Back in September I decided to get crazy with the cheez-whiz and learn how to knit solely from a chart. What is a chart you might ask if you were a question asking kind of person? Most patterns I have seen, up to this point, are written patterns. They are a set of instructions written in Knitting Kode that tell you what to do – k1, p2, yo … the ever popular p2togtbl … and such things. Like a recipe, you follow the directions for “ingredient” and quantity and eventually you get a finished object.
A chart is a method of visually conveying that same information, kind of like a map. You have a legend that tells you what symbol represents which stitches and then those symbols are arranged on a grid that you follow in a specific manner. Most commonly you follow the chart in the same way that you knit; starting in the bottom right hand corner and reading right to left. When you hit the next row you do not return to the right hand side but instead read the return row from left to right. Exactly how you knit.
The deciding factor for me learning this technique is that I fell in love with a pattern The Bromeliad Shawl by Nicole Eitzinger (sorry, Ravelry link). And so the first chart I decided to use:
I might have been smoking something when I made this decision, who knows?
On the plus side, the yarn that I decided to use for this? I only had one skein. So I had to modify the pattern a bit from a shawl to a scarf. In the above chart I kept the edging (the two columns on the outside edges) dropped the next two columns (coming in from both sides) and kept the 3 center columns. Then I knit and knit and knit and knit and knit ….
until I ran out of yarn. Which I did last week and now it is all blocked and finished!
The yarn is Socks that Rock in colorway Firebird and I was a little worried that it would be too busy for the pattern. But I think that the movement of the stitches really accentuates the color and vice versus.
It was a bit of a pain in the ass, but I think it was worth the results. And now, now I am confident in my ability to use a chart to produce a finished product. If there is anyone out there that has been timid about using charts I tell you go for it. It really is a better way to navigate lace than a written pattern.
Anyone out there have a pattern that they have been eyeballing but afraid of because of a chart? Share it with us and I am sure we (the internet) can help you thorough the ordeal.