Knitting – lace charts


I had these, ready to post at some point, and I am just going to try uploading them and composing a post over the next hour or so, while I work offline on something else.

What I have been doing during my forced absence from the internet is knitting.  I completed the sweater I was making for DD and started another one, from a Craftsy class.  Not having much luck getting to watch the class – well, not unless I want to watch a minute, have my internet drop, wait, have it reconnect, watch another 5 minutes, etc etc.  – but I did get the class materials downloaded.

I have only ever really done simple knitting.  Socks, for all the fear they seem to cause, are really simple with a good pattern.  Follow it and you will have success.  But things like Cables and Lace, where there is a complex, multi-row or -round pattern?  THAT does my head in.  I started the lace yoke pattern for the Choose Your Own Sweater Adventure class but chart reading has never been my strong suit.  I kept losing my place, getting distracted or having to pick up and put down my knitting for 100s of reasons.  It was making me crazy.  So after frogging back to the cast on maybe 4 or 5 times because I made a stupid error in reading the chart, cause the marks I made didn’t make sense the next day, for example, I took a look at my problem and figured out how to solve it.

justchart1The chart looks like this. It’s not a complicated pattern really.  But I still struggle to “read” my knitting – if I lose my place I find it really hard to look at the stitches and figure out what they are.  and if I miss one, and things aren’t lining up right, I am hopeless at tinking back to correct.  I tried making marks, using a Post-it note to keep track of the row I was on, but was still struggling.  I never had this much trouble with crochet!  What I needed was the chart to be bigger and a way to isolate just the row I wanted at ay given time. Easy enough..

The symbols for this chart were easy so I just recreated it in my drawing program.



I printed it and cut it up into strips.



I made a stack of the rows. So all I had to do was complete the row then fold it back and paper clip it.  Do the next row, fold it back, etc.



I also made the legend bigger and easier to read. Was it a bit of work to do?  Yep.  LESS work than ripping out 4 rows of the chart?  Nope.  The good thing is I can store the chart with the pattern and will never have to do it again.

What would have been a quicker way to do it, and what I will do for any more complicated chart, is to scan it in, print it BIG, then use a window cut in a larger piece of card to show only the row I am working on.  Adding a couple of paper clips will make it a lot more secure than a Post-it note and the bigger size will help me a lot.

chartwindowI don’t ever mind taking a bit of extra time, or doing a bit of work up front in order to make whatever the process is I’m working on easier.  It’s a bit like taking the time to create the monthly calendar blocks.  Sure, I may spend a day getting it all lined up, checking and re-checking the dates, and sizing them, but then, when I want to do a new calendar design,  I only have to do the fun part, the colour and image bit, the font choices, etc.  The hard and boring part is already done.  I just had to remember the lessons learned in calendar making and translate them to knitting to solve the problem.  And the lessons learned from having a kid with a disability, who has to find her own way to do something that is easy for many people, but not for her,  helped me recognize and analyze my limitations (bad eyesight, being scatterbrained and unable to easily grasp charts) and develop a way to overcome them.  Much better than just saying Well, I will never knit lace or cables…ever.


6 thoughts on “Knitting – lace charts

  1. i have been knitting lace for more than ten years, i wish that i had thought of something like this when i was getting used to reading charts. it may get more complicated if you advance to more complicated lace, but i’m sure you’ll have another solution or will be proficient at reading your knitting and charts. very clever!

    • I have been knitting lace for maybe 10 WEEKS and found it a challenge right from the start. Isolating the line I am working on is critical cause I am rubbish at “reading” my knitting. I like Sue’s suggestion of putting the pattern on cards on a book ring. I did consider that but didn’t have enough cards on hand. So long as I could print the pattern with my printer, either cards or lines would work even for complicated patterns…I think 🙂 but not willing to give that complex lace knitting a try just yet….

    • several famous knitters use charts for lace knitting and cables. The Japanese use them also. I used and sold knitting machines for years and all the japanese books are in charts, so I don’t have to translate them that way. Meg Swansen and her mother Elizabeth Zimmermann and Barbara Thomas all swore by charts. Elizabeth and Meg are two of my favorite knitting writers. Meg’s business is called Schoolhouse Press and she sells things through there and runs a knitting camp every year in Wisconsin if you’re lucky enough to go.

  2. I love your observations about solving this. I haven’t tried this, have just avoided charts — also typically avoid patterns which definitely limits the sorts of things I make. Must most importantly to me, you decided “I can.” I will never understand why this is an ongoing challenge, but it is. Many years ago, I read a study which concluded that the main difference to how men and women approach a challenge is that woman have to start by overcoming a bunch of negative, limiting thoughts (like I can never do this), and that men start out with an attitude of “of course I can do this” and occasionally get a dose of “reality.”

    I am always amazed at your willingness to tackle technology. I still have attempted PS Elements– but it’s on my list! Thanks for sharing so much of your life with us readers.

    • Yep. I do that. But I also look at a simple project, think I know how to alter it then try and get stuck. Or think something is logical to try then get annoyed when it doesn’t work like I think it should. So while I am so often riddled with self-doubt, I am also often seen way out on the end of the limb, giving it a go, about to crash to the ground….


  3. A slight modification is instead of using a staple at the left, punch a hole and put in a notebook ring, then turn them to the back and/or make a checkmark to the right when you have completed that row. I used to have people put each row on a 3×5 or a 4X6 CARD, THEN USE THE NOTEBOOK RINGS AND TURN THEM TO THE BACK AS THEY WENT DURING A LESSON (oops, didn’t notice caps key was on. At least you found a solution to keep going.

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