My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 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.

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.

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

I’m all ready to watch the Superbowl!


  1. I’d love a copy of JC’s book!
    I’m glad that there is visible progress & your book title is humourous and appropos!!

  2. I’m glad your feeling better Wendy! I would love a copy if that book !

  3. Well, fist, I would love to see you publish those cable designs! And I would most certainly buy it. And I would also love to have Charts Made Simple.
    Edna Tanner´s last blog post ..This is why Ive been away

  4. A correction and addition to my last post…it should say Well, first… and the addition…Here’s hoping for your speedy recovery!

  5. Hi Wendy-
    I’d love a copy of the chart book. Charts are a total mystery to me! Hope your hand feels better soon! You are missing out on some perfect knitting weather!
    Julie U from MI

  6. The book on charts sounds like it’s something that I really could use. I just can’t wrap my mind around charts LOL. I also look forward to your new e-booklet. I am a huge fan of your patterns. Hope your hand heals quickly.

  7. That looks like a very useful book. Get better soon!

  8. I’m sorry your hand is still bothering you. I hope it heals quickly. The chart book sounds like a really good reference book. I’d love a copy.
    Sallie´s last blog post ..Im Back with Finished Objects

  9. Wow, Wendy — as soon as I saw the title of that book I said, “OMG” and clicked your link. It’s going to be a best seller, for sure — it’s already sold out on Amazon! Thanks for reviewing it — I had no idea it existed.

    Glad your hand is doing (slightly) better. May the rest of your recovery be speedy and complete. 🙂

    Mary´s last blog post ..Rest in peace- Mom

  10. I sure could use some help with charts. I’ve been knitting from fair isle charts since my 3rd or 4th project when I was 9, but lace charts tend to still bollix me a bit. Would love to win the book. Hope the healing process speeds up. I had a broken wrist once, but that was age 6 before I learned to knit – today it would drive me crazy not to have needles in my hands. {{hugs}}
    PlainJane´s last blog post ..Two Weeks Later

  11. As someone who has to write out charts line by line, I’d love a copy of that book. Hope you get well soon!

  12. I am very glad you are slowly on the mend 😀

  13. kathy perron says:

    The chart book sounds great… Now what needs to be addressed is the readability of the graphics. A chart using black and white symbols to chart out a colorwork design, with shaping indicated with black lines… Not even enlargements studied with a magnifying glass will yield easy knitting. That being said, I’m all for charts!
    Hope your recovery goes well.

  14. im just lori says:

    Oh, great Random Number Generator, pick me! Pick me!

  15. I’d love the book and would also love to see your cabled designs!

  16. Tina Pendleton says:

    That book looks awesome, I’d love to be entered into the drawing. Hope the hand heals up fast…I cannot imagine not being able to knit…..

  17. I would dearly love to have a copy of Charts Made Simple: Understanding Knitting Charts Visually! I’m still a novice when it comes to knitting from charts.

  18. What a marvelous book — so much nicer than learning to work from charts just when I find a project I have to do!

  19. I’d LOVE a copy of Charts Made Simple; I’m still improving as a chart knitter (particularly on cable charts – they are still a bit mystical to me at this point, and I’m teaching some friends to knit, and they have a MAJOR lace desire. I’d love to have a teaching tool to share with them.

    Glad to hear about hand improvement, and I agree with what’s been said above- your e-booklet title is truly apropos.

  20. Since charts are still a mystery to me, I would love to have a copy of the book!

    I took a fall on the ice yesterday and screwed up my shoulder. I feel your pain. Here’s to fast healing!

  21. I like JC Briar’s sock patterns so can’t imagine not liking her book. Get well!

  22. Ooh, I’d love to get that book! When I design patterns with charts, I often feel that I’m dancing on the edge of understanding, without really having mastery. This would be great!

    So sorry you can’t knit right now, I know that knitting is a major sanity preserver for me. Glad you’re able to design, that is awesome.

  23. Great title! can’t wait for the new patterns – ravelry download? Guess I idle hands aren’t the devil’s playthings after all.

    BTW have been struggling using magic caston for tubular caston for fingerless mitts. Can’t wait to see your pattern.

    good luck with the hand!

