My current work in progress:

Comfort Fade Cardi by Andrea Mowry, knit from Miss Babs  Kaweah in the Parchment, Old Gold, Petrified Forest, and Espresso colorways, using 3.75mm and 4mm needles.

Chart Help

First off, thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway for the pattern collections and subscriptions to Knitcircus. The winners of the pattern collection are:

Anne, Dana, Diana C., Pat L., Kae, Denise, Lynneth, Tara, Amy, and Sarah.

I have emailed the link to download the collection to you all, so if you think one of those people is you, check your email.

And the winners of the subscriptions are Sandy H. (happy birthday, Sandy!) and Ardosa.

I have forwarded your email addresses to Jaala at Knitcircus and she will arrange for your subscriptions.

Thank you, Jaala, for supplying these goodies for the give-away.

Next on the agenda, I was sent a fabulous new book to review.

Book020611 240x160 Chart Help

This is Charts Made Simple: Understanding Knitting Charts Visually by JC Briar.

You may have noticed that more and more, knitting patterns are eschewing written out instructions for stitch patterns and relying on charts. The majority of my patterns are charted: charts correspond well to the way I think and I think are far less likely to have errors because an error in a chart jumps out at you far better than does one in a written-out line of instructions.

But what do you do if you have no experience knitting from charts?

JC Briar to the rescue!

Charts Made Simple is small in size (just over 100 pages) but it is packed with everything you need to know to be able to knit from charts. The book has 6 main sections:

  • The big picture
  • Staying on track
  • Cable symbol sensibility
  • Charts that show shape
  • Counting stitches
  • Repeated stitches

I have read this book cover to cover (Hello — I can’t knit right now. What else can I do with my spare time?) and I can’t think of a single aspect of charting that isn’t covered. Everything is explained in clear, straightforward language and illustrated with lots of pictures and  — you guessed it — charts.

I really like the way the book is organized — each chunk of information is set out on one or two pages in an easy-to-read format.

Pages020611 240x160 Chart Help

As far as I know, this is the only book around that de-mystifies knitting charts and teaches you how to use them and make the most of them. Long overdue, in my opinion.

JC very kindly offered to send a copy to one of my blog readers. Who’d like it? 😀

To be entered in the drawing for the giveaway, leave a comment to this post. The Random Number Generator will select a winner from among those comments on Wednesday, February 9 at 4:00pm Eastern Time, so get your entries in before then.

Hand Update

Contrary to what some of you think (judging from the comments), it is my hand that’s broken not my wrist. Thanks again for all your good wishes. It’s still broken. I still can’t knit as such, as I have no strength in my hand and very limited range of motion. But just this weekend I’ve noticed some slight improvement in my range of motion, and it seems less swollen. But I still have a long way to go before things are back to normal, I think.

However, since the accident I have designed a line of patterns that I’m thinking about publishing as an e-booklet entitled The Winter of My Discontent. All designs are cabled and there are six patterns:  two hats, mittens, fingerless mitts, a cowl, and socks. And several of my lovely friends are knitting up the samples for me.

Where would I be without my friends?

Lucy Sez

Lucy020611 240x160 Chart Help

I’m all ready to watch the Superbowl!


  1. Oh that would be so awesome. Charts DO mystify me!

  2. Glad to hear things are improving hand-wise, albeit slowly. Thanks for the giveaway – I love charts & this sounds like a great book!

  3. It sounds like a book I could really use! I have knit from charts, but am easily confused. There is a class here in AZ that I could take, but $50 for 2 hours seems a bit high! (I’m on vacation from winter in SD!)
    I’m glad you are able to design, and would be interested in your ebook; it must be very frustrating to you to not be able to test knit! But, aren’t friends the best!
    Lucy didn’t really look too interested in the Super Bowl!
    mayounger on Rav

  4. I’m still overwhelmed by charts! I’d love to have this book!

    Pray that your hand heals quickly and that the doc will say to you soon, “why yes, Wendy! Knitting it is the PERFECT physical therapy to continue your healing… and you should start this very day!” 🙂

    In the meantime, stroking soft furries is great therapy, and thank God for books and blogs… and friends that will knit up samples for you!
    Elianastar´s last blog post ..Book Review- Color Knitting

  5. Martha Michael says:

    Looks like a great book to have. I have used some charts already but each designer is different. Martha

  6. Another educational book. Looks like it could be very helpful. I’ll throw my name in the hat. Thank you very much.

  7. I hope you feel better soon. You are probably frustrated all day at work with your limited range of motion — then can’t knit while commuting or at home. How clever of you to be drafting an ebook while your hand is at rest!
    I hope I am randomly selected for the book copy because I’m sure I actually NEED a copy more than most knitters! Charts are a mystery to me.

