Knitting Nuances

A 2015 – 2018 Top 100 Knitting Blog!

Matching Instructions w/Charts – Are You Traditional? Vote Now.

I’ve been asked to design a sock for an annual July event … a week-long TV tradition that’s been around for 30 years. Mmmm?

I’m very excited because not only is it a creative opportunity, socks are also a means to apply existing Nuances in a new way and to introduce a few new ideas for you to play with.

Nuancing Your Knit Socks

A few months ago, I asked for volunteer sock toe testers and boy did you guys step up. The test results were phenomenal and thankfully, there was overwhelming approval for the new rounded toe shaping. These socks will also include a few tweaks to the German Short Row Heel to help eliminate some common issues.

The Showy Decrease

If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that the new designs will include the Showy Decrease. We’ve used it in eight different ways so far and we are so not done. There are a few more on the drawing board.

We’ll be using the Showy Decrease in a new way I call Drawing with Decreases. It involves using a variety of Showy Decreases (left, right, vertical, double and triple) to create shapes on a stockinette surface. A shape that might resemble a dangerous water-dwelling animal, as a random example. 😉

Drawing with Decreases results in charts with a few dozen rows, so I felt it was important to make tracking your progress as easy as possible.

Traditional Charts and Written Instructions

Knitting test sock after test sock left me with lots of time to think about the difference between charts and written instructions.

  • Charts are read from bottom to top and from right to left (on the Right Side and in the round). This mimics the direction of your knitting.
  • Written instructions are read from top to bottom and from left to right, just as you would read a book. It’s also in the opposite direction as chart reading.

Would you like to try something new?

This is what makes more sense to me.

Clearly labeled, written instructions that work along side of the chart. I think it would help non-chart readers to understand their benefit and help everyone to better track their progress. It also allows for the inclusion of a useful progress tracking system of check boxes.

Charts are read the same way, right to left on right sides and left to right on wrong sides. It’s the written instructions that have been flipped on their heads.

Blog Bonus

Want to give it a try? click the link below to download a PDF file for the Casita chart, legend and written instructions as above. And … because I couldn’t help myself, there is a draft chart for a scarf that uses this pattern stitch. If you guys knit it, I will write up a real pattern for it.

Take the Poll

I’m hesitant to introduce such a change without your feedback.

Do you think traditional top to bottom instruction reading is so ingrained that knitters will resist and dislike this format?

Or do you think that the flexibility that technology now gives us allows for updates in how we present patterns? I can’t wait to see what you think.

Also, if there is another designer you follow that does this all the time just let me know. I will reference them as well.

In the mean time I’ll be working on the pattern for the socks and keeping my toes out of the water. Have you figured out what the summer event is yet?

27 comments on “Matching Instructions w/Charts – Are You Traditional? Vote Now.

  1. Debbi Harris
    July 8, 2019

    I voted already but, particularly as a lefty whose knitting moves in the opposite direction of right handed knitting, I have to tell you that I think this is brilliant. I love the new toe shaping as well. Now I am kicking myself for not volunteering to be a test knitter but I was super busy at the time and take my test knitting commitments really seriously. I am looking forward to the sock pattern release…

    Well done, as always! Debbi Harris

    On Mon, Jul 8, 2019 at 12:45 PM Knitting Nuances wrote:

    > Laura Cunitz posted: ” I’ve been asked to design a sock for an annual July > event … a week-long TV tradition that’s been around for 30 years. Mmmm? > I’m very excited because not only is it a creative opportunity, socks are > also a means to apply existing Nuances in a new way” >

  2. rebecca
    July 8, 2019

    Love the new way of lining up the row number with the instructions!

  3. Sheila Bennett
    July 8, 2019

    I think your idea looks great for the matching chart and written. And I took a look at the Bonus download and have a question. What are the symbols in columns 2, 3, 43, and 44 of the Casita Stitch Scarf Draft?

    • Laura Cunitz
      July 8, 2019

      I realized I forgot that symbol and updated the file. It’s for the Hath St Edge which is our very top blog post ever. Try to download it again. Sorry!

  4. Viv
    July 8, 2019

    This is brilliant! I love working from charts; but sometimes I need to refer to the written instructions and having them next to the corresponding line on a chart would sure save me from going hunting within the pattern pages. Love this!

  5. Viv
    July 8, 2019

    Just thinking… in the charts you get to see the fabric you’re creating but in the written directions you don’t see anything, so…why not go a step further and actually write how you’re supposed to work? I think your idea is excellent. A definite winner 🙂

  6. Julia Martin
    July 8, 2019


    Nowhere in the poll that’s supposed to indicate whether people like side-by-side charts and written instructions can I find anything that indicates whether I have reservations about this, so I’m getting in touch this way.

    I actually have three reservations:

    1. How will this be possible if the pattern repeat is a wide one? My understanding is that a lot of knitters print directions and might therefore have trouble printing chart-and-writen directions out, even if they use landscape mode. Further, a lot of knitters seem to be confused about the concept of a repeat, and for them, charts that show whatever edge stitches or partial repeats need to be worked are absolutely necessary, which makes both the. charts and the written directions even wider.

    2. While at first this seemed like a great idea, suddenly I began to wonder if it was actually useful as anything but a learning tool. For users like me, who usually won’t bother with written instructions, they’re superfluous. For those who are frightened of charts, they’ll probably default to the written instructions and ignore the chart. So it would seem that the utility of this format is mainly for those who would like to learn how to read a chart. This could be achieved by a page or so of samples like the one you’ve given below, explicitly labeled as a learning tool, rather than using this technique for pattern after pattern.

