I've been having a fascinating conversation with a knitter on Ravelry. My correspondent, the clever Patty-Joy, left a comment on my Bigger on the Inside pattern, suggesting a correction to the pattern.
I quote her comment here (emphasis hers):
"Another urgently needed pattern update is to indicate at the very start of the pattern that, unlike most knitters do, you must not slip the first stitch as if you do you won’t have nearly enough stitches to pick up the Tardis section."This surprised me enormously, I'll be honest.The section of the pattern she's referring to is charted, and there isn't a single slipped st in the chart. The first st of every row is worked in stocking stitch. I wouldn’t have thought, when writing the pattern, that I needed to make a note to not slip, since the instruction is specifically to knit (or purl) the stitch. And nowhere anywhere do I talk about slipping stitches.
What struck me was that Patty-Joy was suggesting, effectively, that knitters routinely ignore my chart...
Now, as a teacher and long-standing knitter, I'm well aware that there is a school of thought that you are to slip the first stitch of every row. But I didn't think that it was that common in practice.
As a designer, I only expect knitters to slip a stitch when I tell them to. And as a teacher, I tell knitters to only slip when the designer tells them to.(In general, IMHO, slipping the first stitch is only helpful or desirable in two situations: if the edges of the piece are going to be exposed, a slipped-stitch selvedge creates a nice edge; and in the heel of a top-down sock, slipping the first stitch of every row is used to help knitters figure out where to pick up stitches. It most other situations, it makes your life more difficult: I find it makes seaming harder, and it reduces the places to pick up stitches - applicable in this situation.) So yes, Patty-Joy's statement surprised me. It surprises me that knitters do slip that stitch in the face of instructions that tell them specifically to knit (or purl) it. Which causes me to wonder how many people do, as a matter of course, slip that first stitch? Do you?