No One Told Me There'd Be Math, Part One

i am not a little obsessed with knitting these days.

i read knitting blogs now. and buy yarn without projects in mind. and shop for yarn bags. i see stitches in my sleep.

but but but. i am not a good knitter. a genuinely good knitter dives in to several projects and isn't afraid of frogging ("frogging" = "undoing," see what i'm learning?) a single project several times just to get it right. a genuinely good knitter experiments with patterns and tries things out and learns new stitches and has several projects going at once. and a genuinely good knitter sees this:

Next row K1, (k2tog, k6) 6 times, k2tog, k7 -51 sts

and thinks, ah yes.

i see that and have a more natural response. namely, "um."

so there i was, knitting at the laundromat, absolutely paralyzed. i put my knitting down and stared at the directions. up to now, knitting directions looked like this:

knit all rows

hum. so i look and think okay, K1 must mean knit one stitch. probably. and i can do that. but then what the fuck is the next part? it like this?

K1, (k2tog, k6) 6 times, k2tog, k7 -51 sts actually means 1 + (2 + 6)6 + 2 + 7 = x

and x = the number of stitches i was supposed to start out with. is that right?

but if i started with 58 then how could 1 + (2 + 6)6 + 2 + 7 = 66? plus, what if i started with 56 instead of 58 (which i did because clearly, i am at a stage where i can alter patterns...)

i had no idea if i was reading the directions properly anyway. maybe "(k2tog, k6) 6 times" means something entirely different since 66 makes no sense at all. 66??

it was at this point in the laundromat that a genuinely good knitter would just plow through and try it and see how it develops.

instead i'm me, so i put the needles away and waited until i could see MyBoss in person and have her explain how to read the directions. and count.


  1. K1, (k2tog, k6) 6 times, k2tog, k7 -51 sts actually means 1 + (2 + 6)6 + 2 + 7 = x

    Uhmm... the k2tog means Hmm.. you're kidding about the 66, right?

    Well, in case you aren't: "knit 2 together" takes 2 stitches and convert it into 1 stitch.

    So, when you finish the row, you nave

    1 + (1 + 6)* 6 +1 + 7 = 51

    You're supposed to end with 51. (And, amazingly enough, you have found a pattern that is not edited for brevity, or they wouldn't even tell you that.)

    .... not enough data provided to answer "what if I started with 56".

  2. hi lucia,

    thanks for your help! i did realize (see part two) that a big part of my problem is that i was multiplying incorrectly.

    i think i worked out the 2-fewer-stitch thing okay, though.

    nice lace dishcloth, btw!


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