ROGUE – WHEN IS A POCKET NOT A POCKET?

When it exists as a flap, to be made into a pocket later.

Here’s my admittedly limited progress. While there’s not a lot on the needles, what you see here is the third iteration of my larval front pocket(s). Why third?

Because as usual I outsmarted myself.

I was trying to play elegant with the texture pattern, working it in as unperturbed as possible, in spite of the march of the ever-narrowing pocket edge. I was also trying to watch a movie with subtitles. Not a good combo, as I ended up losing track of which decrease/increase pairs had been eliminated, and which still existed. Twice. So after ample ripping back, some extreme driveway shoveling, yet another snow day with kids at home, I present the pocket flaps:

I really like the twisted rib edge as opposed to the garter stitch edge on these.

The problem I had is a common one. Faced with a texture stitch repeat and edge decreases, how does one go about reconciling them? For patterns that depend on increases and decreases to form the texture, this can be especially painful. It’s less painful though if you take the time to look and examine the pattern.

Most (but not all) textures maintain stitch count row to row. For those that do, and build their structure with increases and decreases there are usually equal numbers of each in each row. Yes, a minority of patterns (especially older patterns) alternate rows where increases and decreases happen, but for the most part, easy to knit texture patterns conform to this rule. If yours does, subtracting along an edge for a sloped pocket or armhole isn’t too tricky.

First, identify the pairs of increases and decreases. They should be near each other, although there is no requirement that they are adjacent. My chosen texture pattern is a 20 stitch bounce repeat, mirrored around the center column (stitch 11, and the first/last stitch). Each side of the symmetrical piece incorporates two increase/decrease pairs.

It’s relatively easy (or so I say now) to pare this down by five-stitch units. As my edge decreases infringe into my pattern repeat space, I eliminate the increase/decrease pair in the affected five-stitch unit, replacing any pattern shaping in it with plain old stockinette. I do need to keep track of where my repeats begin and end, then count back from the last full repeat to determine what needs to be happening on any partial slices between that full repeat and my rapidly encroaching pocket edge.

This sounds much harder than it actually is. Let’s say I was working in Little Dragon Skin and my garment pattern called for me to eliminate the stitches shown in yellow:

Instead of working the texture design’s increases and decreases as usual, I’d substitute plain old knits for the ones shown in blue. I’d eliminate the base pair on Row 2 because I know I’ll be trimming above it, and the directional distortion in starts will soon be lost. Then I’d kill the ssk decreases on rows #4, 6, 8, and 10 because I was also eliminating the make ones that offset the loss of those stitches.

There are other ways to do this. I tried to get cute, and leave the decreases in on the theory that I could move the stitches eliminated by the slope of the pocket edge over to those points by working them as normal but without their companion increases. What slipped me up is that the rate of decrease does not remain the same over the entire pocket edge. It speeds up a bit part way through, making a graceful curve. Computing in that curve, my texture pattern, drinking a glass of wine, and reading subtitles all at the same time didn’t mesh, and resulted in my re-workings and the object lesson here.

I repeat what I can see is becoming my knitting mantra:

"If you go about making life difficult for yourself, things ain’t gonna be easy."

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