Sweater Seven, Installment Three: Alafoss

I managed to get through the first part of the colourwork chart, though I found the rows that involved stranding three colours at the same time a bit hard going.  Then I get to row 13, and I see the perennial bugbear "Dec evenly across rnd."  I know others have said this before, but I feel I must add my objection to the chorus.  This is a terrible instruction to write in a pattern! 

It's so terrible that there are at least two independent online calculators (here and here) to help you figure it out.  We should heartily thank the makers of those calculators, as they can save piles of time, but I did think, when I used them, that they work a lot better for decreasing evenly across a ROW, rather than decreasing evenly across a ROUND.  For example, if I take the sweater I'm making now, and plug the numbers into the first of those calculators, I get this:

                K2, (k2tog, k5) 3 times, (k2tog, k4) 27 times, (k2tog, k5) 3 times, k2

Now, if I did this across a row, the decreases would be balanced in spacing, like so (this is just for descriptive purposes, so imagine the black lines in the drawings below are a row or round of knitted stitches):

However, if I do this across a round, the decreases are no longer balanced:

The decreases are spaced more closely (4 stitches apart) at one part of the round than at another part, where they are spaced 5 stitches apart.  Since the decreases are not symmetrical, the garment may not hang properly.

You need to interpret the instructions a little to adapt them to working in the round; basically what they're telling you is that you need to decrease every 6 stitches 28 times, and every 7 stitches 6 times.  Then, you need to figure out how to space these decreases evenly across a round, which I did like so:

I found this formula a bit faster for making the calculations for decreasing across a round.  Plugging in my numbers, I figured out that I need to decrease every 6 stitches 28 times, and every 7 stitches 6 times.  This is essentially the same thing the online decrease calculator told me, just in a more direct way. 

I also found this explanation of the magic formula, which I didn't personally use but which some may find helpful. 

I can definitely do all this work myself, and I think it's good to be able to figure out the mechanics of your knitting, but I think if I'm buying a pattern that the designer should do the math for me.  I highly disapprove of the "dec/inc evenly across row/rnd" instruction and vow never to use it in any patterns that I may write.