Advice please, plus a wee SALE!

cable knitting charts

I buy a lot of patterns I may or may not ever knit. In many cases it’s sort of like paying a museum fee — a way of showing my appreciation for the work, regardless of whether I plan to knit it. I also read them for fun and education; my mind has worked its way through many more patterns than my fingers ever have. When I bought Stonecutter the other night it was both of those things, plus I just really wanted to see what the charts looked like. Holy. Moly. That two-page chart on the chair up there is just the beginning! So now I’m wondering how — literally, logistically — one would keep track of one’s place as one worked across those numerous, loooong, teeny-tiny rows. I’m sure many of you have brilliant tricks up your sleeve for that, so please weigh in. Because I really do think I’m casting on for this one of these days. I can’t resist its pull.

Also, some SHOP NEWS:

1) The wildly popular leather tool pouches are back in stock. The backorders have all been filled, leaving available (at present) five blue, five rust and four tan. Based on how quickly the last batch went, I advise not hesitating. And the sold-out wooden gauge rulers are also back in stock.

2) I’m having a teensy SALE! It’s time to clear out some shelf space for new goodies coming in, so I’ve marked down a few items: the last of the discontinued cedar sachets, some stray partner-less bushel baskets, and Taproot. Again, very limited quantities.

3) Among the fabulous Fringe Supply Co. stockists are now Shabby Sheep in Dallas TX, Makers’ Mercantile in Kent WA and Fiddlehead Yarns in Kenosha WI. To see if there’s a shop near you, check the Stockists page. And if you’re a shop owner interested in carrying Fringe totes this fall/holiday, please get your orders in early!

Thanks everybody — have a great weekend. And in addition to the question above, as always, I’d love to hear about what you’re making …


51 thoughts on “Advice please, plus a wee SALE!

  1. Not exactly what you were asking, but related to complicated charts: for repeats that have a lot of rows and numerous types of cable crosses, I will put the rows on index cards and work through them in order. Easier than marking the row with a sticky note (for me anyway).

    I’ve not tried one of these, but it might be helpful:
    It might be too small though for a chart of that size.

  2. I’ve always been a fan of the sticky note too, but with something this long I’d try the highlighter tape that comes on a roll like scotch tape. You could pull off a strip as long as you needed.

    • I have some of that, but would have to cut it down — a piece would cover four or five of these tiny rows. But that could be done, and is probably my best bet.

      Can you talk about how you use sticky notes with charts, though? Do you mean just lay one edge along the row you’re working (in the event the chart is smaller than the sticky).

  3. I agree with Francis– this chart calls for highlighter tape! I’m so crazy, I’d probably even tape the sheets together and laminate them or something. :)
    I love your ‘museum fee’ mentality when it comes to patterns. I think I may have to adopt this as well to show support for designers I love.

    • Yes, I place a few stickies under the row I’m working on. Like I’m underlining it. Many people put it over the row so they can see the part they have knitted. But I prefer to see it underlined. And if you use more than one post it and one comes off, you still know what row you are on. When I use tape, I do not highlight the row but underline it. Then you wouldn’t have to cut.

  4. I was having similar feelings about Timberline. It’s not as complicated but still very intense. And I usually like to keep my patterns on my iphone. I had to print this one. I’m thinking maybe a paper in lieu of a post-it attached with a paperclip?

  5. If the charts create a symmetrical pattern, I’d just work the page on the right twice. I’d do it exactly as written until I got to the center, then go back along that same row in the reverse order. Every now & then you’ll come across a pattern that uses opposite decreases/cables for the left & right charts, but that’s not really hard to keep track of. Then all you’d need is one of the magnetic chart keepers & you’d be good to go!
    Other than that, print out a whack of copies & use a black crayon to color through every row you complete. :D

  6. I like the idea of laminating it … you could use dry-erase markers to highlight the row and mark the stitch you’re on if you pause, then erase the marks on that row and highlight the next as you move to it.

