I started a new project this week, a sweater vest in a lovely Aran weight yarn. It is a plain vest pattern that I am knitting in a deep red, just the thing for brightening the winter days of January and February. It is knitted in the round from the bottom up. After knitting the bottom ribbing, I had to decrease stitches in the first stockinette round after the ribbing. I have calculated the spacing between decreases and increases by hand, but to be honest, now I use an app. It is easy to use and produces directions for evenly spaced decreases.
There are several Apps available for both Android and iPhones. I have three knitting apps and one quilting app on my phone and tablet. For example, Knitting Buddy2 keeps track of my projects, stores my measurements, needles, yarn, includes increase and decrease calculators, and interfaces with Instagram and Facebook. This all-purpose app also will sync with your other devices. The basic app is free, but upgrades are available. I use the free version. I also have the Knitting Genius app (free version). This app also includes a calculator for calculating increases and decreases, along with a swatch adapter, units converter (meters to yards and grams to ounces), needle size converter (UK to US), and a handy yarn converter for calculating the quantity of yarn needed for a project based on the size and weight of skeins in both meter/gram and yard measurements. It also has some basic video tutorials.
The app that I use most for calculating increases and decreases, however, is the Knitting Calculator. It is a very simple app with a calculator for increases and decreases. That is pretty much all it does, and I love the simplicity of it. Just enter the number of total stitches and the number of stitches to increase or decrease, click calculate, and you have your directions. Stitches are evenly spaced, so there is no distortion in the pattern.
If you do not want to use an app, you can find stitch calculators online. Try
If you want to compute the spacing for decreases on your own, there is some basic math required. I had 172 stitches and needed to decrease eight stitches evenly spaced ending up with a total of 164 stitches. Directions like this are common and can create a little bit of math stress for knitters. Common sense would dictate that you would take the total number of stitches (172) and divide by 8. That gives us 21.5. You cannot decrease a .5 stitch. So when decreasing round down to 21. This means that you will decrease eight times and end up with stitches leftover, and the spacing of the decreases might cause a distortion in the pattern. Below is a great tutorial by Very Pink Knits on how to calculate using pen and paper.
The next time you see decrease or increase stitches evenly on the next row or round, don’t panic. There is an app for that.