21 November 2006

Duchrow 73/6

Don't ask me why, but "knitted lace" is a term usually reserved for patterns with lace patterning in every row or round, while "lace knitting" can refer to lace patterns with plain rows/rounds in between the pattern rows/rounds.

You can sometimes tell the two apart by looking at the yarn overs in a piece. In a typical "lace knitting" pattern, the yarn overs are followed by a plain round of knit stitches, so there are holes defined by two threads twisted together (one thread is the yarn over, the other thread is the knit stitch above it).

"Lace knitting":

However, in a "knitted lace" pattern, the yarn overs aren't always followed by knit stitches, so the holes are defined by single threads.

"Knitted lace":

This particular knitted lace pattern is a traditional Shetland lace pattern called "Bird's Eye" or "Spider Lace." It's in more than one stitch pattern book, I'm sure; if you've got Heirloom Knitting by Sharon Miller, see page 132. Sharon Miller notes that it doesn't really look like it's a knitted pattern. I've always been fascinated by it for that reason, but I hadn't had an excuse to knit it up until a tiny picture in one of the Christine Duchrow books caught my eye. Two days later, I completed this doily:

Pattern: Pattern 6 from Christine Duchrow leaflet #73 (reprinted in The Knitted Lace Patterns of Christine Duchrow, Volume III by Lacis)
Thread: Cordonnet 40 crochet cotton
Needles: 2 mm

Part of the fun for me in knitting this doily was bringing to life a piece from a weird old photo that may have been overlooked for decades. It's also the first piece I've made following an original Christine Duchrow leaflet.

The other part of the fun of course was the pleasure of seeing the bird's eye pattern unfold. It's a small stitch repeat and not difficult to work in the round despite yarn overs in every round. This stitch pattern in a piece worked back and forth is probably a bit trickier to make. (I've since noticed that the other Christine Duchrow pattern I've knitted, Egeblad, also features a stitch pattern in its outer rounds that is considered a traditional Shetland lace pattern: print o' the wave.)

This doily isn't the most ingeniously designed I've seen. The center eight-pointed star pattern simply ends with several plain rounds, then the bird's eye pattern starts after that without a connection to the center pattern. In fact, bird's eye is not even repeated by a multiple of eight times around the doily—it's repeated 28 times around. At first, just going by the number of stitches to work in the chart, I thought there might be an error in the pattern, but it was simply a matter of realizing that the bird's eye repeats weren't going to line up neatly over the repeats of the center star.

As it turned out, this particular pattern did not have any true errors as far as I could tell but there were definitely some quirks and potential pitfalls which I've been trying to document in some notes. Stay tuned for "German Knitting Patterns, part 3: Christine Duchrow," which I hope will be coming soon to the blog!

Yeah, I intend to reblock this doily at some point. It has an excessive number of crochet loops (meaning: many, many pins crowded together!) so I just focused on pulling and opening up the lace during the first blocking without worrying about making perfectly neat crochet loops. Next time, I'll just moisten it slightly, and I'll be able to pin it out again more evenly since I won't have to pull hard on the piece then.

19 November 2006

Erich Engeln 7F

Pattern: "F" from Erich Engeln leaflet #7
Thread: Cordonnet 60 crochet cotton
Needles: 1.5 mm

This doily is my first one using thread and needles this fine. I chose this design because not knowing how well I'd do with size 60 thread, I didn't want to get too tripped up by the stitch-making (it mostly uses only yos and the usual left, right, and double decreases). It was also designed with three possible stopping rounds, so if I decided I couldn't stand knitting it, I could have bailed out early with a tiny doily featuring only the center star. I ended up knitting the full pattern.

With my other projects on 2 mm needles, I usually have no problems at all starting with a circular cast-on on 6-inch bamboo dpns, which are light and easy for me to manuever. However, the 1.5 mm needles I have are 8-inch metal double points and two 24-inch circulars (Inox "greys"). Starting this doily on the long, heavy dpns was tricky. During the earliest rounds, none of the needles would stay in place in the stitches by themselves, so I had to hold onto all of them. Every time I switched dpns, I had to put the entire work down and carefully pick it up again in the new orientation. Eventually there were enough stitches on the needles to keep things together, but then I just put the work on two circs because the needles still felt heavy and awkward. I would probably just cast on directly onto the two circs next time—I only grabbed the dpns first this time because I hadn't anticipated the problems.