  24. I would love to have charts demystified….thanks for the chance!

  25. I’m very intrigued by JC’s book. Good luck with your healing process! It just takes time, which is obnoxious, but true.
    DPUTiger´s last blog post ..Our Long HPWT Nightmare Is Over

  26. This book would surely help me demystify cable charts. I do well with lace charts, but cable charts confuse me. :-/ Thanks for the opportunity. Take care of yourself and your hand!

  27. My gosh! This book is exactly what I need. I’ve found so many patterns I’d love to knit but I shy away because the charts are so daunting. I’m happy to hear you’re not letting your hand stop your creativity. Can’t wait to see your e-book!!

  28. Would love a chance to win. I teach knitting and I understand charts, but would love to be able to recommend a resource to my students to demystify charts for them.

  29. I would love a copy of the chart book. I’ve been teaching myself to read charts with lace and fair isle and really like using charts, but I know I have a lot to learn. Thank you for the chance!

  30. yes, i see more and more patterns being charted – the first thing i look for are the charts and it gives me an overview of what i’m in for….i’d love that chart book (sigh!) and i can hardly wait for your e-booklet – seems like a productive winter for your! take care and aloha!

  31. Charting is one of those things I want to know as much about as possible. I don’t think I have a single pattern in my queue that does not include a chart.
    Bev Love´s last blog post ..1 of 11 in 2011

  32. Ok, sister. You know what is wrong with you and if your hand is broken then it is broken. I don’t know if your dr. has told you this but keeping it elevated, like with your hand in the air and your elbow resting on a pillow, almost as if you were summoning a waiter, will help with the swelling. Also, if you will wiggle your fingers every time a series of commercials come on for the entire commercial it will help with the swelling and discomfort. I am an RN and have taken care of HUNDREDS, lo, THOUSANDS of ortho patients. You are awesome and I love you. I’m one of the baaaaaaaaad girls who gave you the sheep ears at SWAK a couple of years ago. I would love the book but I would love to send you well wishes even more!

  33. Carol Perecman says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to win JC’s book!

    Hope your hand mends quickly and you are back to knitting soon.

    All the best,

  34. RedfordPhyl says:

    I am a chart person all the way. I think it started when I was doing a bunch of intarsia knitting. Now, I take written-only patterns and chart them myself.

    Still sending good vibes on the hand healing. You never realize how all of those tiny bones are connected to each other until you break one.

  35. anne marie in philly says:

    glad to hear you are feeling somewhat better! GO STEELERS!

  36. I’d love a copy. And your new e-book sounds terrific–sounds like you’re using your down time well!

  37. lol…your booklet sounds like a great way to pass the time while waiting for your hand to heal. Glad you have some helpful minions to test knit 🙂

  38. I’d love to win this book!
    Malin´s last blog post ..Is this still on

  39. I’d love the book. I’ve been knitting since long before the common usage of charts and it’s been a difficult transition for me. I still want to smack someone when I come up against a complex cabled chart! Lace makes sense, but I can’t see the cables.

  40. Wendy, I’d love to have that chart book as well as your ebook. I am simply amazed at your designing. Stay safe and heal quickly.

  41. A picture is worth a thousand words! I would love the chart book and your enforced knitting downtime sounds very promising too :>)

  42. I don’t know what your friends would do without you!! You are one of the very best. xoxo
    Stacy Little´s last blog post ..First FO for 2011

  43. Looks like an awesome book, and I’m so glad your hand is getting better!

  44. I’d love the chart book, but I’d really love for your hand to have a full recovery soon. Knitting up a quick pair of your fingerless mitts now since I needed an easy project for during the sermon at church!!!

  45. I’ve been really intimidated by charts so would love to win this book. 🙂

    I hope your hand recovers quickly, but sounds like you’re putting the time off to great use!
    Deb – Mom of 3 Girls´s last blog post ..Knitted glove update

  46. Glad the hand is healing well, maybe the forced downtime will give knitting a new zest when you can get back to it without any pain.
    Throwing my hat in the ring for giveaway goodness, never won, but it never hurts to try 😉

  47. Cheryl Kraft says:

    I’d love to have a copy – charts confuse me often! Good luck with the healing of your hand.

  48. Martie Dawn says:

    Looks like a wonderfully useful book. I would love to win it. Hope you enjoy the Superbowl!

