words and charts

I’ve found it extremely hard to start a project in the last few weeks. In general, casting on is probably my least favorite part of knitting – you know how scraggly and uneven everything looks for the first few rows? And how you need to struggle to get your needle through those too-tight stitches of the first row? And how you have to be super-careful to join your stitches in the round the right way, rather than creating a moebius loop unintentionally? And how that connection is always kind of baggy? Yes, all this can be made easier or fixed later on, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that starting is fiddly! Additionally, when you’re under stress to the extent that I’ve been in the last few weeks, the last thing you want to be doing is struggling with fiddly beginnings. But I missed knitting oh-so-much. So what could I do? I was lost, until I remembered my biggest shame – something that has carried the work-in-progress label for about a year and a half, and thad hadn’t been touched in a loooong time. It’s quite a simple pattern, actually the reason why I had abandoned it was out of pure boredom, so it would be perfect for these stressful times. And – no beggining was necessary! Yay!

The pattern is Bobble Scarf by Ann Budd. I basically stuck to it religiously, apart from replacing the single rib for seed stitch. It gave the scarf a different texture, and made it so incredibly rich looking. I am absolutely thrilled with this mod, and so happy I made it! I can’t even remember now if I had done it on purpose or had just happened to make a mistake (I was a very novice knitter when I was starting this) and then liked it, but who cares anymore anyway…

Don’t you just love the texture?

As soon as I got my hands on it again, I started making good progress. But one thing was bothering me. The chart is humongous, with tiny characters, and involved a lot of counting every few rows. I really thought it could have been presented in a much better way. So I decided to write out the instructions for myself. I was going to do it in stages, a bit at a time, but it actually ended up taking me only 10 minutes. Here’s the before…

… and the after photo.

That’s the thing! Look how simple it is. And while it was in chart form, I would have to pause my knitting every three rows to count on which stitch I had to make the bobble. The columns weren’t even numbered so as to make it easier! I’m so happy I decided to do this, and my knitting has been much faster because of it. I don’t have anything against charts in general (I used to be scared of them, but I have since become very comfortable with them), but this one is simply counter-productive. The only thing it’s useful for is checking that your pattern of bobbles is coming out in the shapes (left-pointing triangles) that it should. But for the actual knitting itself, the written instructions are much easier (and quicker) to follow.

I’m making it for a friend, who wanted a huge scarf, and she’ll definitely get what she wished for. I have another three 100g skeins to go through! But now that I have my written instructions and newly-discovered enthusiasm, I’m confident that I can have it done in a jiffy! Here’s one color photo as well – I think the richness of the stitch combined with the purple makes it look kind of regal, don’t you agree? :)

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About fridica

I started knitting completely by accident, when I was visiting my parents for a holiday in 2008. On a boring Sunday afternoon, I decided to dig through their stash of books to see if there was anything interesting to take back to my apartment. A knitting manual happened to be one of the books I found. I got curious, my mom immediately dug out her old needles and yarn stash (which she hadn’t used in a decade at least), and in a few minutes we were both casting on - she by memory, I by following the instructions from the book… :) Since I normally prefer learning from books, this was ideal.. I took the book home with me, and very very soon - I was an addict.

14 thoughts on “words and charts

  1. Oh i love it i love it! Thanks so much for the link – i’m completely and utterly out of touch with knitting world at the moment but that’s just brilliant. I love the stitch pattern you used too. You are a good friend indeed!

    • You’re more than welcome, and thanks for the compliments – you make me blush :)
      I forgot to write in the post – the pattern is free! If you’re aiming for something warm to wrap yourself in, but with a little interest, I highly recommend it! Especially with the single rib, which is the original pattern stitch, I can imagine it would be super-stretchy and wrappy. :)

    • I find that you have to get the right needle size and yarn weight combination though! I guess that goes for all stitches :) but I can pull off some of them to look good even if I’m using needles that are far too big for them. With seed stitch, for it to look perfectly yummy, you need to find that needle size that is ‘just right’. :)

  2. So much work has gone into this! Well done on your progress so far!

    re casting on: have you tried casting on with two needles? That makes the stitches much easier to knit off. Also a long tail cast on (particularly if knitted a bit looser) is much more elastic than a knitted on, let alone a looped on cast on. I’d be interested to know how you find those different ones.
    re joining: I don’t bother to check if it’s all okay on joining for the first row and only check at my second joined row: you have a bit more dangling from your needle so it’s easier to see if you’ve got a Moebius twist going on. It doesn’t matter if the thread is a bit twisted in your first round.

    • Thank you for your suggestions! Actually, I always use the long tail cast-on, it’s the one I find the easiest so I stick to it, but knitting that first row is still a tad bit tighter than the rest.

  3. Beautiful! Lovely texture and color! Thanks for the link, it’s definitely going in my queue.

    I don’t like the first rows of a project either, for me it’s the socks that are the worst. The cast on edge has to be really loose, but the loose stitches slip off the dpns. I’ve accidentally dropped half my stitches many times and then I have to do it all over again. I guess I could use larger needles, but I always forget :)

  4. I do so love it when I rediscover an old flame like that! The scarf is gorgeous! I’m sure your friend will cherish it.

    And yes, new projects are fiddly, though I confess that I find the beginning to be rather exhilarating. :)


  5. Beautiful! I hate casting on just because I always get interrupted when counting! I find it very interesting that you wrote out instructions. I can only work with charts, but I’ve just discovered that most crocheters and knitters prefer written instructions!

    • The counting, oh I forgot the counting! Yesss!
      I don’t mind charts, but really, this one is nonsensical, because the pattern is way too simple and way too big for a chart – it just makes you pause and count large numbers all the time, then count them again as you’re knitting.

  6. Pingback: Loop « fridica

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