To my knowledge, there are only two companies that produce 1.5 mm circular needles: Inox and Addi. I don't have the Addi version to compare, but I can say that the Inox ones are pretty good. I don't love the cables of regular-sized grey Inox needles, but in the 1.5 mm needles, the plastic cable is extra thin and quite flexible.

Once I was knitting the project with the circular needles, it really didn't feel much different from knitting with my usual Cebelia 30 thread. The Cebelia 30 felt, surprisingly, a little bit "fat" when I switched back and forth between knitting this doily and the final rounds of Weintrauben, but otherwise my ability to make and see the stitches was pretty much the same.

Of course, this piece is smaller than others I've knit with about the same number of rounds. This pattern was 76 rounds and the finished doily is less than 9 inches across.

However, I am very fond of the fineness of this doily compared to my usual Cebelia 30 doilies and could see Cordonnet 60 becoming my new favorite thread, except I'd hate not being able to use my favorite needle types with it (Crystal Palace bamboo dpns and Knitpicks circulars)! I plan to try knitting a small doily with the rest of my first ball of Cordonnet 60 using 2 mm needles instead, as an experiment in gauge and stitch size. Maybe I can still have my cake and eat it too. The stitches in this doily are somewhat densely packed and could have been more open; Cordonnet 60 might just work better with a larger needle for me.

I also currently have size 80 and size 100 Cordonnet thread and even finer needles on order. Although at some point I might have to use dpns throughout the project because circulars smaller than 1.5 mm don't exist, the smaller dpns will at least be lighter than the 1.5 mm dpns. And, based on this experiment with size 60/1.5 mm, it looks like I might be able to use 1.5 mm circulars with size 80 thread if not size 100.

13 November 2006

Doily math, part 3

No, no, don't run away! This math stuff comes in handy, I swear!

Laritza asked how much thread I used for Weintrauben. This pattern wasn't that big—it was 130 rounds. I used only one ball of Cebelia 30, which is about 560 yards per ball. I had a small amount left over, enough that I was never nervous about running out at the end, but I doubt I would tempt fate and start a 140-round pattern with only one ball on hand.

Now I have a personal benchmark for knitting with Cebelia 30. According to all that stuff that got worked out in Doily Math Part 1 and Part 2, it should take four times as much thread to knit a pattern with twice the number of rounds.

Whoa, whoa, slow down. Where did that come from?

Hmmm. There's a reason why I'm not a math teacher. Let me see if I can just boil it down to an easy-to-use general formula.

Let's say you know how many rounds you can knit with one ball of some thread before running out. (I strongly suggest subtracting say, 4 or 5 rounds from this number, just to give yourself some room for error and because you will need extra thread to crochet off the doily at the end.)

  • The estimated number of rounds you will be able to knit =

    √(number of balls you have * (the number of rounds you can knit with one ball)²)
In case the math symbols are hard to read: square the number of rounds you can knit with one ball, then multiply that result by the number of balls, then take the square root of the whole thing. That's how many rounds you can get out of the balls of thread you have.

Note that the above formula works with fractions of balls too (i.e., number of balls you have can equal .5 or 1.5 or whatever). If I can knit one 130-round pattern with one ball of Cebelia 30, according to the formula, I should be able to knit one 90-round doily out of half of one ball. (Since I'd never know if I have exactly half of a ball, what this really means is that I can get two 90-round doilies out of one new ball.)

Ok, I'm done with boring math stuff for now. Knit on!

