Jun 21, 2006


As promised, I have actual knitting content today. After days weeks of hideous neglect, I turned once again to M.M Cozy on Monday night. I realized right away what had been putting me off – lack of charts. This is a huge surprise to me because in the past I refused to consider doing patterns because they required chart reading. I even declined to buy magazines because they had too many charts in them.

I can recall a job in customer service that I had a long time ago that required me to look at a computer screen and use the information within it to explain complicated issues to people. The first time I saw it I couldn’t even decipher where the relevant data in one field ended and another began. It was all a sea of symbols and spaces randomly placed just to make me crazy. (It was also in DOS which was ugly to say the least.) Months later I had a moment to look at the same screen and reflect on my first impression of it. I couldn’t imagine what I had been thinking. It all made perfect sense!

My relationship with charts has been much the same. As a new knitter I found it hard to imagine a time when charts would ever make sense. The symbols and the way a chart was read just boggled my mind. How did you know what the symbols meant? Would there ever be a time when I didn’t need the answer key right there to translate? (No!) What did you do on the wrong side?

I’ve had to use charts for a few recent patterns – just small ones mind you. The little ones weren’t so scary after all so I moved on to bigger ones. Each time I attempted a project with charts, I did so with the assurance of accompanying instructions written out for me. I could ignore the charts entirely if I wanted to! I wasn’t forced to slavishly follow the chart but… I found that gradually I was abandoning the written for the symbolic.

Today I’m taking part in the Amazing Lace and working on Cozy. It’s a very simple pattern but I haven’t found a groove yet. I also haven’t committed it to memory. What’s the hold up? No charts! My mind seems to have gotten used to them to the point where written instructions have become impediments that slow me down. Imagine that! So Monday night I whipped out my copy of Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book to consult the section on symbols and a new graph paper notebook bought expressly for this purpose and charted the pattern. It’s not perfect but it makes sense to me and now M.M. Cozy is cruising along. How about that?

charting lace
It's hard to see it in the picture but there’s a chart under there at the top of the page.


cursingmama said...

I'm kinda like a kid with spinich when it comes to charts, I know charts are icky. Of course if I actually tried to knit from one I might find out different.

Krista said...

Great job on cozy. I knit 2 rows of it and decided it didn't agree with me. But yours is beautiful! I still haven't gotten comfortable with charts. But I do a lot of stockinette! No charts needed there!