Mastering “At the Same Time” Instructions

at the same time

Ready to master “at the same time” instructions? Read on!

For newer knitters, the phrase  “at the same time” often strikes fear into the heart. These dreaded words appear whenever two actions have to happen at once, such as shaping a neckline and an armhole at the same time. I think part of the fear comes from a distrust of our own knitting knowledge. That is going to change today, as I remind you that you know what you’re doing!

When you read “at the same time,” put the pattern down and breathe. Go grab a cup of tea, paper, different colored highlighters, and a pencil. The tea is to calm you—stay away from anything stronger, because you need to focus!


Working Example

We are referencing Dean’s Cardigan in the current edition of knitscene magazine.

  • Armhole shaping: Continue working in Stockinette stitch. At the beginning of each RS row, bind off 2 stitches. At the same time, K2tog 1 stitch before the end of the row at the neck edge. Continue working this pattern until armhole measures 6 inches.

Let’s tackle it like this: with different highlighter colors, highlight all the pieces of pertinent information in those instructions, as shown below:

  • Armhole shaping: Continue working in Stockinette stitch. At the beginning of each RS row, bind off 2 stitches. At the same time, K2tog 1 stitch before the end of the row at the neck edge. Continue working this pattern until armhole measures 6 inches.

Now in your mind or on paper, deconstruct these instructions:

RS: Knit. WS: Purl (stockinette stitch pattern).

At the beginning of the RS row, bind off 2 stitches.

K2tog 1 stitch before the end of the RS row.

With this deconstruction, you can easily distinguish what happens on right-side and wrong-side rows.

All the “action” happens on right-side rows:

RS: Bind off 2 stitches, Knit to 3 stitches before the end of the row, K2tog, Knit 1.

WS: Purl across.

Continue working in this pattern until the armhole measures 6 inches.


You can also  draw out a basic schematic of the pattern rows. If I’m binding off stitches at the armhole and decreasing stitches at the neck edge, my garment should look like this:

at the same time

 

Seeing it drawn out gives me a greater sense of confidence in following the instructions. If you can draw it, you can knit it.

Ready to master “at the same time” instructions? Check out the Dean’s Cardigan by Amy Gunderson or the Writer’s Top by Teresa Gregorio in knitscene Spring 2017.

—Gus Baxter
Assistant Editor, knitscene


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