Here’s a question for designers and knitters

The question actually has several parts.

1a. If you were knitting a specific pattern stitch, would you rather knit it from a chart or from written-out instructions?

1b. If you were designing a pattern stitch, would you write it out or chart it or both?

1c. If you were publishing a pattern stitch and you were writing and charting it, would you chart it so that right side and wrong side rows alternated?

[Here is an example: stockinette. Row 1 = knit. Row 2 = purl, if you’re knitting flat and had to turn it around to the wrong side. Row 3 = knit, Row 4 = purl, etc. Thus the chart would look like this if k = knit and p = purl and we are knitting from bottom right corner:]

pppppppppp
kkkkkkkkkkk
pppppppppp
kkkkkkkkkkk

Here is what happened. I was knitting my Trekking sock from the work basket, and I was super excited to get past that twisted stitch rib that was so time consuming, and I wanted to incorporate this pattern – sorry, repeat photos:

sock lace

You can see that the triangles are either reverse stockinette or ribbed, which ought to be represented, triangles aside, as:

RIB
* = k on RS, p on WS
o = p on RS, k on WS

*O*O*O*
*O*O*O*
*O*O*O*
*O*O*O*

REVERSE STST
o = p on RS, k on WS

oooooo
oooooo
oooooo
oooooo

Right? Are you still with me?

But they were represented differently from what I am accustomed to:

RIB
kpkpkpk
pkpkpkp
kpkpkpk
pkpkpkp

REVERSE STST

kkkkkkk
ppppppp
kkkkkkk
ppppppp

And unfortunately I was so frustrated when I realized my mistake that I immediately unraveled!!!! so you can’t see that I ended up with garter stitch and seed stitch triangles?!?! rather than rib and reverse stst.

I am sure that in the introduction to the book indicated that all charts were intended to represent flat pieces, but tell me if I’m crazy when I expect the chart to represent the front side of the design, the piece that was photographed??

Bellflowers came from the same book, I’ll have to see if I can decipher the chart.

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4 thoughts on “Here’s a question for designers and knitters

  1. But isn’t reverse stockinette
    ppppp
    kkkkk
    ppppp
    kkkkk
    with the purl side being the right side?

    pppp
    pppp
    pppp etc… gives you garter, just like all knits do.

    The rib is right
    kpkpk
    pkpkp
    kpkpk etc… if there are an odd number of stitches. An even number of stitches will be seed stitch.

    right? I’m starting to doubt myself now!

  2. I think you are right, as long as you are knitting flat, and you are reading each row totally separately.

    So, here I go, knitting Row 1, starting with your bottom row above, reading R to L, OK knit all the way across.

    Now I’m turning the whole piece around, OK, reading Row 2 L-R, purling back across the WS.

    YES EVERYTHING’S GREAT!

    But, if I’m knitting in the round, on the RS only, then OK, here we go, knitting Round 1, purling Round 2, knitting Round 3, purling Round 4 – oh wait, now I have garter, not stst!

    Normally, I would say the chart should look like this for stst:

    * = k on RS, p on WS

    *****
    *****
    *****
    *****

    For Rib, it would look like:

    * = k on RS, p on WS
    o = p on RS, k on WS

    *O*O*O*
    *O*O*O*
    *O*O*O*
    *O*O*O*

    Thus my confusion.

    But I got a note from Freshgroundknits, since I got the pattern from her copy of the book:

    reading charts: the rows on the chart are numbered to match the rows in the written directions. The first (usually right-side) row is read right to left, and the flooing row is left to right. note: the individual symbols are always read as printed. Do not reverse them (a st indicated as a k st on a wrong-side row is still worked as a k st as it faces you on this row).

  3. Every chart I’ve ever come across has represented the sts as they appear from the right side – not how they should be worked. I think that makes sense because it means that the chart visually shows the pattern. As for whether to use either charts or written directions or both, I think that both is best. I prefer charts, but not everyone is able to read them. There are a surprising number of blind knitters out there who obviously can’t use charts.

  4. Ysolda –

    Right, that is what I am used to – a chart that reads from the front.

    Written directions can be useful too, and I hadn’t thought about blind knitters. I suppose there could be a charting mechanism developed for this contingency as well, but it would look considerably different from what we use.

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