View Full Version : Even No. st Patterns - difference between multiples of 2 and multiples of 4 + 2

01-06-2011, 11:29 PM
Hello everyone. I just answered a post with the following, but I thought that I might post this as a reference for beginning knitters like me. I spent about 8 hours trying to figure out WHY my ribbing looked more like plain old garter stitch, and what I found out applies to a lot of other even numbered stitch patterns that alternate between knit and purl within the same row.

When I was first learning ribbing, I assumed that you always started with a knit and ended with a purl. I was working a pattern that was 34 stitches in 2x2 ribbing, and although I was following the directions correctly, I realized that although it was a multiple of 2 and an even number (which is what some stitch patterns call for instead of "multiple of 2"), it was also a multiple of 4 + 2 (32 stitches + 2 stitches). For anyone who might not know, a multiple of 4 + 2 (or any multiple of X + Y) means that 4 is multiplied as many times as you want the stitch to repeat, with 2 stitches added after it. You never multiply the second number following the plus sign, unless otherwise directed. If you're a math person, you would read it like this, when Z = the desired amount of times you want to repeat the stitch
(4 x Z) + 2

Now here's the difference between even numbers that are a multiple of 2 and even numbers that are a multiple of 4 + 2:

Any multiple of 4 + 2 would cause a pattern of pairs of knit and purl, plus a 1/2 pair.So, even though both a multiple of 2 stitches and a multiple of 4 + 2 stitches are even numbers, the multiple of 4 + 2 can throw off the intended pattern of knits and purls. Here's a visual chart of multiples of 2 versus multiples of 4 + 2:

K = knit p = purl

Multiple of 2 stitches (8 stitches)
KKppKKpp or KpKpKpKp - always ends in the opposite of the starting stitch

Multiple of 4 + 2 stitches (10 stitches)
KKppKKppKK or KpKpKpKpKp - only sometimes ends in the opposite of the starting stitch

So, here's a real-life example: if a ribbing pattern calls for 10 stitches {Multiple of 4 + 2; [(4 x 2) + 2]} and directs you to *knit 2, purl 2; *repeat from, this would cause you to knit the knits and purl the purls, when ribbing calls for knitting the purls and purling the knits. And it goes vice versa when your patterns directs you to purl the purls and knit the knits.

I'm going to tell you guys the same thing that I told the user that I originally posted this to - I am sorry if this explanation was unclear or if I lost you; I very well may not posses the ability to explain this in a clear and understandable manner. I absolutely hated math and did not understand it until I started knitting, so it's more than probable that I am incapable of accurately describing what I am trying to convey.

Anyways, I sure do hope that this IS in fact understandable, and that it helps someone! Happy knitting everyone :X:

01-06-2011, 11:31 PM
If anyone has a simpler way of explaining this (assuming I explained it correctly lol) please post it. I must have put my 13-year-old sister through hell the other day trying to explain it to her while teaching her ribbing lol.

01-06-2011, 11:46 PM
Lol, that's so funny! Your poor sister... The very simple way to put it for repeats is this: Some patterns will have you work a repeat, with a normal border of, say, two stitches on the end. It's not always a border, to say, but that's kind of a simplistic way of putting it. Sometimes, the pattern needs the extra stitches there for something... just depends on what it is. The repeat pattern would be the 4 (using your example), like a 2x2 ribbing. Two purl and two knit make up one group and that would be repeated as far as you need to for the item. You would do fewer repeats for a scarf than for a sweater. When it says 4+2 for the repeats, you ALWAYS add the 2 to the very end AFTER ALL the repeats. This is actually the same in crochet, as well. The 4 is the pattern you're building, with the extra being something the pattern calls for to make your item seem seamless (on a sweater, you would do an extra half so you don't end up with four knit or purl in a row when you seam it up) or there may be another reason.

01-06-2011, 11:56 PM
Ohhhhhhhhh, I see what you're saying. So if the pattern calls for a "border" of some sorts, it's usually because they're giving you room to seam it up?

That makes perfect sense, because I was making a pair of fingerless gloves that seamed at the side, and the pattern called for 34 stitches. The girl I responded to, however, had a pattern that only called for "an even number of stitches".

And sorry for the long and complicated explanation up there lol, your explanation was a lot easier (and better!) to understand. I'm going to school to become a scientist of some sort, I suppose I was subconsciously practicing my thesis-writing skills on you guys lol. I should probably apologize to my sister too lol. At least she's good at math.

01-07-2011, 12:00 AM
Lol, eh, she'll have to learn to deal with you... you're family, so it's until the end!! Apologizing would make her feel better, though... Yeah, sometimes, you have to take a step back and think of how you would describe something to someone who knows nothing.... I had several teachers in schools who went with the KISS method and usually, they said that meant Keep It Simple, Stupid but one did say Keep It Simple, Silly.

01-07-2011, 12:22 AM

Yeah, I think I'll stick with KISS; who knows, maybe one day I might get the chance to teach a class....Math 205: A Knitter's Perspective on Division and Distribution of Multiples lol.

I can only dream.

01-07-2011, 09:21 AM
Right, on a 2x2 rib pattern where the sts are 4+2, then one of the extra 2 k sts will be in the seam along with the first k st of the k2. So when it's seamed up it'll be k2, p2 all around instead of k1, p2, k2..... ending with p1.

05-17-2011, 01:03 AM
I read so many postings on multiple 4+2 its making my head hurt. but i still do not understand. I read your posting and when i thought i understood. i got lost again. I am knitting a sweater dress. It says that it requires 18sts and 24 rows

Then it says NOTE:
Since side panels are worked in garter st, pat is a multiple of 4+2 for balance

Heres the Instructions
Rnds 1-2:*K2, p2; rep from * around, end k2
Rnd 3:*RT,ps;rep from * around, end RT
Rnd 4: Rep rnd 1
Rep rnds 1-4 for pat

Row1 (RS): *K2,ps; rep from* across,end k2
Rows2-4: *P2,k2; rep from* across, end p2
Row 3: *RT, p2:repfrom* across, end RT
Rep rows 1-4 for pat

The pattern is just as you described with the multiple 4+2. KKPPKKPPKK

I'm just trying to figure out something. do I multiply the 18sts x 4 + 2.
do i follow the instructions and just do all the instructions 6x's which will give me the 24 rows.
do i multiply the number of rows/ rounds x 4+2 which already gives me the number of stitches 18.

Please help me understand very very clueless123.

05-17-2011, 06:17 AM
When directions say a multiple of 4 + 2 it refers to the number of sts across the row or the round. Your pattern directions are given for 18 sts so that is the 4 pattern sts times 4 and then the extra 2 or
(4x4) +2.
Telling you this helps if you need to increase or decrease the size of the knitted piece. You know that you need to alter the pattern by multiples of 4 sts, not for example, by just adding in 5 extra sts.
The length of the knitted piece is given by the number of rows (or often inches) that need to be completed. Your pattern is telling you 24 rows or rounds. That would be the 4 row repeat done 6 times. (It has nothing to do with the stitch repeat in this pattern.) I hope this helps.

05-17-2011, 08:58 AM
The 18 sts are a multiple of 4 plu 2 (4x4=16 + 2 = 18). The information is given so if you want to change the number of sts to make it smaller or larger you know how many you need for the stitch repeat.