Charts!!

crochet charts pineapple top

(Pattern notes on the above top can be found here)

You know what’s better than spending hours rewinding and skipping through You Tube patterns? CHARTS!

Visual learners, this one’s for us.

I must admit that I am waaaay late on this one. What have I been missing? Only about a million free patterns from all over the world. No translation required, no ginormous sentences explaining a simple shell stitch, no wondering where the pattern writer is taking you. It’s there. All there. For your gorgeous eyes to soak up.

My first experience with charts was the “Virus Shawl” (pattern here). I struggled. It looked super complicated, but once I understood what all those symbols meant … easy (with a few notes). Most charts use the same language, and once you understand it, you can grab a highlighter or pen and chart your way through. The virus is a little different, but the legend at the bottom generally will  steer you in the right direction.

Virus Shawl made by me.jpeg
Not the best of photos. This is a virus shawl I made last year out of Ice Yarns 3 ply lace yarn. I sold it, so I can’t give you a better shot of it. 😦

Think about the basic stitches: chains, single crochet, double crochet, triple crochet, etc. These are all the basic foundation of larger stitches like clusters, shells, decreases, increases.

In charts, you rely on these basic stitches to get you through pineapples, fans, clusters, shells, etc.  Let’s look at the basic granny square chart …

Granny-Square-Chart

Recognize it? The arrow tells you where to start. The numbers tell you what round you are on, and the shading helps you navigate (bigger charts don’t have this, and expect you to be able to follow the stitches up and down).

The circles are chains (1 chain for every circle)

The T’s with one line are double crochets (two lines would be a triple, three lines double triple, etc.)

The black dots are your slip stitches; they show you where you want to slip stitch to. So, for this pattern you sl st to close the round, and then you have to sl st to the next dot to start your next chain.

So, now you’re ready for something much bigger, right? The picture at top is only the third chart pattern I’ve attempted. If I can do it, so can you.

I don’t have a finished piece, yet, but let’s get you started … you can download this free pattern and about a dozen others at this Japanese website: http://www.360doc.cn/article/3243271_575361208.html

The one I used is Pattern 19. You’ll have to do some scrolling, but I promise it is there as of Feb. 23, 2018. There are three jpg’s for this pattern: a front, a back, and an edging and assembly page. I’ll be posting some lessons I learned about this particular pattern in my “Patterns to Try” page, but here are a few pics of my progress so far.

crochet lace chart top Number 5 crochet thread.
Still a ways from finishing, but you get the basic idea. The two front straps are worked separately until they meet at the V. Then the back is worked until it reaches the bottom of the arm pit holes, then the whole thing is joined and is worked in the round (turning at the end to keep the pattern the same). You can go as long as you want. 
02231809231763439379.jpg
Here is the edging I decided on for the neck. This is me winging it. The V was a little long and pointy for my liking, so I shortened it up with three rounds of half double crochet, a little peek-a-boo made with some chains and three triple crochets (to round out the V), and some scallops made with double crochets and slip stitches.
reading and understanding crochet charts
It can get dizzying working with charts … especially when working with shells and pineapples. I use a pen to trace up and down on my last row to keep my eyes from crossing. I also write down a few stitch counts so I don’t have to count all the little circles over and over. BTW, the x’s are single crochets. I also put a line or arrow on the side I’m currently working so I know where I left off.

 

0403180826-011597471573.jpeg
After living with the neckline above, I decided it was a little harsh and needed some softening up. Here’s the final version. Notes on how I finished it can be found on my projects page

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