    3. Well sorry, but I can’t remember what number 3 actually was. 🙂 But as for the top-down/bottom-up question,I think that those who are wedded to written instructions might or might not be willing to change. Or rather, some would, but I’m afraid many wouldn’t. I belong to Knitting Paradise and am always amazed by the number by the number of people who swear that they can’t possibly change their approach.

    On the other hand, I’m probably not a good example of the users you’re aiming your stuff at. I do all my own designing, though only for myself, and I’ve been doing so for at least 45 years. So I realize the above probably needs to be taken with a large pinch of salt, but there it is anyway.

    Thanks for all your stuff. I love it and always, always read your emails and attendant posts. Please keep them coming.


    Julie Martin > >

    • Laura Cunitz
      July 8, 2019

      Sounds like a chart only page would continue to be helpful.

  7. Terri Sawyer
    July 8, 2019

    I cannot go to your blog. My computer tells me it cannot locate your IP address.

  8. Kate Johnson
    July 8, 2019

    The chart putting row one at the bottom of the written instructions makes more sense and is less confusing. On the other hand, I am a devotee of charts b/c I can see where I came from and where I am going. Other people want you to hold their hand and yell them where to go. I Ned to wrap my head around charts in the beginning of most lace patterns but once you take the time and effort to do that, it is so much easier. Finally, I am a visual learner and don’t care for the verbiage. By the time I get to end of the sentence I starting to forget where I am supposed to go. I like to mark out each repeat so I can do a visual check as I go. I hate tinking and frogging.
    Getting off my soapbox now.

  9. p
    July 8, 2019

    I like this very much, in fact this is what I often do. But I have one criticism – for me even numbered rows are WS rows. This is entrenched deep, deep, in my brain. I’ve encountered some patterns where this was not the case, and it was a pain every time I put my knitting down. I even put these arrows → ← before the semicolon.

    • Laura Cunitz
      July 8, 2019

      Yes, I realize that with the row numbers. My issue is that the Showy Decrease starts on a WS row and when I link repeat rows up it means I have to start with a 1 on the wrong side. I will continue to noodle on this.

    • valmac47
      July 9, 2019

      Many patterns I’ve seen designate the first row as ‘the set up row’ if you did that, row one could then be RS. – would that work?

  10. M-R
    July 8, 2019

    I can’t remember how I learned to knit, but it was without charts. And like everything else from back then (dunno when), I’m unable to break the habit of simply reading instructions. However, clever and beautiful Laura, I can and do refer to a chart if I find myself in times of trouble – sorry, Beatles ! – and can’t work out what’s meant. So in fact I may have voted wrongly, I’ve just realized. Bummer.
    Please delete my no. 1 and relplace it with a no. 2. ??? Do I mean no. 3 ?
    This is more difficult than I thought …

  11. Lynn
    July 8, 2019

    OMG! I can’t believe I never thought of doing this! I’m so excited to try it out. Thank you for your cleverness and persistence in developing all these new ideas. THIS one is a definite keeper!

  12. Pat
    July 8, 2019

    My biggest issue with charts is that there is no set of standard symbols. I would love to learn to knit from a chart, but everyone has a little tweak on what the symbols mean.
    I have crocheted for 40 years and I use charts because symbols are standard throughout.
    I hope this ides of written instructions next to the chart, can help me use your charts a bit easier.

    • Laura Cunitz
      July 8, 2019

      Pat, You are so right. As designers, we are subject to the software that we use. Some magazines have their own standards and some programs are too expensive for individual use.

  13. Rita
    July 8, 2019

    The only reason I said ‘maybe’ is because it would depend on the pattern and how details the written instructions are. If they can be viewed side by side, yes, for sure. If not, then the written instructions would be best in order.

  14. Jessica-Jean
    July 8, 2019

    Before I’d ever heard of or seen a knitting chart, I needed to make my own. I wanted to work multiple cables across a solid fabric. Naturally, the cables I wanted to use all crossed on different rows and had varying lengths of the repeat. So, coloured pencils, graph paper, eraser, and did my own chart. LOADS easier than flipping pages in my stitch book and trying to keep track of which row I was on on which cable!! YES, a chart with line-by-line text on the same line as the row being worked – i.e. from bottom to top – would be absolutely wonderful!
    Thinking about it, I’m surprised no one has yet done it.

  15. Anita
    July 8, 2019

    I like your idea. To me, it’s a quick way to double check that I’m knitting the correct sequence.

  16. Kerry
    July 9, 2019

    I didn’t vote because “it depends”. In your example the written instructions are right beside the chart – in that case it DEFINITELY makes sense to have row 1 at the bottom in the written instructions. But if they were not side by side, I think I would still like to read the written instructions in a downwards direction.

    (BTW – I use charts by preference, after years of saying “I can’t read charts” and wonder why it took me so long to convert!)

    And like Jessica-Jean above, I am left wondering why no one has done it before (and why I didn’t realise this was a missing helpful way of doing things.)

  17. Steffanie L
    July 9, 2019

    I think this would be especially helpful to newer knitters. It’s a great way for them to learn how to read charts and get used to what they’re seeing.

  18. Fran
    July 9, 2019

    I love the new idea! I don’t use charts often, so having the written instructions side-by-side would be helpful to newbies.

  19. Darla Carroll
    July 12, 2019

    That sounds great! It should always be that way Thanks

  20. Cindy
    July 15, 2019

    I’m a reader and therefore picture only instructions frustrate me (yes, IKEA should add some hints to their directions!) I prefer written directions because they tell me what to do and how many to count, without me having to continue to count the squares (over and over) and (relook up) the reference a symbols. (Also the reason counted cross stitch is not relaxing.) But, have the chart next to the written directions would help me learn to understand charts for when a pattern only has a chart, although I would still write out the directions. Thanks for doing both!!

  21. Pingback: A Shiver of Sharks Socks | Knitting Nuances

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