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. 

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