Ever get half way through a pattern and get stuck because you don’t understand the instructions? This happened to me on my current project. I received some beautiful hand-painted sock yarn as a gift and started knitting a shawlette pattern (Larch). The shawl starts in garter stitch and ends with a charted lace section which you repeat once. As you complete the lace section you add stitches, so at the end of the lace chart, you have added 48 stitches to the total. I did not understand how to then repeat the lace chart from the beginning which was written for fewer stitches. These are the sources I used to get my answer this time, and with pattern problems in the past.
Ravelry is SUCH a valuable resource for pattern help. I had obtained this pattern as a free download from Ravelry. I first looked at the pattern page itself. There were several comments and questions from other knitters on this pattern, but I couldn’t find the answer to my specific question. I then turned to the project search and searched all the projects that had been completed for this pattern. I was hoping someone had recorded how to do the lace repeat in the notes section of their pattern. Because there is more than 1 pattern in Ravelry named Larch, there were over 1000 projects to sort through. I did read through some of the project pages to see if anyone had commented on the lace repeat , but did not find my answer. I then turned to a forum search on Ravelry for Larch. I again found several questions, but did not find my specific answer. I could have started a forum thread under the patterns section of Ravelry, but was able to find my answer before starting the thread.
2. Phone a friend
Often, another knitter will read or interpret a pattern in a different way. I always turn to my sister, who has a much broader scope of knitting experience. Using a free Ravelry pattern simplifies this process. My sister lives 1000 miles away. However, she was able to go on Ravelry and download the pattern for our discussion. At this point, she and I had developed a theory about the lace repeats but I was looking for confirmation before using my beautiful yarn on this section
3. The author’s website/blog
If the pattern author has a blog, their website can be a great source of pattern help. There may be comments and questions about the pattern that are addressed on the blog. Ultimately, I found my answer here. Another knitter had asked the same question and the author had answered it on her blog.
4. Your Local yarn store
If all else fails, you can inquire at your local yarn store. Many times, the employees are willing to help with simple pattern issues, especially if you buy your yarn there. My yarn store also has the opportunity to book a session with a “Knit Doctor”. There is a small fee for these sessions. I have only resorted to the knit Doctor on one occasion. It that instance, she figured out there was an error in the pattern and did not charge me for the session.
It can be very frustrating to get stuck on a pattern, but help is available. I almost always find I learn something valuable as well when I have to work through confusion with a pattern.