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A finished blanket!

Pinkie-Blanket4

Previous post, here.
Pattern: Pinkie Blanket, by Juli Ridl, available for free on Ravelry
Yarn: 3.5 skeins of Berroco Comfort Worsted, in Seedling, col. 9740
Notes:  My finished size is slightly rectangle, 35″ wide by 37″ long.  I did have about a half of a skein left but I liked how it looked as it was, so I decided to finish up.  I used worsted weight yarn on a size 10 needle, casting on 120 stitches, totaPinkie-Blanket5l.

Now for the tips and tricks portion of our program…. I had more than one person say that they loved how my blanket was coming out, but they couldn’t knit the pattern because they can’t read a chart. 

First, let me say that if you wanted to get into reading a chart, a pattern like this is a good place to start.  You are knitting the same things over and over again so that you can settle into the pattern a bit and relax.  In this particular pattern there is a chart for ONE repeat of the leaf, and then a chart for the WHOLE blanket.  There is a chart “key” that tells you what the symbols mean.  You also know that there are 6 garter stitches at the beginning and end of the row, for an edging. 

This is how I organize my brain –

  1. I place a marker at either end to tell me where to knit garter stitch.  That way I can forget about keeping track of them!  I know that the first and last 6 stitches will be knit no matter what.
  2. On this chart, every second row is empty boxes aaaaaaall the way across.  That means, all I have to do is purl back on the wrong side row (except the garter edgings).  So I can relax my brain here, also!  I knit in pattern across the front, then relax on the purl-back row.
  3. I get started using the smaller leaf chart because it looks less confusing and intimidating.  It repeats across the row (except for the garter edgings).  When I have finished knitting a whole leaf I check the BIG chart to see how the second row of leaves start out.  Then, after I get started, I switch back to the little chart again. 
  4. I use a post-it or other repositionable method for keeping a straight line across my chart.  I keep it above where I am on the chart, so that I can see the row I’m working on as well as the rows I just completed below.  It helps to double check that you haven’t lost a stitch and shifted over in the pattern.
  5. Finally, if you can’t see a printed chart very well, bring somewhere and have an enlarged photocopy made.  If anyone gives you flack about copyright, you tell them that you are allowed to make an enlarged working copy of your pattern, since you own it! 

I think a lot of people get frightened by charts because they look different from what they are used to using.  But, if you think about it, at some point you had to learn that k2tog means knit 2 together – it is not a huge stretch to also learn that a slash like this / also means k2tog.  I hope I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings by pointing out that if we really wanted to knit from a chart, there’s nothing stopping us – we just don’t feel like learning something new.  That’s ok, if you don’t really want to make this pattern.  But why not learn something new?!  It is good for you! Charts enable you to knit through a pattern that would otherwise take pages and pages to write out.  From a publishing perspective, if you never learn to read a chart you will miss out on hundreds of patterns that try to save paper by printing a chart instead of written directions. 

Weeeeell, I guess that was a lecture as well as some tips and tricks.  Does that help at all?  Should I go into more depth on reading charts?  There are some good books on the subject, Wendy Knits has a wonderful blog post, and we’re always available to help you in person, if you need us!

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