12 November 2006

Burda 198/16: "Weintrauben" by Herbert Niebling

Fresh off the needles and crochet hook:


The finished result:

Pattern: Pattern #16, "Weintrauben," from Burda Special 198 ("Wine Grapes")
Thread: Cebelia 30 crochet cotton
Needles: 2 mm

This table center (it averages about 21 inches across, so I think it's a little big to be called a doily, yet it's not a tablecloth) was designed by Herbert Niebling, and he's given credit for the design in Burda 198. Sadly, doily designers don't always get credited in publications. Burda 554/5 and 554/6 were uncredited. Either the names of designers are really lost to history, or equally unfortunately, the publishers of doily patterns don't care about giving credit where credit is due when they could do so.

Some of Niebling's designs feature botanical motifs on a hexagonal mesh lace background. Not all of them, but these designs are the ones knitters tend to identify most with Niebling. (Well, the knitters who give a hoot about doilies, anwyay!) Burda 418/50, the nameless doily with the little oak leaves, was designed by Niebling too. Although the leaves are differently shaped, the lobes in the leaves in both 418/50 and Weintrauben are formed in the same way, using [yo, k1-p1 into the same stitch, yo] to make the spaces between the lobes, and [k2tog, k1, s1-k1-psso] followed by k3tog in the next pattern round to finish off each lobe tip.

Weintrauben was a fascinating pattern to knit. It has six large sections, which means that the stitch repeat was huge. My eyes didn't wander from the chart too much—there was no blindly getting into a rhythm of repeating stitches here except in the final rounds of the border. The "grapes" are formed by an ingenious combination of many different types of stitches: make 1, k1tbl, k1-p1 into the same stitch, k6tog (which I executed as sl3-k3tog-psso), and 1x1 crossed stitches (which adds a bit of a 3-d texture to each grape!). On top of it all, the grapes are arranged in a staggered fashion through the "bunch"—each round you are working through different grapes at different stages. In the same round, you may be finishing off the top of one grape located in the center of bunch while working the middles of grapes located at the outside of the bunch.

The hexagonal mesh is not unique to Niebling patterns (see Engeln 17D). It's a basic lace "ground" pattern basically formed by a double yarn over, usually followed by k1-p1 into the double yo in the next round. However, I find knitting k1-k1tbl into the double yo much faster for me (I knit English-style, throwing the yarn with my right index finger). The overall holes are also smaller when k1-k1tbl is used instead of k1-p1, because the k1tbl twists a part of the double yo thread and pulls it in, while k1-p1 wraps itself over and under the double yo thread. I think hexagonal mesh using k1-p1 results in a more open and slightly neater appearance, which I also like, but there is a definite trade off for me in terms of additional time and effort.

I also decided on k1-k1tbl mesh for this pattern because when I examined the photograph in Burda 198 before casting on, it vaguely looked to me like the cloth was pulled a little too taut in the rounds near the top of the grape bunch. If it was in fact taut there, there may have been too few stitches for being that distance from the center. Since the center of the doily is all hex mesh and k1-k1tbl would make the mesh smaller overall, I thought I could maybe avoid any tightness around the top of the grape bunch by ensuring that the whole pattern of grapes would be closer to the center. So, I just made the decision to start knitting the pattern using k1-k1tbl.

Since I was never certain that the original sample was flawed, my cloth may have been fine with k1-p1 mesh after all. In fact, right after taking it off the needles, I was afraid that I had made a huge mistake by possibly overcorrecting the issue (which would have given me a loosely ruffled cloth). To my relief, it easily blocked out flat without any problems.

Coming soon

Even before I had cast on Weintrauben, I had knit up to the 90th round of this cloth, which will be even larger than Weintrauben:

That's a cone of 40/2 linen mounted for easy dispensing on a straight knitting needle in a modified shoe box.

Knowing too much about "doily math" can be a dangerous thing, since according to my calculations I am only 44% done. But other than the thought of having to work a lot of hexagonal mesh using k1-p1 this time, I am looking forward to finishing it. The pattern is not explicitly credited to Niebling, but I can definitely at least say it is in the same style. Huge leaves over mesh. More details when I am done.

Yes, the next big thing on my blog is going to be yet another table center/doily. I realize doilies don't get as much love in the online lace knitting world as shawls, but I'm trying to make up for some of that with my blog here.

