Knitting Fancy: Stitch Primer

Fancy was the very first pattern to grab my attention of all the spring/summer previews. It is a deceptively intricate jumper knitted in Kidsilk Haze - I say 'deceptively' because once you twig how the stitch pattern works, the pattern is very straightforward. First of all, if you have knitted Laminaria, Echo Flowers or even Aurantium Blossom, then you will be more than comfortable knitting Fancy. Yes, boys and girls, this is an Estonian-style stitch pattern. Equally, if you are a relatively experienced crocheter as well as knitter, Fancy's stitch pattern will remind you quite a bit of making shells.

However, if you are neither a crocheter nor familiar with Estonian stitches, do not fret. It is just a matter of being able to read your knitting, feeling confident about dropping stitches and twigging when to do all those wrap-around the pattern asks you to do.

1) Get into a rhythm of counting 1-2-3-4-5. The stitch pattern is nothing more than a 6+1 pattern repeat and within that 6 stitch repeat you just need to count your cluster stitches. 1-2-3-4-5.

1a) On the second row of the pattern you will have a set of two purls right after one another. The first of these purls marks the end of your 6 stitch repeat and the second marks the beginning of your next repeat. Confused? I have a handy little graphic ready for you:

Fancy primer 1

(ETA: this graphic shows you how it looks from the right side. You'll be knitting this as a purl side, so either flip the graphic around in your head or read your knitting from the right side)

Basically you just need to remember your 1-2-3-4-5 rhythm. If you lose your way (which is easy on this row), you just need to look for your two purls side by side and you'll be as right as rain.

2) Once you have conquered that second row, you are laughing because what you have done so far will guide your way for the rest of the knit. On the third row you do your best Estonian needle dance - back and forth, back and forth - whilst count 1-2-3-4-5. I find it easiest if I match the placement of the wrap-arounds to the placement of the wrap-arounds on the second row. Cue another schmancy graphic!

fancy primer 2

I just find it easier to keep my place this way. Also, it'll help mirror your stitches neatly. At least that's what I tell myself.

3) And miraculously you are halfway through the stitch pattern around this stage. And this is where it gets really straightforward if you can read your knitting. Why? Here's why. The stitches line up!

fancy primer 3

As you can see, the next time you're doing your clusters, they'll line up on top of the previous rows in a manner that'll let you count 1-2-3-4-5. The third of your cluster stitches will be on top of that nice little stocking stitch line running below. Again, it's useful if you lose your way as you no longer have just the two purls side-by-side (as explained above) to keep you right: now you can also keep an eye on symmetry and make sure that you haven't inadvertently done six-stitch clusters etc.

And that is pretty much you sorted!

I would advise you to swatch the stitch pattern nigh obsessively in a non-sticky sportweight or DK yarn until you figure out how to do the stitches. Use correspondingly bigger needles as the cluster can be tight to work otherwise.

Final note on Fancy so far: I find that sizing does run large. I have gone down a size but you might find that going down a needle size works better for you.

Hope it helps prospective Fancy knitters. I'll post a proper photo of my progress so far later this week (no, the photo above is not my actual project).

Addendum: this is the nerdiest post I have ever written!