They aren't. They are apparently though, out to make your life as difficult as possible... I've reached the neck on my slouchy cardi and and I thought I might try to follow the pattern for once in my life. Nah. They're telling me to pick up 24 stitches here, five stitches here, slip the however-many held stitches here. Nah. Too much like hard work.
The rules are (unless otherwise stated e.g. an independent designer who has some say in how the pattern is presented and has a reason for this not to be the case):
- Pick up a stitch per stitch over a cast off/cast on edge.
- Pick up 3 stitches for every 4 along a row end (i.e. a stitch in every row for three rows, then miss one).
Sometimes people say four stitches for every five rows running along a row edge and as long as they're not blindly following patterns then I'm all for it. I still think my way is best...
If you follow these rules you'll never be more than a few stitches out of the count that they want by the end (unless you've changed the length or something) and on the next row you can decrease or increase evenly across it. Yeah?
Got it off my chest, back to work.