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View Full Version : Poll: Chart vs. Written Pattern?


Arielluria
04-21-2009, 03:23 PM
I'm curious to find out what everyone prefers. Say a pattern has both a chart AND written pattern, which would you use? Personally I find charts rather confusing and harder to follow than written. What about you?

GinnyG
04-21-2009, 03:26 PM
I will pick a chart over written instruction EVERY time!

saracidaltendencies
04-21-2009, 03:27 PM
Definitely charts...I'm more of a visual learner so if I can see what I'm supposed to be doing it makes more sense than trying to follow written instruction...hence my finding KH so I could see how I was supposed to be knitting...lol

ArtLady1981
04-21-2009, 03:46 PM
CHARTS all the way!!!!!

Written directions are tedious, time consuming and tiresome!
Especially when a chart could have been developed in its place!

AngieLanigan
04-21-2009, 04:20 PM
I've tried and tried and just can't wrap my brain around reading a chart. I used to cross stitch so I figured charts would be a piece of cake... but not so. So I much prefer a pattern written out.

DQ
04-21-2009, 04:29 PM
I prefer written at the moment. I've only used charts for the mosaic type of colourwork.

knittingymnast
04-21-2009, 06:31 PM
I prefer charts. There are frequently issues with written patterns, and sometimes begins to look overwhelming. Go green! Save paper! :rofl: Charts usually take up one page, maybe two. Written instructions can take up to as many as 8 or 9 pages. (I actually saw that once. It's not that common, though, for a pattern to take up 8 or 9 pages. :rofl:) Written instructions are SOMETIMES easier, and I do like them, but charts are definitely my preference. Plus they look cool. :D

Jan in CA
04-21-2009, 06:42 PM
I haven't done much that involves charts so right now I prefer written as they seem confusing to me, too. I can see the value for complicated patterns so maybe someday..

Shandeh
04-21-2009, 09:06 PM
I cannot use charts, because of my vision. When I was younger, I did a lot of cross stitch using charts, but can't do them anymore because I can't see them well. That's why I switched to knitting. I had never knit a stitch until I couldn't read my cross stitch charts anymore.

I was so glad to find a craft that didn't require charts. cloud9

Now, I get SO frustrated whenever a knitting pattern only has charted directions. I just pass it by, and move on to written patterns.

Occasionally, I have had to do a bit of knitted chartwork, but it was so taxing on my eyes. I had to use a magnifying glass, reading glasses and very bright light. Not a fun thing to do at all. :help:

ArtLady1981
04-21-2009, 09:21 PM
because of my vision....I can't see them well.....so taxing on my eyes....had to use a magnifying glass

Sandy, I always ENLARGE my charts using my printer.
If the entire enlarged chart won't fit onto a normal sheet of paper, I print it on two or three pieces of paper. One third on sheet #1, one third on sheet #2, and the final third on sheet #3.

Had to to that for SYLVI. Four pages.

Shandeh
04-21-2009, 09:27 PM
Sandy, I always ENLARGE my charts using my printer....
I've tried that a couple times, but still get frustrated. I just wish they would offer written instructions as well, you know?

When I'm knitting, I look at my stitches as they go. Then I look up at the pattern, and have to adjust my vision to see what's written there. I've discussed it with my eye doctor, and he's tried 3 different prescriptions for me. I guess I'm just one of those people with difficult eyes. :pout:

(Must be all those years of reading piano music, typing and filing as a secretary, reading books, and doing computer work.)

I think part of my frustration is the key for the charts. It seems like every knitting pattern uses different symbols for different stitches. So, I'm having to remember the symbols as well as the stitches, on top of trying to see it. Just too much work for my little brain.

ArtLady1981
04-21-2009, 09:29 PM
Must be all those years of reading piano music, typing and filing as a secretary, reading books, and doing computer work.

That could be very very right! :pout:

Hey Sandy! I ADORE YOUR NEW PHOTO AVATAR!!!
You are absolutely gorgeous in that fuchsia color!

Shandeh
04-21-2009, 09:38 PM
Thanks for the love, Dollyce! cloud9

suzeeq
04-21-2009, 09:39 PM
I'm finally getting the hang of charts. For years all patterns were text, so I'm accustomed to reading them in text - left to right. I can read charts, but only recently was able to knit from them. Practice I guess... I still like words better I think.

Ingrid
04-21-2009, 09:49 PM
I definitely prefer charts. I'll even make a chart if possible. They help me envision the pattern and helps me to memorize things. They just make sense to me. I always seem to have to reread written rows from the beginning, where with a chart I can see where I am.

