Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Using Index Cards for Knitting Directions

Listening to a podcast about knitting tips a few months ago on Knitpicks, Kelley Petkun talked about translating lace charts for knitting on to index cards for easier reading while knitting. Since lace knitting was not on my radar back then, it did not occur to me that I would be looking for just such a tip in the near future.

Now that I am knitting with lace motifs, Petkun's hints made so much sense that I had to try it for myself: using index cards, that is!

If you are not a knitter or need any chart interpretation tips, stop reading here. (pause)

But if you are looking for an easier way to decipher knitting instructions from the written page, this posting may be your ticket to easier knitting.

The key is to write down ONE row of instructions at a time, transfer that ONE row of directions to an index card, and then organize the cards sequentially so that your directions are all transferred onto a set of index cards held together by a big locked ring available at any office supply store. After the completion of one row of instructions listed on the index card, just flip over to the next card. Be sure to check and triple check your typed instructions against the original pattern.

By following ONE row of instructions at a time, put on a separate card, your eye will not confuse which row of pattern you need to follow... much easier on the eye and brain!

Another hint: type out the instructions on a word processing program, using the appropriate label format for the labels you have on hand (mine is a 10 year old box of Avery #5366 Laser File Folder Labels). Then just peel off each label and affix to an index card, row by row.

Below is a close-up picture of a portion of a lace scarf recently completed using the index card method of following a more complicated set of instructions:

To hear Kelley Petkun expand on the merits of using this easier way to read charts, go to this podcast for step by step directions: Podcast on Lace Knitting Tips.

This is a picture of the completed lace scarf (the scarf pattern is from Kay Meadors' I Can't Believe I'm Lace Knitting book):

Trust me, I ripped and re-ripped this scarf many times before completely starting again and using the index card method of following knitting directions; the Petkun tip allowed me to finally finish the project. Thanks, Kelley and Knitpicks!

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