  8. Thank you for reviewing this book–I would find it very useful, as I am not clever at reading charts, but want to learn more about it… I hope your hand is better soon, and hope that you will be seeing a hand therapist to get full function restored….take care!

  9. Ohh, this JC book sounds exactly what I need for charting!

    I miss your knitting projects and updates, so it will be a great day when you can jump back into your knitting.
    Thank goodness for nurse Lucy, she is the sweetest little girl, she appears to favor GBP 🙂

  10. Sounds like there might be a book purchase in my future (just in case I’m not selected). Thanks for bringing the book to our attention! Best wishes in the hand mending department!

  11. Thanks for the chance to win the chats books. sounds really helpful.
    Heal well. Looks like kitty therapy is working.

  12. Pick me. My stash is in need of busting and I am not a visual learner!

  13. Thank you both for the book opportunity. I can’t wait for “The Winter of My Discontent” book.

    Suggestion on the hand. Take calcium with boron, I am a chiro, the boron will help pull the calcium into the bone to help with healing. Also, take the calcium with orange juice. Calcium likes acidity in order to get absorbed.

  14. This is a must-have book for me, whether I win or not! Best wishes to you in getting back to knitting very, very soon!

  15. love charts, but would also love a book about charts.

  16. I enjoyed your article in KnitCircus. And, I would love to be the lucky winner of the book on charting. Thanks

  17. Pamela Wall says:

    That book sounds just like one I need. Having learned to knit from written directions, I find the charts confusing or distracting. I am not sure which. I can, but prefer not to, knit from charts. Maybe some good visuals would help! I sure hope your hand heals quickly. Frustration!!

  18. Andrea in Tn says:

    good to hear your hand is improving. Maybe I could learn charts after all –the book sounds awesome Andrea in TN

  19. Lisa Downing says:

    Sounds like a great book. I’d love it. Get better, Wendy, LisaD in upstate NY

  20. I’d love to win this book… currently I’m working on a lace shawl and the author is using charts in a way that I’ve never seen… It’s making me crazy, I’d love to have a reference. If I don’t win, I’m going to have to buy it.

  21. Kate Tegtmeier says:

    Hi Wendy – I am so sorry to hear of your incapacity. I can imagine how frustrating it ,must feel to be in that position. I wish you a speedy recovery.

    On a lighter note, I wanted to thank you for your Toe up Two at a time sock instruction. Everything is so clearly written (not like the horror of trying to figure out charts) and I am in the middle of my first pair of your toe up socks. Yeah for me! And I want to learn how to read charts so I can someday feel comfortable enough to give lace a try! Thank you so much for all your inspiration~ Kate

  22. i agree with the person who said hold your hand up high all the time. it really helps with the swelling.
    and the book sounds good too!
    speedy healing!

  23. sharon root says:

    Charts always confuse me. I’d love to have this book to use as a reference.

  24. Aunt Colleen says:

    I’ve just started my first pair of mittens with a color pattern. I have a number of chart questions.

  25. I promised my mom I would learn to read knitting charts, and then teach her. This book sounds like it would make both our lives a lot easier!
    Merie´s last blog post ..Albert

  26. I need, want, have to have this book as I`m sure alot of people do. Oh the things I could do with this book. I have patterns that I could finally knit if only I knew what is in this book Please pick ME. Hey Lucy what did you think of that gam huh GO PACK!!!!!!!!

  27. I’m so sorry about your hand. That must be very frustrating. I can commiserate a bit because I’ve just been diagnosed with tendinitis and degenerative arthritis in my right wrist. I can still knit, but I have to be careful and “baby it” (exact quote from specialist MD!!) You might as well baby yourself too right now, since you can’t knit at all!

    I’d love to have the chart book, though I’m usually pretty comfortable with charts. Still, there’s always something to learn, right?

  28. I have a hard time with charts so yes – please include me in the drawing. Maybe this book will help.

  29. Wow, a whole book on charts! Sounds absolutely amazing! And such a valuable tool.

  30. I love charts, but would never assume that I know everything there is to know! I’d love to see that book.

    Glad your hand is improving. Sounds like it will be a slow process, but I see that you are keeping yourself busy while you’re waiting.
    pdxknitterati/MicheleLB´s last blog post ..Potpourri post

  31. There are those books out there that you think those are the books that will really enhance my library. JC Briar’s book is one of these books.
    I am looking forward to reading it cover to cover myself.

    If I don’t win it here it goes on my amazon wish list. 🙂

    PS. Good luck with your hand and I wish you a speedy recovery.

  32. Gee, just what I was hoping for. Boy, do I need help in reading charts.

  33. I would love a copy of “Charts Made Simple”! It sounds wonderful! — And I’m looking forward to your e-booklet, “The Winter of My Discontent”. It sounds like you’ve put your non-knitting time to great use! When will it be available?

