My current work in progress:

Tawney Sweater,by Jenni Barrett, knit from MadelineTosh Tosh Sock, using 3.25mm and 3.5mm 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 hope your hand heals soon! I’m sure Lucy is doing all she can to help you out.

  2. I would love a copy! charts have always been a mystery to me and I would love to finally understand them. Hope you continue to heal well and are back to full strength soon… the ebook sounds great even if the cause is not.
    Kate´s last blog post ..Simple Hearty Lentil Stew with Potatoes and Spinach

  3. I’m one of those who is still stuck on written instructions, Wendy. Although, I am knitting your pi shawl and am starting to get used to the chart on that.
    Debbie´s last blog post ..One World One Heart 2011

  4. I’d love a copy of that book!

    (I also love the name The Winter of My Discontent)

  5. Please enter me in the drawing. I need to conquer my fear of charts. My sympathies on not being able to knit. Hope all is healed and back to normal as soon as possible

  6. KateinIowa says:

    Can’t wait for the “discontented” collection! Thinking positive thoughts for your rapid healing, Wendy.

  7. RustyBird says:

    I’d love to have this book – it would help me get over my fear of charts if I understood them better!

  8. You can also listen to knitting podcasts! That’s what I did when my hand was in a cast!

  9. I would love to win this book! Just started with charts and need some help!!

  10. Alejandro says:

    i’d love a copy of that book!

  11. Hope your hand heals quickly, that stinks! Charts are a challenge to me so maybe this book would help. Is there any advice in there for people like me with a messed-up short term memory who simply can’t remember what all the little slashes and squiggles mean in a chart? I have to constantly look at the key, which slows down my knitting considerably. But most patterns are written that way now, so frustrating. Thanks for passing this book along!

  12. Being a knitter with a broken hand is like being a long distance runner (me) with a broken ankle… The winter I did that I swam (hopping to the edge of the pool) every day with my black and blue ankle and foot for 6 weeks… I could almost not stand it by the end, and credit my physical therapist for getting me through. Hope you have a good PT (and outlet), too!

  13. please enter me in the book drawing. would love to understand charts. I knit left-handed (“backwards”) and maybe charts will be easier to use than written directions – once I understand them!

  14. This book looks great. I will probably end up buying myself a copy anyway.
    Ashley W´s last blog post ..Waiting for Spring

  15. Robin May says:

    Good luck on your hand healing — I recently had surgery on my wrist and had to stop knitting for a couple of weeks…torture!
    I would love a copy of the chart book. Charts seem so much more logical, but I simply haven’t mastered them yet.

  16. I’m so glad your hand is getting better. It will be well in time…please don’t overdo it. I agree with Lucy about today’s Super Bowl. The only thing I’m interested in is the food that is cooking. I would love a copy of the charts book. Thank you so much for thinking of all of us. Take care.

  17. I like working from charts, but think this book would be so helpful. Sure hope your hand heals soon so you can get back to knitting!

  18. I would love to win the book. I have trouble following charts.

  19. Mary M in GA says:

    Would love the book — tried to buy it yesterday and is out of stock, and expects to have it in another 4 – 6 weeks! 🙁 Winning would be faster! 🙂

    Hope your hand heals more quickly than you expect!

  20. Looks like a book I really need.

  21. CarrieCreates says:

    Thanks for giving us a chance to win the book! Hang in there while you recover. Tendinitis is keeping me from knitting right now & it stinks. Thanks again!

  22. Hi Wendy,
    I would love to win the copy of Charts Made Simple. It would help me a lot. I also think your idea of the e-book is a good one. Go for it! Good luck with your hand. Take care, Pat.

  23. Sounds like a very useful addition to any serious knitter’s library. Count me in for the drawing!
    Deb´s last blog post ..Im a Cowl Girl!

  24. I would love a copy of the book! and if I don’t win, I will definitely be buying a copy. Hope your hand heals quickly!!

  25. I’m glad there’s at least some progress on the hand healing front. From my bout with a carpal tunnel type of pain, I remember how hard daily living can be without my primary hand fully functioning.

    JC’s book sounds perfect for a mid-range chart reader like me — not to mention my beginner niece. I’ve been giving her more than beginner things now that she’s had 6 months practice and has made a top-down hat on DPNs in the round.

  26. Charts Made Simple will fill the gap between my experience and knitting charts – literally the “read between the lines” that sometimes I guess correctly, sometimes not. Looking forward to seeing your new cable designs.

  27. Here we go, Steelers!
    And 2/9 is my 3rd child’s 6th birthday, which in theory means that I will have more time to knit things that require attention. Someday. But sure wouldn’t this book help me get ready for that day when it finally shows up? 🙂
    And in not a sucking up “pick me” way, I am really enjoying your articles in Knit Circus.

    -Nancy N (n2n on Rav)

  28. The book sounds like a very helpful one.

    Glad to hear your hand is healing some. The patterns you are designing sound quite nice indeed.
    JaneB´s last blog post ..She Really Has Hair

  29. I hope you heal quickly! The book looks wonderful.

  30. Your ebooklet sounds very interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing the samples that your friends are knitting up. And, yes I would love a copy of that book. I do okay with charts but not great. This may be just what I need.