And I agree--Sandy, you look MAAAHVELOUS!!

Jan in CA
04-21-2009, 09:52 PM
Hey Sandy! I ADORE YOUR NEW PHOTO AVATAR!!!
You are absolutely gorgeous in that fuchsia color!

Absolutely! :yay:

bree
04-21-2009, 10:02 PM
I like using charts because I find it easier to see what the stitches are supposed to look like. I use a piece of low-tack painter's tape to highlight the row I'm currently on, and hide the rest of the chart that I don't need to see (yet). Then I can easily move the tape up the chart as I progress.

MAmaDawn
04-21-2009, 10:54 PM
Charts... almost always charts. I can also see what it's going to look like when I look at a chart, not that way with written...

And I agree you look beautiful, Sandy!

suzeeq
04-21-2009, 11:09 PM
I can't picture what it looks like either way - I have to see actual photos.

Shandeh
04-21-2009, 11:30 PM
And I agree--Sandy, you look MAAAHVELOUS!!
Absolutely! :yay:
And I agree you look beautiful, Sandy!
cloud9 :heart: :heart: :heart:
Y'all are gonna give me a big head.
I might have to sign up for the Mrs America pageant. :teehee:

ArtLady1981
04-22-2009, 12:32 AM
I like using charts because I find it easier to see what the stitches are supposed to look like. I use a piece of low-tack painter's tape to highlight the row I'm currently on, and hide the rest of the chart that I don't need to see (yet). Then I can easily move the tape up the chart as I progress.

GREAT IDEA! I've been using sticky notes til they won't stick anymore! But I'm dragging out my painter's tape! I've got some of the green!

bree
04-22-2009, 02:35 AM
Yes it works well. I've tried the post-it note thing but they never did stay sticky long enough. The painter's tape works well especially on laminated sheets or those plastic page protectors.

wezyus
04-22-2009, 02:50 AM
Preferably charts, i converted all the written pattern into chart n knit a gauge before starting any works

KnittingNat
04-22-2009, 03:58 AM
Definitely charts, it's easier for me to visualize the pattern and to memorize it. I recently converted written instructions for a lace scarf to chart, so i can understand how the pattern looks.

gingerbread
04-22-2009, 07:30 AM
It took me a long time to figure out the charts. I love lace knitting and so it was learn how to, reading written out on lace is long and I would lose my place. I use magnets on a cookie sheet to read my charts now.

Knit4Pie
04-22-2009, 07:40 AM
I can work from both, but prefer written. Some patterns however (a very few) I have even chucked the written instructions in favor of the chart. If there's only a chart, I'll generally write it out before starting.

I invested in the chart keeper from KnitPicks, so when I do use a chart, I just move the magnet up each line. Very easy and won't move or fall off unless I drop the whole thing (which happens sometimes with a 5-year-old and a cat).

GinnyG
04-22-2009, 07:52 AM
I cannot use charts, because of my vision. When I was younger, I did a lot of cross stitch using charts, but can't do them anymore because I can't see them well. That's why I switched to knitting. I had never knit a stitch until I couldn't read my cross stitch charts anymore.
Occasionally, I have had to do a bit of knitted chartwork, but it was so taxing on my eyes. I had to use a magnifying glass, reading glasses and very bright light. Not a fun thing to do at all. :help:

Sandy, I have terrible eyesight, wear bifocals and always struggle to see small things. I blow up my charts on the copier or if there are alot of them I take them to kinkos and have them enlarged. Then I color code them and it's actually easier to see than written directions.

Ohhh, just read back and see that someone already suggested that. I guess it's just a personal preferance.

Painters tape!!!!!!!!!! Brilliant idea! I actually have some charts laminated, ones that I know I'll use again or charts for lengthy projects. I have used sticky notes which stick great but painters tape is a GREAT idea!

ArtLady1981
04-22-2009, 01:44 PM
Staples and Office Depot sell 9"x12" 'laminating sheets' by the 50 sheet box. You can laminate an entire 8x11 sheet, or cut it into smaller pieces and laminate a recipe card! Whatever! I use them all the time. I 'laminated' my husband's RWT retirement card. He wanted it preserved for his wallet!

I especially use them to laminate charts and 'keys' that I use a lot.

Yeah, the painter's tape would be perfect to use on a laminated chart!

This pack of 50 'self seal' laminating sheets was not expensive, about $24. That's about 48 cents per sheet. It beats the fee for regular hot laminating at a print counter! Plus, it's convenient.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3495/3466285222_c991f1de35.jpg?v=0

Here are some of the spare half sheets I use for little stuff:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3542/3466285576_81048e29a2.jpg?v=0

My first box/packet was AVERY brand. This new packet is GBC. It all works the same. It's good thing to have around!