  7. I use the Knit Companion app. It works really well for chart patterns. Their free app lets you see how it works and you can decide if it will work for you. The paid version allows you to set up your own patterns. Highly recommend it. I don’t knit any pattern without it.

  8. Get this: at your local embroidery store. It’s a magnetic chart holder that’s big enough to hold both charts at once.
    Then get several row counters that stay on your needle in different colors for each different cable.
    When you set up your cable repeats, use stitch markers in the same colors as your row counters. On the chart, outline the repeats in the same colors.
    One of my students is dyslexic and blind in one eye yet knits the most complicated cable and/or lace patterns once we came up with the method of coordinating markers, counters and chart markings.
    I use it now — makes something like Stonecutter into something more like Zen knitting.

    • I agree with Carol, I have been using KnitCompanion for quite some time now, and I love it…myself being a tech knitter and custom knitting for clients it has saved me countless hours…it was just featured in USA Today as a “top pick” for most used apps…please check it out you won’t be sorry.

  9. Now that I’ve taken care of my shopping (ahem), here’s my take: Once you’re a few rows in, you’ll be able to tell where you are. This sounds crazy, and I would not have believed it before, but I’m almost finished knitting a twisty-turning cabled sweater (Burrard – not quite this detailed, but not far off) and I was super intimidated, but once you get into it you’ll get a sense of the rhythm of the cables and you’ll be able to see where you are.

    Using a ruler to slide along above the row you’re on (so you can see what rows you’ve done, but no be distracted by the rows to come) is also useful, as is checking off each row in the chart after you’ve knit it. It you’re going to repeat the chard multiple times, switch colours for subsequent repeats (ie: blue checks for the first repeat, red for the second, etc.) so you don’t get confused.

    Mostly though, just be confident! It will be gorgeous.

    • I do think that’s the nice thing about a project like this one: You’re basically painting a big picture (or putting together a puzzle) so it’s easier to see what’s happening — and where you’ve gone wrong, if you do.

      At least in theory …

      (And thanks for the order!)

  10. There is a magnetic board they sell with a magnetic ruler that you slide up and down to highlight the row you are working on. I have one but I just have too many projects that need it. Another thing I would have to do is enlarge that chart in sections, just to be able to read it!!

  11. clear sheet protectors and blue 3M painters tape to mark my row! I put one pattern page in either side of the sheet protector and and flip when I reach the center of the chart–

  12. i try to support pattern makers too, and as a result have far more patterns (and books) than i will ever knit from. ah well!

    i would have to enlarge that chart, and like tracey above i put my patterns in clear sheet protectors and mark rows with the blue repositionable painters tape. i’ve tried every other way known and this is by far my favorite. for several reasons: it’s very portable, folds up in your knitting bag easily (magnet boards do not) the tape stays put and one piece, moving to mark each line, has worked all the way through one project. i took a lace shawl on a three week trip to africa and the one piece of tape was moved a zillion times as the pattern repeated. the tape is amazing! i position it directly above the line i’m working on so to be able to read the pattern below and stay on track. no more bumped off magnets and cumbersome boards. sometimes row counters are used in conjunction, i like the locking kind, to be safe. good luck with stonecutter!

  13. To me knitting is very therapeutic. Most of the designs have a repeat of patterns which when you start to knit becomes rhythm. Here is how I approach a seemingly complicated pattern:

    1. I view the pattern as expanding an equation or doing geometric proof. The design is the sum of its parts. I love the index card method. You can see an example of it here: It will be a lot easier to take in once it has been broken down to piece meal information.

    2. Once it has been broken down then try to find its rhythm. It will transform into a music score. The filler stitches which acts like the base will have a same rate of repeats. It hums low but guides you through the pattern. The detailed cable/embellishments will be like the melody nested in each section. After 2-3 pattern repeats your hand and brain will naturally follow the beat of the design.
    When I did my first serious cable I used the knit counter lite app. It’s free and will help keep track each of your sub-patterns in relation to other. You can also add in as many increase/decrease warnings as you like. It saved my life. That first serious cable sweater had three separate cable pattern all with different row and stitch counts. Use lots of stitch markers to help delineate the different sections. Oh and life lines of course

    Good luck on your endeavor! Can’t wait to see your progress. The stonecutter is on my ever expanding queue list as well. Love the texture and construction. Especially the hem. I haven been wanting to try something like this for awhile. Love your idea of “museum admission” too. Like you said it’s a great way of showing appreciation. Also it is one of the best self learning tools.

