My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


The Great Divide

I am about an inch away from the point on the front of my lace tunic where I divide the stitches for the v-neck.

Doing decreases for neck shaping in an all-over lace design is enough to give one the shakes. So I charted out my decreases using Excel. Here is the template I used:

(If you click on the picture you can make it bigger to see the detail.)

ETA: Ignore that extra decrease on the left side — that’s just an error — a stitch I neglected to erase from the chart in making the template.

I haven’t filled in the lace pattern on this template, but when I do, it will represent the center three repeats of the lace pattern I am using. The front of my sweater has an odd number of repeats, and the decreases extend beyond the number of stitches for the center repeat, hence three repeats are charted for the neckline chart.

The chart shows the right side rows only — I will be decreasing one stitch at each neck edge on every right side row. I have filled in those neck decreases. Now I just need to fill in the lace pattern. Having the decreases all charted out like this helps me figure out how far I can extend the lace pattern on each row. No fuss, no muss!

I don’t know about you, but I find it mildly annoying when I have a pattern that has a repeating motif that just tells you to decrease “x” number of stitches at the neck, adjusting the pattern to accommodate the decreases. I just don’t like to think that hard while I’m knitting. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lucy is currently not into thinking hard either.


  1. I definitely enjoy my knitting being while not exactly mindless at least relatively untaxing. I have a day job and other hobbies for when I want to make my brain work hard!

  2. That is insanely gorgeous!

  3. I love that you tell us how you do things like that. โ™ฅ

  4. Marietta says:

    So – – just for clarity – – on the 6th charted row from the top – Rt. side, there is a double decrease at the neck edge. Right? Is there 1 more st on that side to begin with? Just asking. I agree with you about patterns that give vague instructions in critical areas.
    One more question – do you know of a good app for Mac’s that allow knitting symbol charting?

  5. Lucy looks like she has done way too much thinking lately!

  6. “what would Lucy do?” is a good mantra!

  7. Maureen says:

    That is going to be gorgeous, especially with your hair.
    I have the same opinion about the “decrease x stitches evenly across the back” type of pattern. Don’t make me think,!
    I’m having a knee replacement in a month and am currently more concerned about what knitting to bring than I am about the surgery, or I’m just trying to ignore that part. I want something straightforward but interesting. It obviously can’t be too demanding since the pain killers will make me dopier than usual. I have a sock started from your first book, and I’ll bring that. I could do a hat for charity. No babies in the family, but, again, could do for charity. I’m buying your book as my treat, but will probably be too dopey to do lace.

    It’s always good to have one’s priorities straight.
    Wish I could bring my wheel.

  8. I love this lace pattern and the yarn color…I’ve always loved all the shade of green. With each of your postings on this sweater, I’m getting closer to wanting to try something like this…graphing my own lace pattern, etc.

    I totally agree about the decreasing x # of times…same with increasing. I’ve learned to graph out patterns to make my knitting easier while I’m watching TV or riding in the truck.

  9. i’m glad to know that pros have to chart out vague directions re: dec/inc in a lace pattern. i’m currently redoing, again, the Juneberry shawl (jaredFlood) because one row of the pattern throws me into a tizzy with the increases. i was beginning to think i was really stupid. i should have graphed it out the very first time. i’m trying to follow just the pattern directions. thanks for sharing a problem many of us probably have, but don’t want to admit!!

  10. I love the look so far of this tunic and can’t wait to see the finished version…lovely color too.

  11. Love how your sweater is coming along. I too hate when a pattern requires me to think too much. I did a sock out of a beginner book.. that said continue in pattern. Well… everything had shifted since the last repeat and nothing like trying to figure out what the heck happened there.. Loved the pattern when done.. Made notes on how to think less next time through.. but good grief!

  12. Jean Palionis says:

    Wendy, I enjoy your blog very much. I completed knitting my Summer Mystery Shawlette tonight. It turned out pretty but very small. I have to block it and the directions are with the instructions but… I have looked on the Ravelry site also and I do not find that you have posted any measurements for the Shawlette. Do you have some as a guide to let me know just how much I need to stretch this out? (approx?) The yarn I used was very good for my first try at lace. It is a verigated or self-striping yarn by Lion…that has some mohair and wool in it. The colors match up perfectly across the fronts…amazing!

    Thank you!!!

  13. Pam Beeching says:

    I so agree with your idea for charting decreases – it makes a fiddly decreasing job so much easier to avoid ‘artistic interpretations of fact’ in knitting (i.e. walking like Quasimodo for the life of the sweater because one side of the neck is two inches longer than the other!). Ages ago I downloaded your ‘knitting chart for Word’ and have used it time and time again for anything needing a bit of a mind boost. It’s been a blessing on many occasions when doing a colourwork sock that’s needed a decrease along the gussets and the instructions just happily say ‘decrease to x stitches every other row whilst maintaining the pattern’. I don’t think I’ve ever had the grace to thank you either, so ‘thank you’!


  14. I am one of those freaks who enjoy doing the math, planning the knitting in advance. That’s why I like designing so much.
    That lace is so pretty.

  15. Oooouuuuu…That’s going to be so beautiful! Can’t wait to see the finished project.

  16. Would also make a nice wrap.

  17. What a beautiful tunic. Love the pattern and color. Thank you for the great tip! I once made a herringbone vest for my father with the same instructions and the stitching along the edges turned out awful — your method would have come in handy then! I had to frog the whole thing and make something else.

  18. I’d just as soon have a chart than some vague inc/dec instruction, too. I believe I’ll invest in a good charting book; know of any?

  19. Robin F. says:

    I’m with you on detail charting. I’m at the point in my knitting where if a pattern doesn’t have a chart I make one. Love this new tunic- can’t wait to see the finished project.

  20. Certainly love the new project and what it takes to create a pattern, Lucy has the ideal solution – not for your pattern creation – for the weather — too hot to do anything but knit (and sleep)

  21. This lace tunic looks gorgeous, and happens to be just what I had in mind for some stash that’s been calling to me. Thank you for taking the time to chart it all out. I’m so daunted when it says just to adjust the pattern as you do the shaping. Maybe after I’ve done a couple of similar projects I’ll be up for that, but not yet!

  22. I love this project, the lacy edges are so pretty.

  23. Sherry Anderson says:

    You are a Genius! Thanks so much for sharing this!

  24. I’m loving your lacy tunic. Miss Lucy does look like she’s been over-worked.

  25. Lisa from w mass says:

    Thanks so much for the new lace book — it’s gorgeous! I don’t know what to knit first (or, more accurately, add to the queue first), but I’m having a wonderful time admiring the patterns. I do have some Jade Sapphire in the stash … so maybe a smoke ring or two would be a good start — when the weather cools down enough to knit something other than cotton! (No air conditioning here; my kitties want their fur unzipped, if only that were possible.)

  26. Oh, I know just what you mean about VAGUE directions. I encountered this for the first time thirty years ago (and still remember it vividly and painfully!) while knitting a scallopy lacey sweater for my sister. “Decrease x stitches while maintaining established pattern” INDEED. HMPH! I sat down one night (with drink close by), and charted out the rest of the pattern, and swore I would never again pay good money for a pattern that didn’t tell me how to do what I was paying someone to tell me how to do. I’m glad that I’m not the only one! Love your work, love your blog, love your Lucy. ๐Ÿ™‚ And speaking of Lucy, Lucy Neatby’s Social Network socks will jump onto my needles this weekend for Camp Loopy Project #2. Two color stranded cables…. woo-eee!