A study in decreases; or, The hazards of learning mid-project.

I’ve got several projects on the needles right now which use decrease shaping – SnowDrop, the tesselating fish, and the Columns and Arches scarf. So, being the scholarly type, I’ve spent a few spare non-knitting moments reading about decreases in my knitting books and online. I like to know how things work.

Take SnowDrop – the snowdrop pattern is shaped with a sl1, k2 tog, psso decrease — this makes a nice left leaning double decrease which looks like this:
Left Leaning Decrease

Unfortunately for me, my curious mind can’t leave well enough alone. I’m reading up on decreases, and I come across instructions for a centered double decrease – slip 2 knitwise, knit one, pass the slipped stitches over. And I can’t help thinking “Wouldn’t the pointy bits in SnowDrop look neater if I used a centered decrease instead of a left leaning decrease?”

The centered double decrease looks like this:
Centered Double Decrease

Not so much of a difference on the drop part of the pattern, but I think it makes the little diamond look much much better.

Here’s how they look side by side – to make it easier to compare:
Decreases 2

So now I have this situation where I have a huge chunk of a shawl done with left leaning decreases in a pattern bit where I think a centered decrease looks better.

See what I mean about the hazards of learning mid project?
I can’t decide if I should

  1. keep what I’ve learned in mind for future projects, and just finish this one as written – possibly planning to knit it again the way I like.
  2. adjust how I am working the decreases for the rest of this project. This course is fraught with peril – I just know I’ll keep messing the decreases up because I’ve already memorized it one way.
  3. frog it and start over, rewriting the pattern key to work the way I want it too, so I can use the same pattern, but have the “correct” reference for the symbols.
  4. burn all my technique and reference books and take up something simple, like nuclear physics.

5 thoughts on “A study in decreases; or, The hazards of learning mid-project.

  1. Finish the shawl as written, and start a scarf with the same stitch pattern utilizing your changes. Then you can compare them and see how much of a difference it really makes on the finished project.

  2. Ooooohhhh, I vote for nuclear physics! Otherwise, I’d continue the pattern as written and remember the decreases for future use. Unless it bugged me. Then I’d rip it out. I guess not much help. Nuclear Physics.

  3. Dorothy, I think that’s what I am going to do — finish this one as written, and then do a second knit of the same (or a very similiar) pattern. It would be in character – so far, everything I have knit, I’ve knit twice.

    Kis*knit — *rofl* That is so exactly how I feel.

  4. take up nuclear physics! I second that vote. Thank you for the comments. I didn’t design the little kid sweater, but I am currently designing an adult sweater based upon what I’ve learned so far. I’ll update the blog when I get started! Thank you, Jennifer

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