Not long ago, I went north to Ohio to visit with my mom for a week. I looked forward to getting a lot done on her Christmas present, but instead reviewed the three R’s of knitting: rip, restart, repeat. The pattern that I’m working on is very nicely written, but it’s clear to me that I’m not on the same brainwave with the author. Some designers make immediate sense to me (Cat Bordhi springs to mind), and some seem to be speaking another dialect. I *think* I understand, but then I go off and knit something that looks nothing like the photo. Or, I suddenly have the wrong number of stitches in a section. Rip, restart, repeat.
My current project is the Beech Leaf Vest from Fiddlesticks Knitting. It’s gorgeous, and entirely just what I want for my mom’s vest. However, each time I tried to knit the lace bits, it just came out wrong. I had a niggling thought that the chart looked a little funny when I started. It looked like the even rows were written sort of backwards. But, I’ve knit a few charted things before, so I pressed on without knitting a small swatch of the lace design (yeah, I know.) After the project still looked funny after a few restarts of several rows, I went searching for anyone else having trouble with Fiddlesticks charts. No mention of trouble with the charts on Ravelry, the Fiddlesticks FAQ, or any Googly site I could find. Rather than asking a question and proving myself an incompetent knitter, I pressed on (yeah, I know.)
Several re-knits and a full pattern repeat later, I figured out what was going on after (ahem) making a small swatch of the lace design. Indeed, the chart is made to be read literally. That is to say, the chart is NOT a picture of what the lace will look like on the right side. Instead, they’ve handily made every even-numbered row show exactly what you knit. You still read it left to right, but a purl symbol means a purl, not “knit on the wrong side so it looks like a purl on the right side.” Not necessarily a bad thing, but it would be nice if it were noted somewhere. I’m going to write the nice people at Fiddlesticks with this suggestion.
But, if you ever need a cute lace pattern that looks kind of like acorns, just read the beech leaf chart as if it’s a “right side view” chart.
Edited to add: I received a nice note from the pattern designer this morning (now that’s service!) She understands my confusion, and may make a sort of ‘knit stitches AS THEY APPER’ sort of note in the future. Yay! Until that day, I hope my confession here may help any other knitters who are out there Googling for answers.