In my experience in teaching and helping other knitters I have come to the realization that a) there is a learning curve to becoming a good teacher and b) we, as a society, should be throwing money at good teachers, wherever we find them (note: I didn’t say I was one but I am always open to having money thrown at me). In any case, I have learned that reading is as essential a skill to knitters as it is to every learner. One of the most common questions we get asked in the store is “Can you tell me where I am? I lost my place”. With a little effort you need never ask that question again (however, we still value your visits).
Now we all like to get wrapped up in reading through patterns, conquering charts, and measuring gauges and these are all important “reading” skills for advancing in knitting. But truly the most important skill is learning how to read the knitting itself. This can be as basic as knowing when you are looking at a knit or a purl stitch or as complex as knowing that you should be twisting a cable or whether or not there should be a yarn over. It should become instinctual, so that when you pick your project up after a hiatus (and that hiatus can just be dinner or even a trip to the bathroom if you have as short a memory span as I do) you can look at your knitting and look at the chart or written directions you are using and know where you are. This will also help if you have a mistake, for example “Ooops, I should have a knit stitch over this purl stitch, let me read back across this row to see where I went wrong” or “I think I should be crossing a cable here so where is it?”
To take your reading to the next level, and this is especially true of cables and lacework, lay out your work and follow where your cables/yarn overs have occurred and when they will be coming up next. Simultaneously read the stitches you just did and the stitches you are about to do. You should also be aware of the rows below if you are in a more complicated pattern. It sounds like you need three pairs of eyes but really you don’t.
This all comes in time if you make the effort to learn as you go. Do not be a slave to just following the pattern blindly: READ what you are doing as you do it. Do a row and then stop and look at it, see where the stitches change up. If you are doing something in a pattern, stop every couple of inches to look at your work and figure out where you are without referring to your notes. I promise that eventually you will be doing this without even thinking about it.
Listen to Teacher and you’ll be graduating to the next level in no time.