10 November 2006

Knitting a German doily pattern, part 2: Erich Engeln patterns

Erich Engeln leaflets are still available and are a fabulous source of lace patterns. I have noticed that there are plenty of patterns in those infamously hard to get out-of-print German lace knitting magazines that are actually Engeln patterns. The more current magazines may showcase the doilies in lovely color pictures that are more attractive than the somewhat murky black and white covers of the leaflets, but hey, the patterns are the same. For the price of one book, you can pick and choose a nice selection of them and have your own custom Engeln lace knitting pattern portfolio with exactly the patterns that appeal to you the most.

First, see Knitting a German doily pattern, part 1. The same stuff applies in terms of deciphering the chart symbols, since it's still a matter of translating German knitting terms into English. The charts in an Engeln leaflet are a little harder on my eyes and brain than others, but only because in an Engeln leaflet, the chart symbols are capital letters, instead of abstract shapes or lines. Also, the charts don't always make good use of the "no stitch" blank spaces used in modern charts that help the other stitches line up clearly in the chart, but overall they are not badly laid out.


Each leaflet is four pages. The cover includes pictures of all of the patterns, and the back page has the chart symbol key and other instructions. The middle two pages contain the charts. Many of the leaflets feature doilies having the same center motif extended to several different sizes which share a common chart. For example, in this pattern, you knit the center beginning from round 1 and then you can follow the crocheting-off notes after round 56 for doily "E" or ignore the crochet and continue through to crocheting off after round 76 for doily "D." It's pretty obvious which chart corresponds to which doily pattern.

I've deliberately chosen to show only a section of the pattern, but I hope this picture will also show you its hand-drawn yet neatly presented appearance. In my opinion, the symbols themselves are clearly distinguishable and just as readable as the ones I've seen in modern magazines and books. It's mostly a matter of wrapping your head around the different characters. As you can also see, the charts also clearly indicate how to crochet off the doily after knitting one more plain round after the last pattern round—the numbers below the arcs indicate how many stitches to group, the numbers above indiate how many stitches to chain between groups. Near round 1 of each chart, the patterns also indicate "X Maschen Anschlag" ("cast on X stitches").

Quick summary of chart symbols specific to Engeln leaflets with English translation

Engeln chart symbolEnglish
Rknit 1
Lpurl 1
Aslip 1 purlwise
Vknit 1 through the back loop
Üslip 1-knit 1-pass slipped stitch over
Zknit 2 together
Iyarn over
2(knit 1, purl 1) into the same stitch
[black triangle]slip 1-knit 2 together-pass slipped stitch over
[black square]slip 2-knit 2 together-pass 2 slipped stitches over

In an Engeln pattern, there are also two symbols (+ and •) that might appear in the chart next to the round number to indicate shifting the pattern. (The picture above shows a few rounds with + symbols.)

+ Before the beginning of the round, slip the first stitch from left needle to right needle to shift the beginning of the pattern (if there are multiple +++ symbols, slip that many stitches).

• Before the beginning of the round, slip the last stitch worked from right needle to left needle to shift the beginning of the pattern (if there are multiple ••• symbols, slip that many stitches). You can also stop working the last round short of the number stitches indicated, instead of working them and slipping them back to the left needle.

Not every pattern will include every one of these different stitches, of course. This list is based on looking at symbol keys from multiple leaflets. (I should note that I don't have a complete set as I personally didn't want to buy them all at once, but I have been collecting them gradually.)

The most awkward things for me are yarn over being an "I" instead of a circle and the mirrored decreases k2tog and sl1-k1-psso being "Z" and "Ü" instead of more intuitive slanting lines or triangles (/ and \). However, the symbols are not as randomly chosen as they may seem to a non-German knitter—they are based on abbreviations for German knitting terms. For example, "Z" is knit 2 together because "zusammenstricken" is German for "knitting together." As I get more used to German knitting terms, I remember these abbreviations more easily and Engeln charts become a little more intuitive.