  14. i would download the pattern into KnitCompanion. Great app! You can highlight the row and keep track of where you are on the row. You can annotate helpful hints. Again, great app!

  15. I have a great little magnetic ‘holder’ with magnetic bars that you can move along with the pattern that works for me! Also I totally agree with the ‘museum-fee’ theory – I have learned certain techniques and ideas just from reading a pattern a bought, but haven’t made. Good luck! :)

  16. I use the Notability app and view the patterns on my iPad. You can highlight and write notes in different colors. I’ll usually start by highlighting the rows different colors or stitches different colors depending on the pattern. Then I mark out the row as I complete it.

    I realize this isn’t a great solution if you don’t have an iPad but it’s super simple and I love it.

    • That one I have heard of before but have never tried. Have you tried the one everyone else has mentioned by any chance, Knit Companion? I wonder how they compare.

      • I recommended the Knit Companion to you earlier. Some more info for you. If you go to there are tons of tutorials available for you to learn all about their app. It’s actually more like a “program” than an app. And their support through their group on Ravelry is outstanding. Can you tell I really like this program?

  17. I’m sure the knitting apps are great. I don’t do very complicated charts because I have an aversion to charts. I wish I didn’t. I sometimes end up writing the patterns out, which is ridiculous, I know. I use highlighters, and post its, too. I get big post its and put them under the row I am working on and make notes about where I am on the post it when I put the project down. As far as laminating goes, schools have big laminators if you know any teachers, but any copy place should also have them. You can get office laminators that will do 8×10-ish sizes, too.

  18. I just bought this pattern too, and hadn’t actually checked out the charts yet…holy sh**! I’ll probably do the same thing I did when I made the Exeter cardigan, which was to just get in there with some coloured felts and colour code the whole thing. I may also enlarge it on the photocopier at work, just to make it easier on the eyes. Keep in mind the gauge and needles too: the stitches and rows may appear tiny, but Shelter should knit up reasonably fast on 5mm needles :)

      • Yes. I will probably colour each stitch group on page 16 (the stitch legend) with a different marker, then go into the actual chart and colour it the same wherever it appears. It sounds time consuming (and it is, lol!), but I personally find the colour coding makes it easier to identify which stitch/cable to knit from the legend, and eventually you associate the stitch with the colour and memorize it. Although seriously, the more I look at this pattern, the more I suffer from pre-cast-on jitters. Anyways, when I’m done colour-coding mine, I’ll send you a picture. It should at least be pretty :)

  19. “I read [patterns] for fun and education; my mind has worked its way through many more patterns than my fingers ever have. ” Yes, that is true of me, too! Thank you for expressing it so perfectly.

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  21. I use a metal music stand and magnets to keep my pattern at the right level for my bifocals…..otherwise I spend a lot of time trying to angle my head up and down to see the chart. Colored highlighter tape helps, too….I use a strip on the line ABOVE the one I’m knitting , so I can see where I am going. I also use a high liter pen to vertically mark the center stitch of a pattern repeat, so I can check when I reach the middle …..if everything lines up, I’m good. If not, I only have to go back to the beginning of that repeat.

    One other good thing is that I can clip a bright light on to the music stand….old eyes need all the help they can get!

  22. it’s low-ish-tech, but I’ve been working my way through the first charts of this pattern for the last two days, and I’ve been keeping track of where I am by the number of new stitches in the traveling cable/peplum section. I’ve been using the pdf on my phone, and zooming, then merely scanning the current row to see if/when there are cables. If there aren’t any, you can just work your way across and back, and then check again on the next RS.

    it’s not a huge permanent setup, but I do all of my knitting on the go, so something digital and zoomable seems to work.

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