As the title suggests, this post is about overcoming my Fear (with a capital F) of charts.
I love the look of lace projects, but have shied away from them because, let's be honest, charts scare the crap out of me. The symbols confuse me. I get confused about which direction to read the chart - do you read all of the lines right to left, or are some left to right, or does it depend on what side of the work you're on? And why do you start at the bottom of the chart? Why wouldn't you start at the top, on the left, just like when you're reading a book? It makes no sense to me!
Plain and simple, I get intimidated by charts. But, I hope to someday knit a beautiful lace shawl, so I decided it was time to get over my fear once and for all. I am taking baby steps though. No need to get ahead of ourselves here. As I mentioned last week, I'm knitting a Cladonia Shawl as a part of the MadForMeSAL. It's a mostly stockinette semi-circular shawl with a lace border. See, baby steps - just a lace border to start.
So, once I conquered row one, I figured it was smooth sailing, right? WRONG! Starting row two - which way do you read the chart again? Do you start on the left or the right? Cue panic. Wait - just read the written instructions. Oh, you start on the right again this time. Okay. Whew, I just did that, I can do it again. And I did.
Then I got to row six and realized one of my sections only had 16 stitches - it's supposed to have 17. Cue panic, again. I started to work my way back to the beginning of the row, when I realized I'd dropped a yarn-over. Thankfully, that's an easy fix. It could have been a lot worse, but of course I started to doubt that I could even work from a chart. In reality, dropping a single stitch happens to everyone and they're usually easy to fix.
I'm about halfway finished with the lace section now. While I still prefer written instructions, I think I finally figured out charts. Except for maybe next time, when I have to read all of the even rows left to right and all of the odd rows right to left.
So, where do you stand on the great chart debate? Are you strictly a written instructions kind of knitter? Or do you use charts? Please tell me I'm not alone in my fear of charts.