Lace Patterns: Charted or Written?

  •   Posted on: 2021-03-08
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  • Patterns

***Originally Published September 23, 2011***
A couple weeks ago, I arrived at work, delighted to find this email from my friend Dory in my inbox:

Hollis responded by saying that in our sample size (of two) she threw things off, because while preferring mapped directions to get around town, she likes written instructions better in her knitting patterns.

I thought about this, and realized, I’m equally incongruous, but in the opposite way!  Here’s my response:

Ha! That’s so funny, because I balance out the F-ed up sample size of two.  I prefer charted lace directions, but need turn-by-turn navigation to get ANYWHERE, especially in a car. 

Even with GPS on my iPhone now (or maybe because of it?) I’ve realized that very rarely do I have any concept of where I am in the world, be it driving around a city or hiking in the woods.  The weird part is, I actually don’t even really care.  I just make sure I have a screenshot of my directions, or someone in the front seat telling me when and where to turn.  I think that’s also why I prefer biking/walking over driving, literally 100 percent of the time.

I don’t know if my preference for charted patterns comes from that same greater concept of scope, though — I just feel like reading written lace/cable directions takes way more mental energy, no matter how many repeats of the pattern I’ve already done.  It feels analogous in my mind to having to sound out a word letter-by-letter every single time, as opposed to just seeing the shape of the word and knowing what it is, which is what charted patterns feels like to me.

What about you?  Do you prefer knitted or charted instructions for your knitting or crochet?  Is that similar or different to how you like to navigate your way through a city?  What do you think this says about you?


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