Wednesday, August 9, 2017

August Reboot Series - Standard Stitch Chart Symbols?

This month I'm going to be doing some re-posting of older blog posts. Some like this one will have updates included as when I reread I often realize I've learned something new since the original post went up. I hope to have all new interviews every Friday but many Pros take the month of August off and in past years I haven't always been able to get enough interviews back to fill all the August dates.
At a recent Knit Night we were talking about the many advantages of working from charts as opposed to text. You can read more about the why here. Someone in our group mentioned looking for charts with standard symbols. I'm not sure what standard symbols are. There are so many software packages out there for creating charts. Publishers do use one type for consistency within their publications but around the world there are many more.

If you google, knit charting software, you will see a large number of systems here. I can think of a few more that didn't even make the first page.

There are free systems as well, here is a link about one.

I use the right leaning forward oblique (/) for k2tog and the opposite direction left leaning oblique (\) for ssk. One of my peers thinks that is confusing to knitters so she uses two totally different symbols for clarity. The two are also very different from one another as opposed simply reversing direction of the same symbol. Another uses a graphic arts software unrelated to the knitting industry and created her own symbol data base.

Here is a chart from This is a Ravelry designer from Estonia.

The thing that is most important for the knitter to know is, there is no truly standard system of charting symbols. Always check the legend for the specific chart you are working from to ensure accuracy.

I wrote this one back in October 2013. I don't have any new info to add but I still hear commentary on standardization as though it is an active ongoing process. To my knowledge the knitting industry is such a small market, progress is very slow. I have seen some software listed as multi-language but I've not seen actual numbers of languages available. Knitting is international but many of the tools we use are not. I'm also not a fan of rating a pattern poorly in public forums for using unfamiliar symbols. If a legend is provided I feel the pattern writer has met the requirement for the knitter to be able to interpret the pattern. Many more foreign language patterns are being translated as designers try to increase market share. I'd rather those patterns became available to more knitters than have them rejected on the basis of standardization.

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