As I began this lace project, I had a number of people ask me how I am able to knit something complex from charts without getting hopelessly lost and confused. The answer, of course, is that I do get lost and confused- I just have a lot of failsafes put in place to help me get found again. (The other answer is that I have a bit of experience and a sound knowledge of knitted construction and how things ought to look.) I decided that today I would show exactly how I keep things straight.
Here is my workspace. (There’s my early anniversary/tax refund present from Cory, Max the netbook. Hi Max!) As you can see, there’s a lot of pieces to my setup, so I’ll show you some closeups.
On my right, you can see supplies- my ‘gator full of notions, TONS of post-it notes, my beads, and a drink. All vital, particularly the drink as I can promise with this setup I’ll be in one spot for a good while.
The beads are on something called “SuperFloss” by Oral-B. It’s a type of floss for people with dental hardware. It has a stiff threader end (perfect for looping through a stitch, folding in half to slide a bead down onto the stitch, or scooping up a bead), a middle section that is kind of soft and poofy (doesn’t let the beads slide off without help), and a long regular floss end. I tied a single bead to the floss end, and put a couple of hundred beads on it. It’s very portable and stops beads from flying everywhere or getting dropped off of your hook, and is available at pharmacies, grocery stores, and other locations that are generally easier to find and get to than a yarn store selling size 12-14 steel crochet hooks.
Here, from left to right, are all the charts clipped together with a post-it marking my spot, a sheet with the chart key on it, and a page of explanations for if the chart key doesn’t explain well enough. These are all taped up directly in front of my face, since my desktop is fairly small, so I can see them all at once (if you look above, the actual pattern itself is on the desk under the knitting).
If I have to get up in the middle of a row (say, if I have to use the toilet, or if my drink is gone) I use post-it tabs to mark the stitch that’s next. I also have a row-counter bracelet that I got on etsy, just to make doubly sure I always know just where I am.
Here is a photo of how far along I was when I left for Janelle’s (where I spent most of the day):
That is the entirety of the set-up chart. I now have 2 repeats of the second chart, the “yucca” chart (though it looks nothing like yucca, honestly) done, but there’s no good light here to get a picture so I’ll post tomorrow with that. It’s gorgeous, though, and at the risk of sounding stupidly romantic and soppy, it looks quite a bit like dewdrops on rose petals. I’ve called the project “Desert Rose Shawl” because of that.