Stretch your Skills: Knitting from Charts

Filed in Skill Building by on February 23, 2015 0 Comments

Our theme for the month at EduKnit and as part of the #NextLevelKAL has been Charts. We’ve discussed all kinds of charts with our EduKnit community, including charts for lace, texture, and color. When I first began to knit, charts were intimidating to me; though I am, generally, a visual learner, there was something about the concept of a knitting chart that just mystified me. Now, however, I find that in many patterns knitting from charts is easier than reading a string of written-out instructions.

favorite charted patterns

Whether you’ve been knitting from charts for years or you’ve been avoiding them, this month is a great opportunity to practice using them. Did you know you can search for charted patterns on Ravelry? (Here are the results, but if you want to replicate it for yourself you’ll find it under Pattern Instructions in the advanced search menu.) I browsed the selection this morning, and I found 10 charted patterns that I think would be a fun challenge. Perhaps one of them will strike your fancy?

  1. Ginny’s Cardigan – I actually have the yarn and pattern ready to go for this, it’s just about making the time to do it. This is a basic cardigan but it includes a lace panel with an owl-like motif on the back; the chart for this panel will make it easy to follow the basic sweater construction directions while using the chart for the decorative stitches.
  2. Heart Dishcloth – If you just want to dip your toe into the world of charts, a dishcloth is a fairly low-risk project to begin with. This one has a heart motif, perfect for this month of love. The chart makes it easy to follow the pattern as the shapes begin to develop, and since it’s just a dishcloth you can cast on without doing a gauge swatch first!
  3. Snaky Socks – For a lot of sock patterns, you can simply memorize a stitch pattern and knit away. For one with an intertwined set of cables, however, a chart comes in handy! This particular pattern is charted for two standard sizes, but with a little practice (and perhaps some advice from our educational content at EduKnit?) you can sketch out a chart for yourself for an expanded range of stitch counts.
  4. Agathis – Cozy cables and a gender-neutral pattern make this beanie cap a must-knit. With a pattern like this, the chart will help you see how the cabled sections intersect and connect with one another, in the main body of hat and the crown decreases.
  5. Mustardseed – Spring is almost here, and with the warmer weather I find myself drawn to lace shawl knitting once again. This pattern by Boo Knits is ethereal and delicate, including a stunning lace border with beads. Reading lace from a chart can be a valuable skill, because it helps you learn to “read” your knitting and to see where the stitches connect to one another.
  6. Hemlock Ring blanket – Jared Flood’s adaptation of a lace doily, turned into this baby blanket design, is sure to be an heirloom piece.
  7. Cinnabar Brioche Scarf – Nancy Marchant wrote the book on brioche, so what better than to learn a new technique with one of her designs? This simple scarf is a stunning wardrobe staple.
  8. Hedgerow – Talk about a statement piece! Ann Kingstone’s Hedgerow cardigan is sure to be the talk of any fiber festival or industry event. I love how one single garment can be totally different depending on the color palette you choose to make it in. Go for bold brights or subtle neutrals to make a pattern like this truly your own.
  9. Giga – I haven’t tried double knitting yet, but since it was our theme at EduKnit just a little while ago, I feel confident to dip my toe into the waters of double knitting now. This pattern is free from our friends at Knitty magazine, and the fact that it’s a cowl means it isn’t a huge project to overwhelm me.
  10. Don’t Blink Illusion Scarf – Shadow knitting is another technique on my bucket list (and we’ll be discussing it for Stripes Month in March at EduKnit!). I’m a big nerd at heart, so the subtle message of Doctor Who fandom on this piece is not lost on me.

And of course, don’t forget the newest additions to the Two Sides, Two Points Ravelry store:

The ZigZag Rib Mitts and Cowl set uses charts to convert this simple chevron pattern into an easy-to-read format –

eduknit-9610

 

For a pattern like Shining Seeds of Warmth, writing out a basic textural pattern takes several lines without the use of a chart. This is a great example of how charts can simplify your knitting rather than complicating it!

Seeddiamondhat-9533

 

If you cast on for either of these patterns, you can enter to win prizes in our Next Level Knit-Along; just post photos of your works-in-progress and finished objects on any social media site and tag them #NextLevelKAL.

I’ve got a great set of prizes to help you build your knitting toolkit, and I’ll be giving them out to one lucky knitter within a month!

If you’ve enjoyed knitting from charts in the past, what’s YOUR favorite charted pattern? Tell us about it in the comments!

– Jess

 

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