  31. That sounds like a great book – I’d love to have a copy!

  32. Charts do freak me out a bit. Thanks for the heads up on this book! Would love to check it put.

    Hope you’re 100% soon. Must be boring without all the knitting 🙂

  33. …I’d love a copy of the book too!
    If the result of your forced rest is a pattern book, you succeeded in being creative nevertheless! Take care Wendy!

  34. Continued wishes for your speedy recovery. Glad you can still knit “mentally” and I look forward to getting your e-book.

    Please enter me in drawing for book as well. What a great reference for nearly everyone’s knitting library.

  35. Wendyrose says:

    I’m transitioning to charts since directions with numerous row repeats are frustrating. JC Briar’s book sounds perfect. Thank you for letting us know about it and giving us a chance to win a copy. Glad to hear your slowly feeling better and are surrounded by good knitting friends.

  36. I could really use this book! I avoid charted patterns as I don’t get them yet. I will someday.

  37. Mary Beth says:

    Tell Lucy that my daughter just saw her “interpretive dance” video on YouTube and loved it. That’s one talented cat you have there.

  38. Wow, sounds like a great book. Can’t wait to see your designs. Thank you for having this giveaway.
    YuLian´s last blog post ..Elegant Fingerless Mitts

  39. Knit Knock says:

    Great idea for a book! I would love to read it cover to cover!!

  40. Personally, I love charts, but I have several friends who seem to have a mental block about them. If for some reason the random number generator doesn’t choose me, I’ll be buying a copy myself, to loan to them!

    I’m glad your hand is doing better, and yay for new patterns!
    janna´s last blog post ..Done!

  41. Hoping your hand will heal super-fast! Me me, I want the book

  42. Charts are wonderful. I sure hope the random number generator picks me!

    Hope your hand feels better.

  43. Aussie Rosemary says:

    Oh yes. Just the book I need.

  44. Ooo, I would *love* to win this book. Even if I don’t win, this is one I’ll order for my library.

    Hope your hand continues to mend. 🙂

  45. Charts-YES my best friend in knitting- hi-liter tape and I’m a happy knitter

  46. Love the idea for the title of your book. A winter without knitting, I feel your pain! Can’t wait to see your patterns, meanwhile I would love to win a copy of J.C’s book. Thanks for the opportunity.

  47. CatBookMom says:

    Just sending hopes for rapid healing. Thanks for the review of the book.

  48. I’d love a copy of the book – I’m very new to charts!

    I hope your hand heals quickly – I hate anything keeping me from my knitting.

  49. Thanks for the info on the book. Could you convince the author or publisher to put it on Kindle. Of all the knitting books this would be agreat candidate for Kindle. Looking forward to the patterns but I’ll definitely need the book. Still a written instruction user.

  50. I’m still fairly new to charts. Please enter me in your drawing and I hope your hand heals up soon! 🙂

  51. I hope the hand heals faster and that you have full motion soon.

    JC Briar has worked closely with and is a friend of Janet Szabo, an author and designer mainly of cabled sweaters. Janet also reviewed this book on her blog,, and it’s one that I know belongs in my knitting library. I was about to order it, but I’ll wait to see if I am selected by your random generator.

    I hope Lucy enjoys watching superbowl today!

  52. Thanks for the opportunity. Glad to hear that your hand is healing.

  53. Linda from Kansas says:

    WHile crochet charts are no problem for me, knitting charts are like Greek. So I am hoping the Random Number Generator will select me for the book. One can only try and hope. And I am glad your hand is getting better. :))

  54. Elizabeth says:

    I would love to knit more lace but need more clarification on the use of charts. This book is exactly what I need! So glad that you have found something knitting-related to do with your free time.

  55. I’d love a copy of JC’s book and can’t wait for your e-book.

  56. Sherri A. says:

    Your cable designs are always so beautiful..I can’t wait for the patterns.
    Glad to hear your broken bone is “knitting ” back together. (That is the medical term I think). I sure miss reading your blog each day. Get better soon.

  57. I’m am so sorry to hear about your hand! I hope you feel better each day. Thank you for still keeping us inspired about knitting!
    Roseann´s last blog post ..Spiderman Mittens Completed

  58. Glad to hear you are sensing some improvement in movement. At least you still think knitting and continue to churn out the patterns, that’s wonderful! I would love to have the charts book.
    Becky´s last blog post ..To All of You

  59. I would love to win a copy of the book.

  60. I would love a copy of the book

  61. I’ve been trying to decide if I want to buy that book. Thanks for the review and the chance to win it!
    Lynn Z´s last blog post ..Crafting for Others

  62. Sounds like a good book to add to a knitter’s library of reference books. I hope that your hand heals a lot faster now that the swelling is going down. :You’ll probably need physio, so good luck and heal well.