OFFICE DEPOT: Avery & GBC brands for sale! (http://www.officedepot.com/catalog/search.do?fkey=dAvn59jsDgcgJhQJcmcQr3O&Ntt=self+seal+laminating+sheets)

rachejm
04-22-2009, 02:47 PM
I like charts. I tend to get lost in written instructions if there are a lot of stitches, I like charts that I can cross off so I know where I am. It was a little intimidating when I started using them because I did get confused but now that I know roughly what I'm doing I'll take the chart over the written instructions.

Anarfea
04-22-2009, 04:13 PM
Charts!!!

I didn't know there were charted patterns when I was a beginner, and the first time I knit a lace scarf there were written out instructions and I was having so much difficulty visualizing what I was supposed to be doing I got out some graph paper and read the pattern through making a chart with all of my own symbols.

And you know what? I intuitively did it right to left and left out the wrong side rows (stockinette lace) and thought I was so clever. Of course I eventually discovered that other people already had invented charts, but I still sometimes "re-chart" things in excell to add colors, etc--also to add more repeats to see how the pattern looks on top of itself.

Simply_Renee
04-22-2009, 08:24 PM
I picked written but it really depends on what it is-

For lace- charts
anything with cables- written (not sure why- even though the symbols are pretty much a picture of the cable I still have a hard time without the written directions esp if it's more complicated than a c4b or c4f)
colorwork- charts

Everything else I will usually pick the written instructions. I write each line on an index card and group instructions/rewrite in the way it makes sense to me.

I think the reason I prefer written most of the time is that it's easier to keep my place if I have to set it down- my youngest adores moving my magnets around on charts, or the dog paws the thing & rakes the magnets off, etc. :biting:

So chartwork is only when the whole house is asleep.

suzeeq
04-22-2009, 09:42 PM
anything with cables- written (not sure why- even though the symbols are pretty much a picture of the cable I still have a hard time without the written directions esp if it's more complicated than a c4b or c4f)

Yep, lace charts aren't too bad, but cable charts just leave me going --- whaaaaat?

TEMA
04-22-2009, 10:56 PM
Charts are just a jumble to me... so I chose written...
Sometimes I have to take the written ones and rewrite them for myself so that I can keep things straight.
I used to follow charts when I made Buffalo sweaters but that was long ago and quite easy as the charts where nice a big.
TEMA:knitting:

lelvsdgs
04-22-2009, 11:22 PM
I just don't get the charts. Maybe someday I will have the time to really figure them out. I prefer written and like TEMA, I will sometimes condense or rewrite that pattern to streamline it.

There were some really great tips here though, the laminating sheets and the painters tape are brilliant. I can see using those for dishcloth patterns.

Lisa R.
04-23-2009, 09:35 AM
While I see the advantage of charts, I just get so confused with the symbols. I know that K means knit and P means purl, but a little dot in a square...well, was that the knit or the purl. And C4B is clear to me, but the symbols they use for that....it just doesn't speak to me.

When I read written instructions, I just read and knit as I go. When I have a chart, I look at the symbol in the chart, scan down to find the symbol in the legend, look up at the chart and make sure I'm looking at the right thing, read the instructions for what that symbol means, then knit the instructions, and move on to the next square of the chart.

Maybe if I practiced a lot more, it would flow...but for now charts are all Greek to me and slow me WAY down!

Lisa R.
04-23-2009, 09:45 AM
cloud9 :heart: :heart: :heart:
Y'all are gonna give me a big head.
I might have to sign up for the Mrs America pageant. :teehee:

And how lovely you will look in your hand-knitted evening gown!!!:teehee:

Lisa R.
04-23-2009, 09:54 AM
For those using painter's tape and such, just thought I'd mention this product. (http://www.yarn.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/product.detail/categoryID/7CDEFA40-09F4-4C5C-ABF1-9A1F684E32E7/productID/93393070-4ED1-4FF2-A224-D2892DF9FDEB/) It's highlighter tape and is supposed to be excellent for charts and such.

It's probably more expensive, I haven't used it, but thought I'd throw that out just in case someone didn't know and might be interested in it.

Lieuvena
04-23-2009, 10:08 AM
I chose written...for now. I'm only beginning to knit with charts. My last project was a lace headband that I used a chart with. I'm currently using a chart, and my next project will be with a chart. I def. think that I will end up preferring charts. As for now, I just don't have enough experience with them to say that.

