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Charts Made Simple: understanding knitting charts visually Paperback – January 18, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Using eye-opening materials proven in her workshops, master teacher JC Briar reveals exactly how charts reflect knitting, enabling readers literally to read their knitting and work with new-found confidence and clarity. This unique book should be part of every knitter's basic education. --Cat Bordhi

Charts Made Simple provides a progression of clear, step-by-step tutorials and is packed with visuals--some of the best I've ever seen. You will be happily and confidently knitting from charts in no time! --Margaret Fisher

Charts Made Simple guides you through the basics of how charts operate, explaining the whys as well as the whats to make charts your favorite knitting language. My only regret with this book is that it wasn't around when I had to figure out charting on my own a long time ago. --Joan Schrouder

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Glass Iris Publications (January 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098307920X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983079200
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A self-confessed "technique freak" and "skill junkie," JC dabbles in all kinds of knitting, but has a special fondness for textured knitting and novel construction techniques. If it involves lace, cables, or seamless construction, it's sure to catch her eye. She shares her enthusiasm by teaching at shops and fiber festivals, and through her book Charts Made Simple. Her latest venture is Stitch-Maps.com, a website for viewing and creating grid-free charts of unparalleled fluidity, authenticity, and beauty.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I teach over a thousand knitters a year, most of them very advanced. Yet in my workshops I hear again and again, "Where am I? Help!" These otherwise excellent knitters can't tell if they are on an increase round, if their lace is lined up, or why a pattern repeat suddenly spans a needle intersection when it didn't before. I do teach my students several preventive strategies for bouts of knitting blindness, but I have never had anything like JC Briar's new book to offer. I plan to carry her book from now on and wave it at my knitters, for it is the cure for their confusion, a sort of knitter's GPS they can install in their brains for clearer vision.

You might wonder if a book on knitting charts would be dull and put you to sleep. Quite the opposite. JC has designed her book like a series of tasty snacks served 1-2 pages at a time. All those light bulbs going on in her well-lit cafe will keep you happy and eager for more. If you dine your way through the whole menu, you will earn the ability to see your knitting as a chart and your charts as knitting, and feel as if you are knitting with enhanced reading glasses.

The "menu" includes this and much more:
--Matching knitting to chart and chart to knitting, including tricky situations
--Tricks for tracking lines of knitting
--Identifying and repairing mistakes using the chart as a map
--Organizing and working cable strands and crossings (these illustrations are particularly eye-opening)
--Understanding charts that show shape
--Pirouetting on pivot stitches (one of my favorite sections!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am so happy to see this book in print. It is about time that a book on making chart reading simpler became available to knitters. I've struggle with chart reading for years and have avoided patterns that utilize charts like the plague. This book helps me understand charts and how to read them. That is a huge accomplishment in itself.

The first chapter is called 'The Big Picture' and it illustrates how charts show you the big picture and how symbols look like stitches. It emphasizes that charts read in the same direction you knit. This is of absolute importance. Charts also show the right side of the fabric, never the wrong side. Blank squares or spaces keep clutter to a minimum and since there are always exceptions, special charts come with special instructions. There are ways to tweak charts to your liking. One way is to use a highlighter to make some symbols 'pop' off the page. You can customize symbols to your liking and you can use "highlighters that mimic the yarn colors you plan to use, bringing the colorwork pattern into view." You can also redraw the chart with colored pencils.

The second chapter is called 'Staying on Track' and it focuses on the following:

Notice How the Design Elements Line Up - Look the chart over and get an idea of the types of stitches used, where they are and how they line up in relation to one another.

"Cover the rows you have not yet knit". This is an absolute must.

Keep Track of Each Chart Separately. Since some patterns utilize more that one chart, don't get them confused.

Compare Your Knitting to the Chart. Do this frequently to see whether you're on track or whether you've goofed.

Teach Yourself to Read Your Knitting.
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Format: Paperback
I have in my hands a treasure: an advance copy of JC Briar's new book, "Charts Made Simple: understanding knitting charts visually."

I didn't know it, but I have been waiting for this book for a very long time.

Every time I have ever taught lace, which is a frequent occurrence, I have wished for some sort of reference to offer my students who are unfamiliar with charts. Since I ask my students to become very intimate with their lace work, even beyond "reading," it is essential that they wean themselves off of long strings of word descriptions and onto pictorial charts.

This is a tortuous process for many knitters, and there are various learning styles to consider as well.. some of us are aural learners, some of us visual, and some spatial.

JC's book appeals wonderfully to almost every style of learner and feels so good in the hand. A small, beautifully organized compendium of common sense and wise knitterly advice, it also ventures into previously uncharted territory as it exhorts us to go beyond the obvious, not even taking a chart at face value. Each chapter ends with a summary and a set of test questions, making it an ideal self guided learning experience.

As most designers who have had the great fortune to have worked with JC in her previous career as a tech editor par excellence, JC knows just about everything there is to know about knitting, and there has never been a tech editor with a sharper eye or a friendlier tone. "Charts Made Simple" is a wonderful opportunity to glean chart pointers from a master.
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