Simple Knitting Tips: Know Your Chart

Lately I've been working on charting some new designs.  I could just write them out "k2, p2, k5, p2...." and I probably will, but some designs are just so much easier to knit using a chart rather than written directions.  Some new (and not so new) knitters shy away from charts as being too complicated and hard to follow.  I understand, I really do.  What makes it even more of a challenge is that not all chart symbols are universal.  Sometimes " I " means knit and sometimes " . "  means knit.  What?? Confusion! Chaos!! Rioting in the streets!!!

Naturally, I have an easy way to stop the madness:


I have a folder of bookmarks on my browser where I keep bookmarks to sites with lists of different types of knitting symbols.  If the chart I am using doesn't make sense, then one of these knitting sites is bound to help.  

The ABC's


Vogue Knitting

Craft Yarn Council


Granted, most patterns you work with should have a key to the symbols used in their chart.  If you get stuck, or if you're just learning the fine art of chart reading, a little help can go a long way.   Also, don't be afraid to try a pattern just because it has a chart.  Just take it one stitch at a time, use your resources, ask for help and go as slow as you need to.  Oh, and one more thing....don't forget to have fun!

Simple Knitting Tips: Where is your yarn??


I was peacefully knitting myself a pair of my (Mostly) Ridge Rib Socks one day, when I glanced down at my needles to see that the yarn was not where I thought it was, and consequently not where it should have been. And I thought, it's a good thing I caught this because it would have made a mess that would have been hard to trace, diagnose, and fix. And naturally it turned into a blog post. Naturally. 

How many mistakes have been made--and could have been avoided--because our yarn was not where it should have been. This applies to both the working yarn and the tail yarn. 

Some scenarios: 

1. Knitting with the tail. 
One of the first things we teach beginners, yet seasoned veterans still find themselves doing this occasionally. Awkward.
2. Working yarn is in the wrong place for knit stitch or purl stitch. 

Yarn front to purl, yarn back to knit.  Unless the directions say otherwise--in so many words.

3. Yarn in the cat's mouth. 
Pets and knitting is not always a happy mix.  I have a friend who has cats who will dig in the knitting bag for yarn then run off with it.  Needless to say, she has to use knitting bags with zippers!

4. Yarn caught in a dpn. 
This is what happened to spark this blog post.  I was two stitches into the pattern on one needle and must have set the sock down and picked it back up and when I did, the working yarn had gotten wrapped around the needle not in use.  Because the yarn was dark, (and the needles were, too, come to think of it), I didn't see what was going on immediately.  My Spidey senses were tingling though and I've learned to pay attention to them. They were asking me, "Where is your yarn?!?!"

5. Yarn wrapped too many times around the needle.
Intentional yarn-overs are lovely things, aren't they?  The unintentional kind are not. I've seen the yarn wrapped too many times before working the rest of the stitch as a result of paying too little attention to the process of the stitch.  And maybe also a result of there being an adult beverage in range.  Just maybe.

 These are only a few examples--I would love to hear from you other scenarios so we can get the word out about this insidious problem.  OK, maybe not insidious, but certainly pernicious, right?

Also, the (Mostly)Ridge Rib Sock pattern is a free pattern, available to download from Ravelry HERE.