Rhymes With Fuchsia

Friday, April 06, 2007

Do You Want Charts With That?

The pattern for the lace scarf is up, with a link in the sidebar. Unlike its predecessors, it gets a fancy name, because I enjoyed making it so much, not to mention because I managed to think of one. The scarf went home from the auction last Saturday night with Bernadette.

She really liked it and was kind enough to model it for me, even though, as she pointed out, it didn't go too well with the bandanna (the auction had a cowboy theme this year).

It dawned on me as I was writing out the pattern that I really don't know how to write patterns. I live in fear that I will be unmasked for the fraud that I am, or, worse, that some poor innocent, by faithfully following what I believe to be a scarf pattern, will end up with a felted badger.

I'm therefore taking an informal poll: what information do you expect to find in a pattern? Do you prefer charts or written-out instructions? If (as in this case) the pattern consists of several stitch patterns side by side, do you just need to know what the stitch patterns are and how to arrange them, or do you like everything spelled out?

It further dawns on me that I am still in possession of some sock yarn I've been trying valiantly to give away for some time now, so I will randomly choose one lucky poll respondent to as its new owner. (I'm probably making it sound like I'm trying to palm off some dreadful scratchy acrylic, but it's really perfectly respectable yarn, Wildfoote in the Ragtime colorway.)


  • That scarf is just beautiful! And the name is genius too. You should be proud!

    By Anonymous Cheryl, at 6:41 PM  

  • I just took a look at the pattern and it looks great! I doubt anyone could make a badger from a pattern that nice. Thanks for sharing it and it looks fabulous!

    By Blogger Margene, at 6:59 PM  

  • I like to see both charts and written instructions. It gives me two versions of the pattern to compare. Sometimes an instruction makes more sense in words, sometimes in chart symbols. For me, anyway.

    On the other hand, if you had two or three different stitch patterns, it would be adequate to provide separate charts for each, but to tell me how many to cast on, and what order to work them in.

    I do think that increases the difficulty of the pattern slightly, though, because it requires a little more thinking on the part of the knitter. Not an issue for me, but it might scare off some newer knitters.

    By Blogger Jen, at 7:03 PM  

  • It's a beautiful scarf (how much did Bernadette pay? enquiring minds want to know), and the pattern looks clear and well written.

    I really like the picture of Miss B wearing the scarf ... looks as though she's about to start declaiming.

    By Blogger Ruth, at 10:11 PM  

  • re: poll. I expect to find a yarn weight, needle size, gauge, dimensions/size of finished object. I like to have both the chart and the written instructions and it should be written out clearly such that a complete beginner could follow it. Nothing irks me so much as short cuts in pattern writing but I suspect this comes from a background of scientific writing (and the notion that someone should be able to repeat my experiment exactly as I conducted it and get the same results) as clearly most knitting pattern writers disagree with me. ;)

    Oh and beautiful scarf as is usual!

    By Blogger Julie, at 6:28 AM  

  • I like some written instructions to get me going - recommended yarn, gauge, dimensions, etc. Then I'm all about the charts.

    By Blogger Carole Knits, at 7:25 AM  

  • allenged:) I can't(won't ) read charts so I always use patterns that have written instructions alongside or instead of charts

    By Blogger ambermoggie, at 12:14 PM  

  • I am a word person so written instructions are good for me. A chart should be included so that those who understand the little / * \\ etc can use those pesky charts. I agree with Julie though, it should be very clear and if there is a "funny" stitch it should be VERY clearly spelt out so that a novice can do it (or at least fake it). Great scarf - love the color.

    By Anonymous Debbi, at 12:28 AM  

  • I prefer charts, although if the written instructions are there I don't mind. Although when they don't match, much confusion arises! I just can't keep track of where I am in a long line of written instructions, although if the repeat is short (say 10 sts or so) it's fine.

    By Blogger Stariel, at 12:33 PM  

  • I'm a new enough knitter that I like to have things spelled out clearly.

    I haven't worked with many charted patterns, and they all had written instructions too, so I'm not sure if I have a preference.

    The scarf is beautiful!

    By Blogger ikkinlala, at 7:11 PM  

  • Delurking.

    I am a fairly new knitter and I mainly use the written instructions but when I have questions I next look to the charts.

    In instructions I look for clear delineations between different parts of the item (armhole shaping, button band) so that I know where I am in the pattern. Because I am inexperienced, I blindly follow the pattern and hope that whatever seems strange will later (after years of knitting) make sense.

    By Anonymous Sara, at 7:55 AM  

  • I would like the pattern for the felted badger, please.

    Some people need to be told what to do with every stitch that is knitted. Some people just want to be pointed in the right direction and given a pat on the back. I would go for the seperate chart for each pattern, a good, clear photo of the finished piece, a record of yarn, needle size and gauge, and any tips or suggestions you might have for success. And a pat on the back, please.

    By Blogger Roxie, at 9:24 AM  

  • Charts. Charts charts charts. And charts. Instructions are good, especially if there are tricky bits in the pattern, but I'm definitely a Chart Person first and foremost.

    Thank you so much for sharing your lovely scarf pattern! I wonder if I have anything suitable in stash... hmm.

    By Blogger Beth S., at 11:07 AM  

  • The scarf is lovely, indeed. And I'm also interested in the answers to your poll myself. For me, personally, I often write my patterns out as charts with text instructions interspersed as needed. but I suspect that would be difficult to get used to. Were I writing for others to follow, I expect I'd go with charts and instructions so folks could compare if they needed to. Twice the work putting the pattern together, then, hmm?

    By Blogger SheepsPyjamas, at 4:20 PM  

  • Oh, and I'd be perfectly happy with the "tell me how many sts to cast on, then give me separate charts for each stitch pattern", if it was easier to plot them out that way...

    By Blogger SheepsPyjamas, at 4:22 PM  

  • See? When you care, there's always something you can do! What a beautiful gesture. It's not my partcular preference, but so many knit differently, it may be best to have both. It then covers everyone:)

    By Blogger Carol, at 10:07 PM  

  • I live in fear that I will be unmasked for the fraud that I am, or, worse, that some poor innocent, by faithfully following what I believe to be a scarf pattern, will end up with a felted badger.

    There are worse things in this world than felted badgers.

    As far as what I like in a pattern, I like it to be totally written out. I like crossing things off and such. A picture is helpful, a chart is a nice reference, but I like my instructions clearly spelled out on the page.

    By Blogger Jena the yarn harpy, at 3:56 PM  

  • Beautiful scarf!

    OK... late poll entry here.
    What do I want in a pattern? CHARTS! Well, charts if it's a long repeat. I lose my place if it's a long string of K2, P2tog, yo, etc... Short repeats could be written out. I like enough writing to know what's going on, yarn weight, yardage (not the number of skeins, but a generous estimate of actually what you actually used), gauge, fabric 'type' (firm, soft?). A schematic showing dimensions of blocked pieces. And charts of the stitch patterns with a key to the symbols.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:46 PM  

  • If it's either, or then I'm going to have to vote for charts.

    By Anonymous Lynne, at 9:51 AM  

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