  34. Barbara Andrade says:

    Please enter me for the charts book drawing. I hope your hand continues to get better!

  35. Amy Abramson says:

    I would love to learn about chart knitting. Just finished my first pair of toe up socks from your book and they feel wonderful. Hope the wrist heals quickly!

  36. Count me in! Thanks!

  37. The book sounds fantastic. I’ll put my hand up.

  38. This looks like a very handy book 🙂

  39. Good to hear your hand is somewhat better. I would love th have this book. I am in The Netherlands though…
    Renee´s last blog post ..Getting professional and personal

  40. Ruthie A. says:

    Charts? Can’t read them! Hate them! Need help. Would love the book. Am looking forward to your patterns w/ cables. I LOVE cables! (Just can’t read the stupid charts!

    So glad your hand shows signs of improvement. It’s a start, at least.

  41. Wendy, I’m glad to hear that your hand is getting better! I think it is great that you’ve managed to make good use of your time, and I look forwards to seeing your new designs. It sounds like some nice projects, not too time consuming, and is certainly something I would like to buy. The book about charts sounds nice too, and I would love to have a copy 🙂 Hope Lucy was happy with the results of the super bowl! They were showing it on Norwegian tv, but because of the time dfference, it was in the middle of the night, so I didn’t watch. This morning the media seems to be more concerned with Ms Aguilera’s performance than the game itself.
    Bodil E´s last blog post ..Afghan for Jenny &amp Nathalie

  42. Id like a book!!! Please feel better!!

  43. I hate charts because I don’t understand them and I can’t read them! I really need this book! So glad you reviewed it-if I don’t win it, I may have to figure out how to buy it!

    Get well soon!

  44. This books sounds like a fabulous resource to have on hand to get into charts. I’d love a copy. Please pick me.

  45. This looks like it would be really good.

  46. Sounds like a useful book to have in my knitting library.

  47. Hope you feel better soon. My problem with charts is that I need to photocopy to make them super large so that I don’t have to keep putting my glasses on and off!

  48. sign me up for a chance on the chart book, 30 yrs of knitting and I’ve never figured out working with charts. Glad to hear your hand is improving

  49. Lynda Schwechtje says:

    I’m glad you’ve found a new way to stay involved, even while you can’t knit! I’d love the Charts book, too! Cheers!

  50. MaryEllen says:

    A must have for my knitting library! Thanks to JC and to you, Wendy, for the give-a-way! My mom would have made you consume lots of homemade chicken soup; cures everything! xoxox

  51. Hi Wendy,

    Your E-book sounds fantastic, I have yet to have a go at cable knitting so the mittens etc sound like a great place to start.

    The Charts made simple book sounds good as well, does it cover reading charts universally, being from the UK I know that the UK and USA have different terms etc sometimes, what I am trying to say is can anyone understand it?

    Lisa 🙂

  52. I’m glad you’re still able to find something to do – especially with the writing scenario. Give my love to Lucy.

  53. Could always use help with charts!

  54. I think I need that book! I have tried to knit from charts with dismal success. I tend to stick to written instructions which I know is slowing me down.

    So sorry about your hand – hang in there!

  55. I will surely get your e-book when it becomes available. I wouldn’t mind at all if I win the chart book.

    Hope your hand mends very soon!

  56. Would love to have that book. Learned to read written instructions and Charts are totally like trying to read a foreign language when all I know is English.the book would be a big help to me…

  57. Sounds like a great book – thanks for the chance to win it!

  58. radmeister says:

    I just began learning to cable and the charts have me stumped. I am intrigued by the book. On the upside I am glad that you are keeping busy and continuing to heal.

  59. Pam Morris says:

    I have recently returned to knitting using your books. I notice a lot of charts.
    I really need this book. Rest your hand and stay safe

  60. So happy some of the swelling is going down..good thoughts for a total recovery for your hand! How frustrating!

    The chart book sounds brilliant! I don’t tend to win things but would love a copy of that!

  61. Wendy in Indy says:

    Am still so very sorry about your hand and thanx for keeping us updated on its’ progress. Take care.

  62. I’m glad you are beginning to see improvement in your hand. It must be awful not knitting. I like knitting with charts and would love a copy of J C Briar’s book.

  63. I would love to win a copy of the book. Hope your hand heals quickly.

  64. Thanks for the update on your hand. I can imagine how difficult it is for you to not be able to knit. Hope it is better soon.
    I, too , would like to be entered into your chart book give away. I was scared to death of charts for a while but have become more used to them now as a lot of patterns are charted now.