  49. Am knitting from a chart for the first time, and that book would be REALLY helpful. Thanks for posting about it.

  50. This is a timely must -read for me…I’m struggling with charts, but very determined to Get It. Thanks for the review! (And Best Wishes for recovery of your hand. I love it that you’re still cranking out patterns!)

  51. The book on charts would be perfect for a good friend of mine who has trouble with charted patterns….Pick me, pick me!

  52. Just starting on charts and have no idea what I’m doing… JC Briars book would be great to win. Thanks….

  53. Ooh, chart help would be most appreciated. I’ve been knitting for many years, but am only just trying charts, and they don’t always make sense to me.
    ccr in MA´s last blog post ..Must Stop Talking Snow

  54. The book on charts would be perfect for a good friend of mine who has trouble with charted patterns….

  55. Tall Kate says:

    Glad to get the update on your hand! And thanks for offering another fun giveaway.

  56. Your idea of doing an e-book is a good one – do it! And sure, enter me for the chart book. I love charts but have friends who don’t.

  57. So glad you’re getting better!

  58. Wendy~

    That looks like an amazing book that would be a great addition to anyone’s knitting library! I myself am a newbie, only been knitting for 4 weeks! I find that having a book that shows you how to do the stitch is a must! Thanks for offering it!!!

    Diane Ulitsch´s last blog post ..Knit and Purl Scarf

  59. Wow I would absolutely LOVE that book… I normally only deal with written instructions but I am writing out my first pattern and would love to offer a chart with the writing. If only I understood them better!

  60. Kristi ~ Ohio says:

    I would love to have JC’s book. I’m so glad that you are getting better. And your e-book idea sounds great…I would definitely buy it. Take care, Kristi

  61. Ruth Musso says:

    Please enter me for the book drawing. Thanks

  62. Looks like a great book. I’d love a copy. Hope your hand heals soon.

  63. Sounds like a great reference book.

  64. I would love to have a copy of that book – I’ll take all the explaining on can on charts! Hope the hand heals quickly!
    Chris´s last blog post ..It’s Still January

  65. Just began taking a class using charts and beading. Previously have preferred charts written out, but this book is an invitation to start using charts instead. Would love to be the winner…
    Also, hope your hand continues to improve,. Lucy looks very comfy waiting for the kick-off.
    Sally´s last blog post ..Another finished project

  66. Speedy healing, Wendy! Charts and I often don’t get along–I’d love a copy of the book.
    Mary´s last blog post ..Stealth Socks

  67. Alane O'Neill says:

    I think visually, too, but I haven’t been able to getting the coding through my thick head yet! Maybe this book would do it for me….

    aroneille at gmail dot com

  68. I hope that you’re hand heals quickly. I would love the chart book. And your new e-book sounds great.
    Laura´s last blog post ..Today’s Picture

  69. Sounds lika a great book, indeed!
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery – but don’t try to rush it! (:

  70. Carol Wymer says:

    First ….I’m glad your hand is starting to feel better and great on improved range of motion AKA ROM. Second…I’d love a copy of the book on charted patterns. I’ve done a few easy charts but if the pattern is complex I end up referencing the written instructions.
    AKA Knittinnurse

  71. I still like to convert charts to written instruction. I have a hard time with having to stop & count the boxes that are knit or purl.
    Lilie´s last blog post ..Pink Neckwarmer – WIP

  72. I’d love a book on reading charts – as it is I have to write them out every time! I’m glad you’re feeling better.

  73. It’s good to hear that you are mending, keep improving. Would love to win that book, Charts are new to this old knitter, and lace is my passion now, so I’m forcing myself to learn a new skill. The book sounds like it would help.

  74. I’d love to win a copy of Charts Made Simple! While I’m somewhat comfortable with reading charts, I always manage to get confused with the no-stitch part of the chart, especially if it’s a chart with a lot of decreases.

    I’m glad that your hand is on the mend and hope that it heals quickly.
    Teri S.´s last blog post ..Be Careful What You Wish For

  75. I have been seeing this book throughout the Blogs and would so love to have it in my library. I have added it to my Amazon Wishlist.

  76. Carolyn Malloch says:

    Chart Smarts! what a concept — would love to be the lucky winner.


