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Pattern Scribbling Photos: Method in the Madness


Do you all mark up your patterns like crazy, too? Since I’m new to cabling, I’ve been coloring in charts and making multiple copies. But now, I feel like being sophisticated and NOT marking anything, with a mere Post-it (Andrea from Fruity Knitting does this). It probably won’t last, because I like to draw, and I like colored pencils and markers. The scribbling is the cables-without-a-needle technique in my internal jargon.


My big scribble is when I come to a “increase at end of row every eighth row, eight times.” I really would welcome a pattern that had a little grid BUILT IN so I could check it off in a tidy way, rather than write a bunch of numbers in the margin like a goofball. Does anybody out there actually do all that counting in your head? Stitch markers help, but I’m still a numbers-in-the-margin writer.


I also use post-its to keep track of where I am on a chart, and actually go through my pattern and create grids to check off, in the margin or on the post-it, and I mark each of the increases or decreases or pattern movements with a coilless safety pin in the knitted fabric. It might be too much, but it seems to keep me mostly on track.


Thats my big scribble too!
But i recently downloaded a row counter app that keeps count of how many times i have to do this and that. Knit Tink. It reduces the scribbles a bit.


This is good to know. I was trying to do increases in my head, and they were uneven. Claps hands Okay! Time to mark up my chart some more!


I keep a notebook in my knitting spot that records yardage in and yardage out (important to keep stash decreasing), notes about patterns, patterns I"m thinking about, checklists for repeats, etc.


I work out on which rows the action should happen, write those numbers on the pattern, perform the action when the row counter tells me I’m at the right spot, and then tick off the number on my pattern. Sometimes–when the pattern includes the dread words “and at the same time”–I have two such schemes going in the pattern margins.

I’m sure this is why pencils, and erasers, exist.


Oh, how about, “increase at the end or row eight times AND AT THE SAME TIME, bind off two stitches at neck edge every two rows twice, every four rows three times, etc…and reverse shaping on other neck and shoulder edges.”

Yep. Scribbles.


Oh, hey! Like minds.


Love the copy machine! I copy my pattern. When it says something like repeat rows 1-4 of the pattern 16 times more I make tick marks at the end of each row. When I have 17 ticks it’s time to go on to the next instruction. I also write down if I change something like use a different cast on, different increase or different decrease than listed. I always intend to put the marked up pattern page with the original but doesn’t always happen!

  1. Photocopy the pattern 2) Keep a mechanical pencil handy for notations and erasures and RE-notations 3) lose mechanical pencil 4) resort to using the free pen from the Hampton Inn that lives in the kitchen junk drawer, and 5) also compulsively tick off each step of the instructions until the text begins to look like an obscure, heavily-edited Baltic language.

That’s pretty much my method.


Ha! That Hamton Inn pen never dies!!!


Love the phrase “where the action happens.” That is so apt.


I am a hopeless margin writing sometimes will resort to a post it. I am ashamed of my somewhat untidy habit . I do not even bother to copy my patterns, I figure that they are my books so I can mark them up if I want to. I have downloaded counting apps. (never used) would rater just mark in the margins. And I can use the chart over and over. Start with a dash, next time a check mark and on and on. I guess I need to just accept my one bad habit. (ha)


Quantitative! I like your style!


An ex had a habit of referring to my photocopied patterns with markings and notes and charts and tally marks in the margins as my “betting sheets.” He thought it was a joke, I did not.

Also, sometimes I’ve put patterns inside a page protector, the kind you’d put in a binder, and then used a dry-erase marker to check off rows and repeats. Then, when you’re done, you can wipe everything off and use the pattern again.


I use a PDF reader on my iPad where I can write and highlight and make tally marks to my hearts content. But in the old days, I used to put my pattern in a clear page protector and put post its and tape on the protector.

Before I got a fancy magnetic pattern holder, I’d use a small baking tray with magnets - I’d use a long thin magnet to mark my rows.


I sometimes glue copies of the pattern to the back of empty cereal boxes so I have more room and can prop them up and write on them. They also last longer and don’t get squished in my bag. If I want to be fancy I arrange them like pages in a book.
I also enlarge my charts often to save eye stress.
If I make the chart larger on the screen there is an option on my printer to only print what is shown. It is a vision saver.
For lace patterns with a lot of different stitches I have read that some people do color coding on their charts. As someone with a love of markers this appeals to me, but those charts are usually beyond my skill level!!


Not at all! You should go into the letters archive and search for Ann’s post with her annotated sweater pattern. I can’t remember how far back. It’s all marked up. That’s actually what made me realized that I can mark the chart, for goodness sakes.


I just love the incoherence of my syntax. An early draft of my cabling technique:

(1) Is it “hold to front” or “hold to back”?
-Do opposite with wool
(2) Move # of stitches to be held on cable needle to right needle
(3) Do whatever to the remaining stitch (work the remaining stitches)

Ha! I’d love to see pics of your systems! They sound so good, I want to try all of them!