Those are great ideas for using charts everyone!:cheering: I was just using the post it notes! I will have to keep all this in mind if I start using charts regularly. Thanks!

Arielluria
04-23-2009, 10:16 AM
My thing against charts is that though being visual it would seem easier (for me) to do the pattern, however, I find it harder to figure out where I am without counting the stitches on my needle, and since charts are rather small, it's a pain!

Lisa R.
04-23-2009, 10:42 AM
My thing against charts is that though being visual it would seem easier (for me) to do the pattern, however, I find it harder to figure out where I am without counting the stitches on my needle, and since charts are rather small, it's a pain!

That's easily solved by enlarging it on a copy machine!! Most folks seem to do that.

Craw
04-23-2009, 11:05 AM
I chose written. I like that a chart is sometimes included because it gives me a visual picture for my head but if I'm going to make the pattern, it has to be written. I get confused too easily following charts and unfortunately, my eyesight is very poor as well. I just got back from the eye doc's the other day and there was no good news. :( Blowing up a chart wouldn't make a difference to me. When it all globs together from staring at it, or one of my many, enormous floaters are in the way, it's unreadable at any size. At least with words, you can shake your head, clear the blur, and pick up where you left off.

MAmaDawn
04-23-2009, 11:40 AM
I seem to be in the minority with a lot of knitting things... guess I'm just strange... :teehee:

suzeeq
04-23-2009, 11:57 AM
True you can enlarge the chart, but you still have to count sts, while a text pattern just says - k9. Some patterns you can figure it out by reading your knitting, but until you get the sts established, it's trickier.

MAmaDawn
04-23-2009, 12:25 PM
For long spans of one type of stitch I will write on the chart how many it is... like in the middle of 6 knit or purl stitches I'll write a 6. I heard that from the lady that does the Stitch It podcasts.

knitgal
04-23-2009, 12:27 PM
I would have said written directions until recently. I have become more used to using charts and I find them easier now. It's definitely something that you have to get used to though.

Simply_Renee
04-23-2009, 12:42 PM
When I do use a chart- I prep it first:

For any # of stitches (over 4 or so) that are the same in a row, I write the # in the first box of that "run" (on the appropriate side of the run, depending on if I am reading the row right to left or left to right)

I color the k2tog blue and the ssk pink, plus any other inc/dec that make sense in other colors.

I use a long magnet above the row I am knitting (using a magnet board or cookie sheet) and I also use 2 post-its. I work between the post-its (& remember to cover up what I have just done BEFORE moving the other one to show more stitches-that's how lost I get if I don't) I break the row down how it makes sense to me.

Doing these makes reading charts much easier (but still not quite idiot proof :zombie: because I still mess up sometimes.)

ArtLady1981
04-23-2009, 02:03 PM
Must do:

1) enlarge the charts
2) color code the difficult-to-remember symbols
3) use a ruler (or other product) to lay beneath the line you're working on

There have been times when I used post-it notes to mask all parts of the chart EXCEPT the line I was working on. All lines above and below the 'working' line were covered up!

MAmaDawn
04-23-2009, 02:16 PM
I've covered everything up before too. Now I usually mark it with something (my favorite is my chart reader, but my toddler son loves it too and has done something with it) like a magnet strip or a ruler. I put mine above, mostly from working color patterns as I can see what color should be below the one I'm working and it helps me see when I've made a mistake.

I also mark my charts where I put my stitch markers. I use lots of stitch markers for lace knitting. If the repeat is short I just do it with the repeat. But if it's a 20 or so stitch repeat I put stitch markers in the middle of the repeat and mark the chart, it helps me to see when I've made a mistake more quickly and helps keep everything straight. I use different stitch markers in the middle of the pattern than between repeats too.

ArtLady1981
04-23-2009, 02:20 PM
I also mark my charts where I put my stitch markers...... I use different stitch markers in the middle of the pattern than between repeats too.

Me, too! :cheering: I'm a stitch marker user ALL THE WAY!

Right now, I'm making a simple sleeve for a simple child's sweater. I have st markers at each end, denoting where the increases begin. This is a good quick way to eyeball if I've forgotten to increase ON BOTH ENDS. No more counting and recounting across the rows...only to find out 1 inc has been left out...and then to try to figure out WHICH END is missing it's increase!

MAmaDawn
04-23-2009, 02:46 PM
Me, too! :cheering: I'm a stitch marker user ALL THE WAY!

