Keeping track of shaping in your knitting

When I first began knitting I remember having a very hard time of keeping track of patterns where several different things are happening at once.

Maybe you are working a pattern with an eight row repeat, when you reach the armholes you need to decrease at the armhole and after a certain length you must also began neckline shaping.  How do you keep track of all of these things at once?  This is especially relevant if you tend to have several projects on the go together, so your project might be put down for a week or two and you will need to know where you left off.

I find the best way for me to keep track is to make out a chart.  If I’m being very organised I print a spreadsheet out (like below) but more often than not I just scribble a little chart on a sheet that I keep with the pattern.

This graph might give you an idea of what I mean.  This would be for a pattern with an 8 row pattern repeat (so I have 8 rows listed).  I always put in whether it starts on a RS or WS so I won’t forget.

Next I put in the different shaping with either different colors or symbols.  In this example I use green for the armhole shaping; decrease 1 st each end every row twice and then on every RS row 4 times.  You can see the green cells where you have your armhole decreases.

Next I also want to put in my neckline shaping.  In this case the neckline shaping starts when 4 rows of armhole shaping have been worked.  I’ve marked them with an X so they stand out and won’t be forgotten.

I always make out a quick chart like this before I begin shaping, that way I know how many increases or decreases I have worked and it is very easy to go and check that you stitch count is correct.  It only takes a few minutes but it can save you days of reknitting!

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