Don't Look Down

They say, in knitting, that you should always read pattern instructions from beginning to end to make sure you understand all techniques involved. In working for a yarn and pattern company, I have found this to be true even at an industry level.
The biggest complaint in the company office is that a knitter has not read the instructions thoroughly, and written in queries that could easily be resolved should they do their due diligence and read to the end. Had they read about the gauge they needed, they would have achieved the size they wanted. Had they read ahead, they would have learned to do the bust shaping at the same time as the armhole decreases. Etc.

Should've read ahead, kid
I am a firm believer in reading ahead. I do it in every pattern I start, to make sure I understand the techniques, to figure in whether or not I will have to cut the yarn at any point, to see if placing stitch markers around certain pattern stitches will make keeping track all the easier, to know if it is imperative that I count rows or not. There are several good and worthy reasons to read ahead. It pays to read ahead. Reading ahead is like taking your wallet when you leave the house--in order to get anywhere, you have to read ahead.

I think the Baby Surprise Jacket may be the exception. At least for me. I read ahead and had a little trouble breathing. Being that I'm working from The Opinionated Knitter, in which the pattern appears in 'pattern note' form (as opposed to clearly written, annotated line-by-line directions), it's slightly bemusing to read ahead. The notes refer to a piece of knitting you can look at because you're right there, having knitted it, but if you read ahead, it's like trying to imagine where the windows will go in a building you haven't yet built. Again, maybe it's just me, but I was utterly perplexed. And not just that; it made me anxious. Like Good lord how will I do this anxious.

So I had to stop, turn back, and simply cast on. Cast on how many stitches, Mrs. Zimmerman? Ok, you got it. Knit how many stitches, and then decrease where? Ok, you got it. Working line by line, it didn't seem so bad. Don't they always say you should live in the moment, and not the future?

Like walking a tightrope, sometimes you get further when you don't look down.


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