Right now, I'm making a simple sleeve for a simple child's sweater. I have st markers at each end, denoting where the increases begin. This is a good quick way to eyeball if I've forgotten to increase ON BOTH ENDS. No more counting and recounting across the rows...only to find out 1 inc has been left out...and then to try to figure out WHICH END is missing it's increase!

Great minds and all.... one thing that keeps happening to my snowrose Shawl is that one of the yo will slip over the stitch marker. I'm glad that I heard on a the KnitPicks Podcast (I love podcasts) to look for that before I started it. I would have been tinking rows or ripping back to my lifeline when I don't need to.

I've found stitch markers can also make something that seems too complex to be mindless, sudden become mindless.

SabrinaJL
04-24-2009, 07:20 PM
I prefer written. With charts, I have a hard time remembering with the symbols mean and keep having to refer back to the key.

Knitting_Guy
04-24-2009, 10:44 PM
Patterns? We don't need no steenkin patterns!

ArtLady1981
04-25-2009, 02:49 AM
Patterns? We don't need no steenkin patterns!

:roflhard:

Arielluria
04-27-2009, 11:29 AM
I have a perfect example of how confusing charts can be to me. I'm starting on the Branching Out Scarf from Knitty: http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEspring05/PATTbranchingout.html

Rows 7 & 9 (the 2 top ones on chart below) begin and end with the bold dark squares. The explanation of the chart says that those mean "no stitch"...........:shock: :roll: :nails: , forget that THAT makes no sense..................The written pattern reads for row 7: K3 and row 9: K4 :hmm:....which (written) makes sense, but if you look at the chart it's row 7: no stitch; no stitch; sl, k2tog, psso and row 9 chart reads no stitch; no stitch; no stitch; k ........ :wall:

http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEspring05/images/branchingCHT.jpg

Jan in CA
04-27-2009, 11:55 AM
:zombie:

ArtLady1981
04-27-2009, 02:24 PM
I have a perfect example of how confusing charts can be to me. I'm starting on the Branching Out Scarf from Knitty: http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEspring05/PATTbranchingout.html

Rows 7 & 9 (the 2 top ones on chart below) begin and end with the bold dark squares. The explanation of the chart says that those mean "no stitch"...........:shock: :roll: :nails: , forget that THAT makes no sense..................The written pattern reads for row 7: K3 and row 9: K4 :hmm:....which (written) makes sense, but if you look at the chart it's row 7: no stitch; no stitch; sl, k2tog, psso and row 9 chart reads no stitch; no stitch; no stitch; k ........ :wall:

http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEspring05/images/branchingCHT.jpg


Row 7: first 2 and last 2 'boxes' are black cuz those 2 stitches actually reside in box 3, where you are directed to
K3T (2 stitches lost) and at the end of the row: sl-K2T-psso (2 stitches lost) Also remember, Rows 7 & 9 are rows where the extra stitches will be lost. You cast on 25, but that count quickly increased to 31. The end of Row 7 you'll be down to 27. The end of Row 9 you'll be back to 25.

Row 9: Cuz Row 7 takes way more stitches than it gives back as yarnovers, the number of stitches on Row 8 is less than normal. So, Row 9 is deficient by a few in the first place.

Oh, and the K4...that prolly includes that 3 st garter border.

When I'm using a chart, ALWAYS IGNORE the black boxes.
For all intents and purposes, YOUR ROW begins after the black boxes.

Of course, with Branching Out, your row begins with the border, but your charted row begins AFTER the black boxes.

Branching Out, if I'm remembering rightly, has unusual stitch count across the rows. The pattern warned about it. Due to more decreases than yo's...or vice versa...the row count can go down. But, whatever amount of stitches is taken away on a previous row, you'll get 'em back on a subsequent row.

For example, Row 5 ends up with 31 st. But row 7 goes down to 27 st (2 stitches lost at the beg and end of the row). Row 9 goes down a further 2.

So, you have the black boxes to indicate their absence. Row 5 had 31. Row 7 lost 4. Row 9 lost 2 more.

I remember writing it all down, row by row, how many stitches would be left at the end of each row in the chart, then I'd do a 'head count' at the end of each RS working row to make sure everyone was there. Then I'd move on to the WS resting row.

Oh, and needless to say, I installed lifelines at the end of each repeat! If I made errors, it was always due to an extra yo or a missing yo!

Hope this helps. If you need, I can dig up my notes for Branching Out. BTW: the pattern has no errors. And the chart is right.

PS: I remember this much: I bagged trying to work with BOTH the written words AND the chart. If you decide to work with the chart...do not look at the written directions again. Read them, review them at the first, but don't compare them row by row.
And vice versa.