I'd like some feedback, please!

When it comes to pattern writing, we all know there are different ways to express the same thing, just like there are US and UK terminologies, and as an independent designer I've had to work out what works for me and my customers. And I think the same goes for charts.

Basically, there are two schools of thought when it comes to charts: the symbols either represent how the knitting looks from the right side, or the symbols are a literal instruction of what you need to do. And I'm someone who reads the symbols literally. When I see a blank square I see that as 'no stitch'. The symbol, to me, determines what manoeuvre I need to perform. So when I write charts, I do them the same way. When you see a horizontal dash in my charts it means you need to purl, no matter whether it's a right or wrong side, it's just a purl.

I've found other knitters who work the same way, but it appears that we're in the minority. The other way really hurts my brain - all of that translating what the fabric looks like to what stitch should be used seems like too much effort to me. I get RS and WS muddled up, in the same way as I do left and right, or back and front (charting cables kills me). To me, my method is more logical. However, I do need to consider whether I should change my method to fit in with what appears to be most common...

Here's an example:

This is the chart for Ziggy, published about 18 months ago. This chart was created in Stitch & Motif Maker, which I abandoned recently because I've found a way of creating the charts that I'm much happier with. Regardless of how it was drawn though, the use of the symbols still remains the same. For those who have Going Straight, this method of charting will seem familiar.

It's a lace pattern in stocking stitch, hence the rows of purl stitches alternating with the rows of knit stitches and the lace stitches. The chart starts on a wrong side row, as do most of my sideways designs, so the graft is performed on the right side. The other way of doing it would be to have the knit symbol instead of the purl, to show that it's stocking stitch on the right side. Yet a few of my sideways designs are knitted inside out or are reversible, and so what it looks like on the right side as you are knitting isn't necessarily what it looks like on the right side when it's finished.

So, my dilemmas...

Changing methods isn't going to be easy, because I'll need to translate those that I've done so far, and try and teach myself to work the other way from now on. And of course my OCD self will want to make all of my charts the same, and I really can't justify that sort of work, especially for GS. But if I do change, now is the time to do it; it's been a lot of work reformatting my patterns but it will be even more further down the line. This dilemma only really applies to my sideways designs, the ones in the round are much easier because you're generally only working with one side of the fabric.

Do I continue to as I am, bucking the trend, and being a stubborn indie designer? Do I continue applying my logic and use literal symbols or should I convert & translate?

So, I ask you - as a knitter, have you had problems working with my charts or do you find them more intuitive? Does it matter to you, or are you happy either way so long as the key is clearly defined (which I do!)? What do you expect from a chart?

If you've come over from Ravelry, Facebook or Twitter, please leave your feedback as a comment here, to help me keep up. This has become an important issue for me, and I would really appreciate your honest feedback.


AuthorWoolly Wormhead