Monday, March 31, 2014

Generating Charts for Knitting Patterns Part 1 (cont)-- Methods and Getting Along with Your Software

Generating the chart

The most professional looking charts are generated using a good charting software. Because they are already on your computer, you can easily integrate them into your pattern. No software is perfect, so you must learn how to manipulate and override some of the features.

You can also work a chart by hand, scan to your computer and then add it to your pattern.  And, if you are not tied to electronic delivery, you can draw the chart by hand and attach it to your pattern, or use photocopies of the drawing for multiple patterns.

I work with Knit Visualizer but there are many other good softwares available. As you will see, many of the symbols I use are custom made because the symbol names are not usually stated in common form. The biggest problem is working the legend. I want my legend to be clear without conflicting information. I'd like it to move in a logical order, beginning with the blank, knit box, followed by the purl box.  I sometimes want to convert conventional symbols to show a different type of knitting.

Other softwares will have their own issues. You have to do the best you can with what you've got. It took me a long time to overcome issues, but with perseverance the challenge can be met to create good charts for your patterns.  Each pattern provides an opportunity to learn more about your software.

The following is an example of how I work around issues with KV:

Below is an example of a chart I quickly made showing some of the symbols and terminology used by KV:

This is an example I've used only to illustrate the restrictions of the software. I'm not attempting to design a knitted piece.  Notice the key lists the stitch symbols in the order in which I have placed them on the chart. 
  • The knit box is not followed by the purl box in the key. 
  • The blank box says knit, yet gives directions to both knit and purl. The same with the purl box. 
  • I've added cables to both RS and WS rows. The cable directions state: none defined for WS rows. 
  • The cable is also labeled c2 over 2 left, rather than C4f, the more common abbreviation. 
  • And what if I wanted to make the  bobble differently?

Well,  I could disable the directions for each stitch symbol, using only the symbol's name or abbreviation and then define them elsewhere in the pattern.  I get the following: 

While this solves some of the problems, it creates others. I now have directions to knit all blank boxes and purl all dot boxes. I'm also left with c2 over 2 left--- not a really helpful name. And the knit and purl boxes-- still not one after the other.

The solution:
 I make all of the charts for my pattern. Then I make a customized, separate key. 

Chart for the pattern exported without the key that the software will generate (see above): 

Next, I make the following chart using customized symbols: 

Notice I have placed the symbols in the order I want them to appear in the key.  Starting with the lower right box, then working across row 1 and then moving upwards.  I prefer to continue with the dot box because then I know that a cell has been converted to my customized symbol. Leaving blank cells can lead to a second symbol showing up in the key that says knit with directions to knit and purl and this will be even more confusing. 

Then I can export only the legend in either form: 
C4f and MB will need explanation  and directions elsewhere in the pattern.


While still not perfect (Knit/Purl boxes), this is much clearer on how each symbol is worked. 

So, the final action would be to place the chart(s) in the pattern without their automatically produced legend along with one customized legend that can be used for all the charts and that is clear concerning each symbol. 

My preferred method is to use the legend with only the name or abbreviation, the first of the two examples. The blank and dot box need no further explanation. In the abbreviation section of my pattern I will list C4f and MB with the directions for working them as needed in the pattern. C4f for this pattern would need directions for both RS and WS rows. MB for this pattern only needs directions for RS row. 

Good charts with clear legends give a professional look to your work.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Generating Charts for Knitting Patterns: Part 1-- Types of Charts

I’d like to share with you information on how to incorporate charts in knitting patterns. These posts are not about learning to read and work from charts. To understand and use this information you will already need to know how to work from charts.

Types of Charts.

There are three methods for charting.
  1. The chart shows the RS of the fabric.
  2. The chart is configured to reflect the directions as written.
  3. Special stitches and stitch patterns
For most patterns you will be using either method 1 or method 2.

Charts that show the RS of the fabric.

This method has quickly become the most popular method for knit patterns. The advantage to using this method is that it makes it easier for the knitter to read her knitting and follow along the chart.  For this method, symbols used on RS and WS rows will need both a RS and WS designation in the key. 

Using this method Chart 1 below shows stockinette stitch. Each blank box should tell the knitter to k on the RS and p on the WS. 

Chart 2 below shows garter stitch. In addition to the blank box written as above, a second dot box would be added stating to p on the RS and k on the WS.

Legend or Key # 1 would be used for these charts if the chart were to show the RS of the fabric.

Charts that are configured to reflect written directions.

This method is not used as popular as the above method however, some designers still insist on using it. There will be an occasional instance when this method may be the clearer way to chart. The drawback with this method is the knitter cannot see the end fabric being worked. Many knitters find themselves confused if they are accustomed to using charts showing the RS of the work.

In the example below, Chart 1 now shows garter stitch and chart 2 shows stockinette stitch. Legend 2 would apply. These charts read similarly to knitting directions. RS rows are still read right to left and wrong side rows, left to right, but the knitter simply follows the direction that the symbol indicates.  In chart 1 each blank box says to knit, so the knitter would knit every stitch, thus creating garter stitch. For chart 2, the knitter would knit the RS rows and purl the WS rows, creating Stockinette stitch.  

Example 1                       

Example 2

Legend 1

Legend 2

Most knitters will be more familiar with method 1.  The important thing to keep in mind is if you are presenting multiple charts, don't use both methods in the same pattern-- pick one or the other. 

Special Circumstances. 

Some stitch patterns use their own method of charting. Instances include Traveling or Bavarian Twisted Stitches, Mosaic Knitting and some lace charts.