Managing a lace chart

The Seaweed Scarf is coming along much more quickly than anticipated now that I’ve found an efficient way to follow the chart. This small notebook that I created holds a page for every charted row. When I’m done with a row I flip to the Chart_notebook_closed next page which has the current row highlighted.

I chose to display all rows on each page so that I can easily “read” the previous row on the knitted piece. This is handy when figuring out if a mistake was made on a previous row. I also put a sticky note to mark the current page in case I get distracted.

To make the notebook, I transferred the chart into an Excel spreadsheet and printed a copy for each row. This chart shows 6 rows so I made 6 copies, each with one of the six rows highlighted. I then trimmed the pages to half the original size and cut a transparent report cover to the same size. The pages and cover were then bound using a plastic binding spine that I got in Japan.

I checked around at the various office stores here in the US and found a similar binding system called Proclick. These types of bindings are very useful. The spines allow easy editing of the pages and unlike a binder, the pages flip 360 degrees. This biggest downside is the cost of the machine that punches the holes. Staples has it listed for $63. The Japanese version was a bit cheaper.

Another recent addition to my knitting bag is this small accessories bag from Eagle Creek. The front is made of a strong clear pliable plastic. I can now see all the tools before opening the pouch and easily pick out the one I need. My mini kacha-kacha row counter is conveniently attached to the side hook.

I’d love to get my hands on some of this clear plastic material to make a small organizer for the tools. Each item would have it’s own pocket. After doing some Google searching I think this plastic is called UVX and is mainly used for the windows of high altitude tents. Unfortunately I haven’t found a source that sells it.

11 thoughts on “Managing a lace chart

  1. I love the idea of a small notebook with a page for each row of a chart. I’m working on a sock now that has a four row repeat that I’m going to try this on. I’ve been using my row counter to keep track of where I am, but I still need to refer back to the pattern at times to remind myself of the stitch sequence. This will be a handy way of keeping track of where I’m at and the stitches in the pattern at the same time. Great idea!
    You might try Seattle Fabrics
    http://www.seattlefabrics.com/
    for some clear vinyl. They have several weights available and sell all kinds of outdoor fabrics – could be something there that might work.

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  2. Although it is probably not the same quality or exact product as Eagle Creek uses I have found a variety of clear vinyls at my local fabric shops (Hancocks, Joann’s etc).

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  3. Dave, I’ll go by Joann’s today and see if it’s the same stuff.
    Mary, I did go to Seattle Fabrics but didn’t find it. They do have vinyl but it just wasn’t as supple as what I’m looking for.

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  4. Flippin’ heck! That notebook is about the BEST idea I’ve heard in maybe YEARS! I always get all flabbergasted and turned about when I try to follow a chart…wow. Really glad I stumbled over here! I found you from the socknitters group on Yahoo, just so you know. Was originally looking around for short-row stuff, but of course had to look further! I’m glad I did.
    Ever been to Village Yarn and Tea Shop in Shoreline? I just visited last week. Nice place. They carry Fleece Artist sock yarn!
    Ok, enough. Nice day to you!

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  5. I’m glad that the notebook thing might help other knitter’s master lace charts.
    I don’t really take too much credit for the flip chart idea because I think I saw this somewhere else but can’t remember where. I just expanded on the idea with a new way to bind it.
    Kirsten – I haven’t been to Village Yarn. I’ll have to check it out.

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  6. Hello Roz,
    Thanks for pointing this out. I was thinking of mentioning Circa but didn’t because I found they don’t work for me.
    Several years ago, while going to school, I developed an unexplainable need to find the perfect notebook.
    Back then I bought tons Circa notebooks for school and though they were great until I started trying to use them for knitting patterns.
    Here’s why I no longer use them.
    – punched pages seem to get worn after much use and then don’t stay in.
    – don’t like the fringe edge created by the punch.
    – letter sized binders don’t stand up well on a shelf.
    – Circa doesn’t offer page protectors for the junior size. I would like to be able to take a standard letter size pattern and fold in half an place in a page protector instead of punching Circa holes into it.
    – junior size Circa is a bit smaller than standard 8.5 X 5.5 agenda size thus hard to fit a folded letter size page into it.
    – Circa doesn’t have a small zip pouch (like other agendas) for loose notes.
    Lately, I’ve been looking at various options and have created several that fit my needs.
    The one shown in the photo is great for small project. Besides the paper pages it has a small zip pouch for yarn samples and labels. The cover has flaps for holding loose pages and is translucent so I can see part of the pattern without opening the book.
    I also made one that’s bound with three binder rings and has standard agenda add-ons like page protectors, zip pouches and etc.
    As you can see, I’m getting really picky about my notebooks.

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  7. Hi..your notebook is a great idea. I have also found that the office supply stores will do the binding for a usually minimal fee. I take my knitting books which are hardback or softback and have them put the spines on so I can keep them flipped open, the cost has been less than $5 per book.

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  8. I think your chart book is brilliant. Even if part of the idea came from someone else. I think I have some more lace in my future and will try this out. Beautiful results.

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