  65. During this time of no knitting, are you getting all kinds of new and different ideas of what you want to knit once you can? It must seem strange not to have a project in your hands. I hope you heal quickly and completely. Thanks for all your information and inspiration!
    Beth´s last blog post ..Ricky Tims

  66. I would love to win. Long live charts! Be nice to learn all the ins and outs.

  67. Please enter me in your giveaway.
    Hope your hand heals quickly.

  68. elizabeth says:

    Looking forward to the book! I have a sprained right hand that made knitting with small needles impossible. Slow recovery. I know Lucy will help you with the physical therapy.

  69. Shame there isn’t a one-handed knitting method… hope you heal quickly.

  70. Glad to hear the humor is still there~ Would love to have an all in one chart demystified book….Love the new knitcirus!!

    Take care,

  71. This book must have been written for me. I’m still not convinced about charts. I want to see it written out. After I’ve gone through a repeat I use the charts for a quick reference. Maybe this book will convice me otherwise. Thanks for the opportunity.

  72. Good to hear that it is getting better. Very interested in your ebook. cd

  73. As a new lace knitter, a book to help with chart reading would be great!

  74. Sandy Mark says:

    The JCBriar book sounds very interesting. Would love to be included in your drawing. Sorry about your hand. Did not read on how this happened but you can catch up on a lot of reading and designing if that’s any consolation!

  75. This sounds like a great book. Hope your hand heals quickly!!

  76. I am completely dumb when it comes to reading charts….so this book sounds perfect for me!!

  77. Oh I would love to win that book! It would brighten up a bad week for sure!

  78. Rowan Falar says:

    I’m glad to read that your hand is healing (albeit slowly). Don’t overdo it!

    that book would go great with my reference library. Pick me, pretty please?

  79. A book about charts would be very helpful. I can usually read lace charts but charts of cables look very confusing.

  80. I love a copy of the book. I’m so glad your had is starting to look better; the inside must be getting better if the outside is looking better. Was Lucy a Steeler or Packer fan?

  81. I’m sending good-healing vibes to your hand.
    Please enter me in the giveaway.
    I love your books (even Mom won’t turn lose of it), but I don’t do ebooks other than novels. The ereader is fine for novels, but not much else.

  82. Id like a copy as well!

  83. Hi Wendy,

    I have never done this before, so thanks for the great instructions! Yours is one of the easiest web sites to navigate. Like so many others, I too would like a copy of the new charting book. I hope it includes revealing the secrets to those ethnic mitten patterns in the funny shapes. If “e-book” for the new patterns means only the electronic screen, please consider “downloadable” as well, for those of us who really like paper pages. Get well soon!

  84. I’m so afraid of charts – they make me want to write out the pattern myself. This book sounds amazing! Glad to hear you’re on the mend 🙂

  85. If a pattern has lace or cables and doesn’t have a chart it moves off my list of things to knit. I don’t do well with line-by-line written instructions as I lose my place all the time.

  86. Judy Williams says:

    In my younger years I would actually chart out written instructions. I so enjoy knitting today because of all the charting. It is so easy to catch errors. A book on charting sounds like a winner mainly because I would like to design some lace scarfs and need more “standard” charting information.

    Hang in there with your hand. It takes time unfortunately and that means little knitting time. Best wishes

  87. Love the title of the upcoming E-book but I’m sorry that you are having that kind of winter! At least you are still being productive, even if it isn’t by actually knitting. Keep on healing.

  88. I’m working on learning to knit from charts – so this book would be a great help!

  89. That sounds like a really cool book. 🙂 Hope your hand heals quickly!
    LittleWit´s last blog post ..Closet Re-org

  90. Charts still scare me a bit, but that book would help me overcome my fear. Thanks for the give-away!

  91. Lois Conway says:

    I have been waiting for JC’s book to hit the market. I’ve taken a class from her. She is a great teacher, so I’m sure the book is good. Looking forward to your e-book patterns. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  92. I would love to have a book about chart reading. I am mainly self taught and love to knit lace.

  93. Hope your hand gets better soon! You seem to be making the best of a bad situation!

  94. Breaking your hand is no fun… I know from experience. It takes a lot of work to get your strength back afterward, but eventually it will be as good as new…

    I would love to win a copy of Charts Made Simple! I have tried to knit from charts a few times, but found myself getting confused and then reverting back to the written instructions each time.
    Chantelle´s last blog post ..In need of inspiration

  95. Sometimes cable charts make me crazy! so yes, please, I would love to have a copy of this book. Hope you continue to mend well; and it’s a good thing dexterity isn’t required for petting a cat.
    Ann Devine´s last blog post ..Cha-cha-changes!

  96. bunny dimmel says:

    Can use all the help available to understand charts. Glad you are better.

  97. Sounds like a great book !

  98. OOOh, I’m in – thanks 🙂
    speedy recovery – I’m sure your needles miss your grip.

  99. I have just starting working with charts, I would love this book.

  100. Mrs. Meg C says:

    I’m a sucker for cables, it’s so kind of you to think of patterns for us even while you’re healing!