As I mentioned before, I taught two classes this weekend at the DKC Winter Workshop. I had a great time, met some terrific new people, and spent some serious hours talking about knitting - an excellent way to spend the weekend.
The same topic came up in both of my classes - picking up stitches. It often does. It's one of those techniques that is not well understood, and many knitters simply don't feel confident about it. Like "block", it's a word that's often used in a pattern with no explanation, and it's not something you learn until you need it -- until you run straight into it, usually near the end of the first sweater project.
To confuse further, there are a couple of different ways of achieving the objective... Teresa gives an excellent tutorial on my method of choice here... In short, this method involves sticking a needle through the edge of the fabric, wrapping the yarn around the needle, and pulling it through to form a new stitch. Some knitters just grab a loop of the existing fabric, without requiring a working yarn. I don't generally recommend this second one, but I do know knitters who use it and produce satisfactory results.
Here's the problem: the terminology. Some designers and pattern writers - myself included - simply use the term "pick up" to describe the technique Teresa demonstrates. Others use the term "pick up and knit". I'd always treated them as synonyms. Some knitters don't.
We ran headlong into that in the Entrelac class. After all, Entrelac is all about picking up stitches. My written instructions say only "pick up". If you pick up using the second method, your working yarn doesn't travel with you. And the way I'd written out my instructions assumed that it did. Much lively discussion ensued.
(And of course, you could also interpret "pick up and knit" to mean a two step process: pick up the stitches using the second method, then knit across, which gets you to the same place, but rather oddly... )
I was left with the sense that using either version of the term wasn't clear enough.... I need to think about how to best explain and represent this in a pattern.