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Knit Pattern Repeats and Multiples

Within a row and within a pattern you may repeat stitches several times. These are written in repeats to make the pattern easier to read. If you find it difficult to follow along a pattern written this way, you can always take another piece of paper and write out every repeat yourself.

Repeats

One common method is to have an asterisk * somewhere in the row, and then instructions to repeat from the *. For example, you may have a row that is *K1, p1; repeat from * to end of row. In this case, you will knit one stitch, purl one stitch, knit one stitch, purl one stitch, and so on until you reach the end of the row. A similar version is *K1, p1; repeat from * to 3 stitches from end. In this case you will knit one stitch, purl one stitch, knit one stitch, purl one stitch until there are 3 stitches left on the left-hand needle. The pattern would then tell you what to do with the 3 stitches at the end.

You may also have parentheses ( ) and/or brackets [ ] in a row. If both are used, parentheses are within brackets. For example, (K2, p3) twice, then knit across would have you knit two stitches then purl three stitches, then repeat that to knit another two stitches then purl three stitches, before you knit the rest of the stitches in the row. [K2, (p3, k2) twice] three times would have you knit two stitches, then purl three stitches, knit two stitches, purl three stitches, knit two stitches, then knit two stitches, purl three stitches, knit two stitches, purl three stitches, knit two stitches, then knit two stitches, purl three stitches, knit two stitches, purl three stitches, knit two stitches. Can you see why these are abbreviated?

Stitch Patterns

On many knit projects there is one pattern that is repeated multiple times. These stitch patterns are especially common on projects with lace and cables, but may be found in any sort of project.

Pattern repeats are usually done over a specific number of stitches and a specific number of rows. The stitch patterns are usually given at the start of a pattern.

For example, in the Easy-Fit Beanie, there are two stitch patterns given before you cast on: 1x1 Rib and Broken Rib. You use the 1x1 Rib along the bottom of the hat, and the Broken Rib over the rest of the hat.

1x1 Rib (over even number of sts)
Row 1 (Right Side): *K1, p1; repeat from * to end of row.
Row 2: Knit the knit sts and purl the purl sts as they appear to end of row.
Repeat Row 2 for 1x1 Rib.

So after you cast on for this hat, you will knit one stitch and then purl one stitch all the way across the row. On the second row, you will knit all stitches that look like knit stitches and purl all stitches that look like purl stitches. Continue working this second row until the pattern calls for you to stop.

Broken Rib (over even number of sts)
Row 1 (Right Side): *K1, p1; repeat from * to end of row.
Row 2: Purl.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 for Broken Rib.

When the pattern indicates, you will switch to the Broken Rib pattern. For this pattern, you are also working over an even number of stitches. Row 1 is the same as Row 1 in the 1x1 Rib, but Row 2 is different. In this stitch pattern, you will be repeating Rows 1 and 2 instead of just Row 1.

Pattern Multiples

More complex patterns, including many cable patterns, will have you switch between stitch patterns within the same row. For example, in the Kid’s Cable Cardigan, you will work the Garter Ridge pattern once, then the Cable pattern several times, then end again with the Garter Ridge pattern once, all on the same row.

Many pattern repeats tell you how many stitches they require to work. These repeats are call multiples. Multiples are useful if you like the pattern stitch from one pattern and want to use it on another project. For example, you may like the pattern stitch on a sweater, and want to use it to make a scarf. Knowing the pattern multiple allows you to figure out how many stitches you need to cast on to make another project with that stitch pattern.

Some stitch patterns will just say that they are worked over an even number of stitches or over an odd number of stitches. To use one of these stitch patterns on another project, you would just need an even number of stitches or an odd number of stitches, following what the pattern says.

Other stitch patterns will give you a specific number of stitches that it takes to work the stitch pattern. In this case, you will need to cast on the number of stitches needed for the stitch pattern times a whole number. If the stitch pattern is worked over 9 stitches, for example, you can cast on 18 stitches (from 9 x 2), 27 (from 9 x 3), 81 (from 9 x 9) and so on. Sometimes the multiple for a pattern is given as one number plus another number. For example, it may need a multiple of 10 + 2. This means that it will require 10 stitches (or 20 stitches, or 30 stitches, etc.) plus an additional 2 stitches.

Below: LW4685 Kid's Cable Cardigan Free Knitting Pattern

Knit Pattern Repeats and Multiples