Knitting or crochet patterns can get kind of confusing if the designer writes the same direction over and over again, so sometimes we use the phrase “work even” to keep the pattern instructions as simple as possible. But what exactly does that mean?Simply put, “work even” is a short-hand way of seeing “just keep doing what you’ve been doing.”
At the most basic level, imagine you’re knitting a garter stitch scarf. A designer might say “work even in garter stitch until scarf measures 60 inches.” That just means that you’ll be working in garter stitch for the duration of the project.
All this means is that, once you’ve established the stripe sequence (which is also written out in the pattern) you’ll keep knitting the right side rows and purling the wrong side rows (you know this because it says “Work even in Stockinette Stitch”—St st is the abbreviation) until the back measures 15” from the beginning.
At the very end of Cameron, you’ll also see this phrase pop up after you’ve done the shaping for the sleeves (you’ve been increasing to make them wider to go over your upper arms). When the phrase “Work even” appears after a series of increases or decreases, it means to stop increasing or decreasing for shaping and simply work in your pattern stitch (in the case of Cameron, that’s stockinette stitch with the stripe sequence) until the piece measures the specified length.
That’s a pretty simple example. A slightly more complex one might be another free sweater knitting pattern, Carra. Knit in Berroco Modern Cotton™, Carra has you work a few different stitch patterns from charts at the same time. The first time you see “work even” in Carra comes just after you’ve set up the charts.
Row 1 had you start the two charts, referring to Row 1 of both Chart A and Chart B. Row 2 has you working the wrong side, purling to your chart markers, then working Row 2 of each chart, then purling some more. After that, it says “Work even in pat (pattern) as established.” This means that you’ll continue working the sides of the sweater in stockinette stitch (knit on the right side, purl on the wrong side), then work the chart rows in their order. So on Row 3, you’ll work Row 3 of each chart, and on and on. The tricky part here is that Chart B has 8 rows and Chart A has 10 rows. So when you get to row 9 (which would be a right-side row), you’ll knit to your first marker, then work Row 1 of Chart B, work Row 9 of Chart A, then work Row 1 of Chart B again. We’ll have another blog post about managing charts with different row counts, but until then, this blog post may help you keep track of your rows.
You can come across this phrasing in crochet patterns as well. Spiaggia is a sweet crocheted bag made with Berroco Medina™, and we recently had customer question about the phrase “work even” in this pattern. It works the same way as it does in a knitting pattern—it just means to keep doing what you’ve been doing. So when it says to “Work even in sc (single crochet),” it just means that you will simple work a single crochet stitch over and over as you build up the sides of the bag (or the fabric of your project).
If you want to easily see this in action, Paruma is a free crochet sweater pattern made with Berroco Mykonos®. Like Cameron, the instruction “Work even” in Paruma is simply letting you know that you’ll need to keep working the stripe sequence that you’ve already been working until the armholes for the piece measure a specific length.