    Ravelry – –

  77. I’d love a copy of the book. Hope your hand continues to improve, and I’m eager to see your new designs.

    Lucy’s tail is amazing!

  78. Sounds like a great book! I love knitting from charts, but still find them mind-boggling at times. Anything to clear up the confusion is great.
    Lynneth´s last blog post ..Ribbit

  79. technikat says:

    You’re so used to knitting I can see that being unable to knit, would cause discontent, especially this snowy winter! My sympathies.

  80. Freya in Californeya says:

    Here’s wishing you a speedy recovery. Take care of yourself.

  81. Glad you’re feeling a bit better.

    I’ve hated charts most of knitting life (i’m a writer–I like words!). If it’s a short repeat, I’ll often write the pattern out in words/abbreviations. So this sounds like exactly what I need. And since I recently learned how to do small cables without cable needles, it’s time to learn to read charts!

  82. Sending best wishes to you for a full recovery on your hand. So sorry you can’t knit now!!

    I would love a copy of the charting book. Thanks for the contest!!

  83. Oooo..a chart book. I may have to purchase that.

    I’m glad your range of motion is increasing. I can’t imagine how frustrating that would be if it happened to me.

  84. I would love to have a copy of the book as I currently type out chart instructions. I hope you have a speedy recovery with your hand.

  85. I’m very glad to know that your hand is improving!!! I’m even gladder to know that hasn’t damped your creativity and that new patterns are coming around the corner. I LOVE cable and I look forward to the new booklet!!!! Take good care of yourself!

    P.S.: I’ld love to be part of the giveaway!!!!

  86. Hope your hand is better soon. Would loveto have that chart book.

  87. Oh my gosh– what a brilliant idea for a book! I am new(ish) to knitting, and so far I like using charts to see how stitches line up with the stitches below, but I still can’t quite figure out how I would create a chart from scratch. I am putting this book on my wishlist! Thanks for sharing!

  88. It is good to hear that you are regaining some range of motion. Also that you’ve used this enforced downtime to designed new patterns–although I suspect you’d rather be knitting.

    Another good reason for charts as opposed to written instructions is that if the symbols are universal, it doesn’t matter the language of the designer. I was taught to crochet without patterns and have never learned to read “written” crochet instructions, but I can read and crocet from charts. I would love to win a copy of the chart book as I still struggle with charted cables in knitting.

  89. patty bolgiano says:

    Your hand and my colon. this truly is the the winter of our discontent. No more snow, ice, freezing rain. I would love the book, pop my name in the bin!

  90. I love charts, and would love to have this book. Here’s hoping. And good wishes for your recovery. I can’t imagine watching the SuperBowl without my knitting in hand!

  91. I am just beginning with charts, so I could make good use of that book!

  92. Count me in.
    I hope your hand gets well soon!

  93. I love the name you’ve thought of for your pattern collection. Seems very fitting to your current predicament.

  94. Charts for Dummies, huh? Just what I need!

  95. I just started a pair of cabled mitts for my daughter. The line-by-line instructions are so confusing! The different sizes do increases on different rounds, and the rounds aren’t even numbered. It just says “next round”. Your charted instructions would save me lots of Tylenol, I’m sure! I will certainly get your e-book when it is ready. Could I also be entered in the chart book give-away? That will make a nice companion to your patterns.
    Best wishes for a complete recovery,

  96. Lorraine C says:

    I would love to win the chart book. I sometimes understand the chart and sometimes not so the book would help.
    Glad your hand is improving.

  97. I’m glad your hand is starting to show some signs of being on the mend. Throw me in for the chart book give-away!

  98. I’m glad to hear your hand is on the road to recovering and feel so bad for you not being able to knit or really use your hand. The book sounds very interesting and I would love to win it. And I will keep an eye out for your patterns. 😉

  99. linda-kay says:

    So glad you are designing – can’t wait to see the patterns. What a great use of recovery time!

    Please enter me in your give-a-way and thanks to you and JC Briar for the opportunity. That book is a must have for me, for sure! lol

  100. Oh that sounds like an excellent book! Sending good vibes for your hand to mend and heal itself 🙂
    Angela´s last blog post ..Stencils and Snow