If you've been able to get used to reading any other chart for a previous lace project, you can handle this. If you have been wary of Engeln leaflets because you have seen how sketchy the Christine Duchrow reprints are, rest assured that the Engeln leaflets are vastly superior in terms of legibility and organization. I highly recommend them to anyone wanting to take some first steps into the world of foreign lace patterns.

Knitting a German doily pattern, part 1: German knitting translations

There are many doily patterns available in English, including Marianne Kinzel’s first and second books, Gloria Penning’s six books, and Knitted Lace by Sonja Esbensen and Anna Rasmussen. A doily-obsessed knitter could get along quite well working from those books alone. However, there are also many interesting patterns that are only available in German. I have a sneaking suspicion that there are knitters who have German lace patterns, or even collect them, but have never knit from one. I was one of those people for a long time! However, I think it’s getting easier and easier for me with every doily I’ve worked. It's not hard to work out a charted German lace knitting pattern—there isn't that much text.

Note #1: There’s a knitter’s dictionary called Knitting Languages by Margaret Heathman. I have the first edition; perhaps the second edition is better. For me, its usefulness was limited and could only give me a start with translating a few terms in lace patterns. I put together the information in this post mainly by correlating many different German publications with some English-language Burda publications and my own knitting experience.

Note #2: This guide is primarily designed as a guide to German lace knitting patterns, which are almost always largely based on a chart. I can't necessarily help you to decipher, say, written-out German instructions for knitting a short-row sock heel, because I can't actually read larger sections of German text.

Note #3: Don't forget that there are awesome groups on the web like Laceknitters on Yahoo Groups that have knowledgeable members from around the world who are always willing to help with translations (as well as all kinds of other lace knitting issues!).

We'll start with patterns for knitting a basic doily or tablecloth in the round that is essentially a circle or a regular polygon knitted from a point in the center (not an oval, oblong, or rectangle). Ok, I'm assuming that if you are interested in working out how to read German doily patterns, you have knit at least one before from a pattern in a language that you did know how to read. So, you probably already know that the instructions for a round doily almost always go something like this:

1) Cast on X number of stitches in the round. Divide stitches onto dpns, etc.
2) Follow the chart. All rounds that are not spelled out on the chart, knit around.
3) Make sure you have knit one more plain round after the last pattern round, then cast off by grouping the stitches with single crochet and making crochet chains of Y number of stitches between them. Block.

The trick is to simply work out the key to symbols in the chart. First, the basics:

1 Umschlag = yarn over
1 Masche rechts = knit 1
1 Masche links = purl 1
1 Masche rechts verschränkt = knit 1 through the back loop
2 Maschen rechts zusammenstricken = knit 2 together
1 Masche abheben, die folge Masche rechts stricken, die abgehobene Masche darüberziehen = slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over

From the above, you can also see that:

Masche or Maschen refers to "stitch" or "stitches" in general
rechts refers to "knit stitch"
links refers to "purl stitch"
verschränkt refers to "through the back loop"
zusammenstricken refers to "together"
abheben refers to "slip"
die abgehobene Masche darüberziehen refers to "pass slipped stitch over"

If you are aware of just these basic terms, you can work out more. For example, take a guess at "1 Masche abheben, 2 Maschen rechts zusammenstricken, die abgehobene Masche darüberziehen." It's slip 1, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over. Or how about this abbreviation: "1 M. re." It's 1 Masche rechts, or knit 1.

Here is a more complete list. It's a work in progress, and I'll be adding to it from time to time. Right now, I’m focusing only on the most common stitches in lace knitting—like yarn overs and decreases. I might cover other stitches like cables later.

If you find errors or have other concerns, please, please leave comments!

