the corresponding yarn over and vice versa – keeping as much of the charted pattern intact as possible. But honestly I am not sure whether the extra mental backflips you’ll need to do for this option are really worth it!
The marker trick also works well if you are increasing in a stitch pattern, and want to work the new stitches into your pattern. You can place markers on the outside of your first and last pattern repeat, and then as soon as you have added another repeat’s worth of stitches on each side, you can move your markers and incorporate those additional repeats on each side.
Do you have any good tricks for decreasing or increasing in pattern? If so, please share in the comments!