  63. I would love a copy of JC’s book. Glad the hand is improving.

  64. I hope your hand heals quickly and completely. The book looks like one I should add to my wish list.

  65. Charts are such a mystery to me. I would love this book. Your e-book sounds wonderful and I will probably have to get it when published. I love cables.

  66. I’d love this book, really glad to read your review of it, thanks!
    Claire´s last blog post ..Le Roi est mort

  67. I would ♥ to have that book. And I send you, Lucy and KOARC ♥ too.
    Go Packers!

  68. I am not very adept at reading charts, yet. Would love a copy of this book. Thanks for a chance.

  69. I would love a copy of JC’s book! I was scared of charts until I found your blog page about how to read them and now I absolutely love them. So thank you.

  70. I could really use this book! Always trying to add to my knowledge of the mysteries of knitting 🙂

  71. Nuna Knits says:

    My current mantra for Wendy.
    Glad you are sitting on your hands (pun intended) while waiting to be able to knit again. I can’t wait to see your new cabled designs.

  72. Hope your hand is better soon. Petting cats helps!

  73. Glad to hear you’re feeling a little better – your “winter of discontent” book sounds like a great project. I’d love to have the chart book as well. Enjoy the Super Bowl!

  74. Charts Made Simple sounds like just the book I need to conquer chart reading. Thanks for the opportunity to win. I’m glad you are improving, slowly but surely.

  75. I could use some help with charts.

  76. suncatcher says:

    Just what I need to remedy my inability to teach myself to knit with charts with some sort of accuracy and thus, pleasure. Seriously, long overdue for us who are chart impaired. Also, glad you have found opportunity in your misfortune to make good use of your non_knitting time. I think that’s great!

  77. Lisa from w mass says:

    I’d love to win that chart book! I’ve been tangled up in a few too many not-quite-adequately written-out patterns…. Your e-book of patterns sounds enticing, too. Glad you’re healing well, if not fast enough (it’s never fast enough, unfortunately).

  78. Elizabeth in VT says:

    Two yrs ago I broke my wrist and spent 12 wks in PT and total knitting frustration. I certainly sympathize with you and your broken hand. I’m glad to hear that improvement, although slow, is steady, and a good physical therapist (when the time comes) will make all the difference in the world. Good luck and may each day have you feeling better!

    Oh yes, the book! I’m ok with most charts but cables and lace-on-both-sides charts drive me nuts. Charts Made Simple sounds great – just what I need!

  79. I would LOVE this book

  80. I’d live to win a copy of the book.
    Tammy´s last blog post ..Where am I

  81. Stacy and the rugrats says:

    I love charts!


  82. Lady Radagast says:

    That book sounds amazing! I love cables but am still a little intimidated by charts.

  83. Michele Cook says:

    Wow! Charts made simple sounds great! I do prefer charts over written directions however since I am self taught I’m never sure what I may be missing.

    Looking forward to your new patterns!

  84. Ruth Porter says:

    Just listen to your “nurse” and you will be fine. Hope she’s a Steelers fan. And I would love the chart book.

  85. Stephanie Reynolds says:

    I really could use that book!

  86. On my first charted project and would love to have a little more instruction. Thank you for all your patterns and information. It has fostered a serious love of sock knitting.

  87. Yes, please sign me up for the book drawing – looks really useful!

  88. debra davis says:

    First I am glad to hear you are seeing progress with your hand!
    Second, I have started your transverse shawlette and it is the first time I have ever had success with a chart. I think the size and contrast made a huge difference.
    Third, I would love the book because I need to develop my chart skills because I want to do lots more lace.

  89. Glad to hear you’re working on an e-book. Fabulous idea. Same kudos for Ms. Briar’s book. Sounds like a must-have.

  90. I really like charts, but I still have lots to learn.

    I like the working title of your e-book. Very descriptive of your current feelings.
    picadrienne´s last blog post ..Swidget 10

  91. I just finished knitting a shawl for the first time using a chart. It went kinda slowly and I had to tink back a few rows but I learned an important lesson, and that is wine and charts don’t mix.
    Does the book have a chapter on knitting and drinking?

  92. Another great opportunity to win! Thank you for consistently sharing so many wonderful items with your readers. Love the title of your soon-to-be published book.

  93. Lynn Kenny says:

    Hi Wendy,
    Hope the healing process continues. I look forward to your e-Book.And I certainly could use a helpful book on charts!

  94. Leslie Gaylord says:

    I’d sooo Love a copy of this book. Lucy seems to be taking great care of you 🙂
    Carry On!!!

  95. Wow– that’s what I need desparately!

  96. Wishing you a speedy recovery so you can start knitting again.

    And if I am lucky, I might be chosed by the generator to win the book.

  97. Angela Jenkins says:

    I’d love that book. Charts scare me to death!

  98. Does Lucy plan to watch the Kitty Halftime show on Animal Planet?

  99. I think I should get the chart book, b/c I don’t really know how to knit from a chart & if I can understand it from that book then we’ll know that it truly is a great book.

    I’m glad to hear your hand is improving. I’m always in awe of how much knitting you get done; I’m not surprised that you’ve written a bunch of patterns during this non-knitting time!


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