German-English Knitting Translations

German knitting terms (with alternate text)German abbreviationsEnglish knitting terms
1 Masche rechts (1 Masche rechts stricken) 1 M. rechts/1 M. re.knit 1
1 Masche links (1 Masche links stricken)1 M. links/1 M. li.purl 1
1 Masche rechts verschränkt (1 Masche rechts verdreht stricken indem man sie von inhrer Mitte nach hinten hin abstrickt)-knit 1
through the back loop
1 Masche links verschränkt-purl 1 through the back loop
1 Umschlag1 U.1 yarn over
2 Maschen rechts zusammenstricken (2 Maschen rechts zu einer Masche zusammenstricken)2 M. r. zusammenstr/2 M. r. zusstr.knit 2 together
1 Masche abheben, die folge Masche rechts stricken, und die abgehobene Masche darüberziehen (1 Masche abheben, dann 1
Masche rechts stricken, und die abgehobene Masche überziehen
-slip 1-knit 1-pass slipped stitch over
2 Maschen rechts verschrankt zusammenstricken-knit 2 together through the back loops
3 Masche rechts zusammenstricken3 M. r. zusammenstr.knit 3 together
1 Masche abheben, 2 Maschen rechts zusammenstricken, die abgehobene Masche darüberziehen (1 Masche abheben, dann 2 Maschen rechts zusammenstricken und die abgehobene Masche über diese zusammengestrickte Masche ziehen)1 M. abheben, 2 M. rechts zusammenstr., die abgehobene M. darüberziehenslip 1-knit 2 together-pass slipped stitch over
2 Maschen abheben, dann 2 Maschen rechts zusammenstriken und die 2 abgehobenen Maschen über die zusammengestrickte Masche ziehen-slip 2-knit 2 together-pass 2 slipped stitches
1 Masche rechts verschränkt aus dem Masche-Querdraht herausstricken-make 1 by lifting the thread between two stitches and knitting it through the back loop
aus 1 Masche, 2 Maschen stricken [1 Masche rechts, 1 Masche links]-[knit 1, purl 1] into the same stitch
1 Masche wie zum Linksstricken abheben-slip 1 purlwise
1 Masche wie zum
Rechtstricken abheben
-slip 1 knitwise
x Maschen
x M. anschl.cast on x stitches
x Lftm./x Lm.x-stitch crochet chain

In any language, there are always several ways of saying the exact same thing, and so your German knitting pattern might not use these exact same words. I have tried to provide some alternate German wording as well as possible abbreviations for some of the terms.

Note that for now I have deliberately not matched up these knitting terms to any specific list of symbols from a German publication (like an Anna/Burda magazine, or a Diana/Lea magazine). In my opinion, if you want to really want to get into the multitude of German lace knitting patterns out there, it's best to learn to recognize the actual knitting words that will appear in all of these publications regardless of the symbols used. Soon, you will be able to pick up any German knitting chart key and be able to at least work out the basic stitches from memory. Also, in order to have a better shot at understanding abbreviations you may encounter in German patterns, you should be familiar with what the words might be. If you've never seen "1 Masche rechts" before, it can be difficult to get what "1 M re" is since you can't look up that term in a dictionary.

Special situations in lace knitting patterns

Casting on and crocheting off

GermanGerman abbreviationsEnglish
x Maschen
x M. anschl.cast on x stitches
x Lftm./x Lm.x-stitch crochet chain

Instructions for casting on will either appear near the beginning rounds of the chart or in the notes to the pattern—look for “anschlag.” At the end of the pattern notes, look for “Luftmaschen” or numbers above the final round of the chart. In an Engeln pattern, for example, there are two rows of numbers of above the final round—the lower numbers are how many stitches to group with single crochet, the upper numbers are how many stitches to chain in between groups. It also helps to know that “häkeln” means “crochet” (and “stricken” means “knitting”).

Making stitches into multiple yarn overs

Multiple yarnovers (such as [yo]x3) in a pattern round are usually treated on the following round by either working [knit 1, purl 1, alternating] or [knit 1, knit 1 through the back loop, alternating] into the multiple yarnover. The number of stitches worked into the yarnover varies depending on the lace pattern and is not always the same as the number of yarnovers made. For example, a pattern might say: [yo]x3 in one round, then work [k1, p1, k1, p1, k1] into the yos in the following round.

There are several ways to describe this situation in a pattern. One is to simply show multiple yarn over symbols in the pattern round, then explicitly spell out the next plain round in the chart with [k1, p1] or [k1, k1tbl] symbols where necessary above the yarn over symbols. Another way is to provide special written instructions in the accompanying text (e.g., "In round 54, make 12 stitches into the yarnovers by alternating k1, k1tbl”). Other times, a chart will have a big complex-looking symbol in a pattern round that represents a multiple yarn over and the stitches made into it on the next round (e.g., in the symbol key, you might see “Yarn over 3 times and in the next round, make 18 stitches into the yarn overs by alternating k1, p1”).

I can't list every possible example here, but the key is to figure out how the pattern you have describes what to do about multiple yarn overs, and then from the following translations you should be able work out much of what is specified.

GermanGerman abbreviationsEnglish
UmschlagU.yarn over
1 Masche rechts, 1 Masche links1 M. re., 1 M. li/rechts-links/r.-l.knit 1, purl 1
1 Masche rechts, 1 Masche rechts verschränkt1 M. re., 1 M. re verschränktknit 1, knit 1 through the back loop
folge Rundefolg. Rd.next round

Shifting the beginning of the round left or right

Sometimes in the chart, a symbol will appear next to the round number indicating to shift the start of the rounds by a certain number of stitches right or left. The symbol will either include a number (such as “3 Mv” in Burda patterns) or be repeated for how many stitches (such as “+++” in Engeln patterns).

There are different ways to describe this situation in a symbol key, so it can be hard to see exactly which symbol means shift right and which symbol means shift left. Some examples from Burda and Engeln publications:

Before the beginning of the round, slip the first stitch from left needle to right needle (or knit an additional stitch) to shift the beginning of the pattern to the left:
Burda: nach dem Ende der Zwischenrunde die Zwischen runde eine Masche weiter stricken
Engeln: vor einer Runde bedeutet, daβ die erste Masche der Runde auf die vorhergehende Nadel abgestrickt wird

Before the beginning of the round, slip the last stitch from the right needle to the left needle (or don’t work the last stitch) to shift the beginning of the pattern to the right:
Burda: die Zwischenrunde 1 Masche vor dem Schluβ der Runde beenden
Engeln: die letzte Masche der vorhergehenden Runde auf die nächste Nadel herübergehoben wird

If you haven’t been able to work out the exact translation, just look at your knitting to see which direction to shift makes more sense.

Columns of twisted or purled stitches

The pattern notes might further indicate is what do to in the plain rounds when the pattern rounds make a column of twisted stitches, purls, 1x1 crossed stitches, etc. The middle vein through a lace leaf shape, for example, might be column of twisted stitches in the pattern rounds. Well, I would just keep doing whatever the stitch is in the intervening plain rounds (twist the twisted stitches, purl the purled stitches, etc), no matter what it said in the notes (gasp!!). I think I have encountered instructions in German patterns that do specify maintaining twisted stitches in plain rounds, but until I am certain, I don’t have examples to list here right now.

Pattern repeats

Sometimes the text will also note something like "From rounds 1-52, the chart is repeated 5 times in each round. From rounds 53-76, the chart is repeated 10 times in each round." Think of a doily having ten petal shapes repeated in the center which grow into twenty leaf shapes repeated around the outer perimeter (hint: see Egeblad!). As you can probably see, this information isn't critical to knitting the doily, since the way the pattern repeats itself around the doily is usually evident as you knit the pattern (or, just look at the picture of the finished pattern).

Finding all the pieces of the pattern

Sometimes if the pattern chart isn’t obviously right next to the photo of the doily, it helps to know “seite” means “page,” and “bogen” or “musterbogen” means “pattern sheet.”

Non-round doilies

What about oval, rectangular, or oblong doilies that aren't just knitted around and around a center point? Yes, the pattern notes will have some instructions on how to do that. But I will have to go into those issues in a later installment, as I think I've crammed enough into this post! The stuff above should give you enough info to knit a round doily or cloth, though, so if you haven’t tried a German pattern yet, just go for it!