There is more to love in Action Charts, but for some knitters they are just too different to comprehend at first glance. Last week I posted about Action Charts, but at over 800 words I felt I needed to continue in another post to give this topic the best explanation.
Symbols and Why I Have a Slightly Different Approach
I admit it. I like to do things my way. Some symbols don’t work for me, or I have an idea I think is better. Guess what I use? For the longest time I didn’t realize that not only did I chart differently in Action charts, but that I illustrated action differently for increases, and decreases. I was seriously surprised, because my way seemed so logical I wasn’t aware it was different.
I add the increase stitch into the chart on the Increase row. If the row before the increase has 20 stitches, and 4 stitches will be increased, the Increase row will show 24 stitches. Where else do you put the increases?
Likewise, if I have 24 stitches on the row before a decrease row, and there are 4 stitches to be decreased, it will show the full row of 24 stitches on the decrease row, followed by a row of 20 stitches. There is love in Action charts; I spend a lot of time making them communicate clearly and effectively.
Analyzing an Action Chart OR, Finding Love in Action Charts
Let’s see how this whole business of increasing and decreasing might look on an actual Action chart. You might find Love sooner if you pick up yarn and needles and work these 12 rows. Start with 24 stitches and end with 35 stitches. Dec/Inc 25 is a RS row. Place stitch markers to separate the repeat from the beginning and ending stitch sections.
A Closer Look At This Action Chart
This chart has a little bit of everything in terms of decreases and increases! Look at Dec/Inc Row 25 before the orange box. This section will have increases on every RS row.
- a string of 6 knit stitches,
- YO symbols (used as increases — the previous row had 9 stitches before the repeat), and
- 9 “no stitch” stitches.
Look at Dec/Inc Row 25 inside the orange box. The repeat has no increases.
- stitch pattern repeat (12 stitches),
- YO symbol paired with a k2tog. These two stitches work together to create an eyelet, not an increases or decrease, and so each occupies one stitch space.
Look at Dec/Inc Row 25 after the orange box. This section creates a scalloped edge. WS rows increase, while RS rows either decrease or remain constant.
- The k3tog symbol is a decrease, so the symbol covers three stitch spaces — the two stitches to be decreased, and the third stitch which remains as a result of the k3tog.
Now look at the next row, Inc Row 26.
- the YO symbol is an increase,
- there are two strings of stitches to be knitted
- the “no stitch” stitches matches the previous row,
- the row ends with a single purl stitch.
Notice that the grid doesn’t decrease the 2 stitches from the previous row. The YO increases a stitch, so only one stitch is decreased. The k1 after the YO is the stitch remaining from the k3tog of Dec/Inc Row 25.. The pattern repeat stitch count is the same, as is the number of no stitch stitches. The two YO increases in the beginning section were added in on the previous Dec/Inc Row 25.
Symbols That Are The Same, But Different Sizes
Further up in the chart you can see that wherever a k2tog is matched with a YO, there is no change in the stitch count and each symbol occupies a stitch. On Inc 29, the k3tog occupies a single stitch, because the decreases are matched by YO on either side. Other k3tog not matched with YOs occupy three stitch spaces and decrease two (but are always follows by a YO increase on the next row).
Love the Flexibility of Action Charts
Because there is no “if you did this, do that”, I find it easy to memorize and work from Action Charts. Each stitch is represented as it is to be worked. I can put markers in to separate sections of my knitting, and even if the stitch counts change within those sections, it is easy to match it to my knitting. This is clearly what you see is what you do. Maybe they are the reason I rarely bother with a lifeline (sometimes I should!).
I too the original written stitch pattern and put it into an Action chart. The stitches are stacked so it is easy to see that the stitch counts change, but not over the repeat, and not in the beginning. Because I stacked those stitches, when I wrote the increases, the segment being increased looks like the pattern repeat. From the original written instructions it would be hard (it was hard) to see that the end of the RS rows / beginning of WS rows was shaped and the only place where were increases and decreases..
How they are presented in Patterns
I like to put Action charts and keys immediately following the written instructions in a pattern. This way you can use both written instruction and Action charts, or choose one over the other. I break my patterns into sections that are chartable, which means my charts are complete and exactly mimic the words I use. This is Love in Action charts.
I always recommend Stitch Maps to those who prefer standard appearance charts. My written instructions will generally work or only need a tiny bit of tweaking to get a nice chart.
Did you find Love in Action charts? I believe this is unique material created for Jill Wolcott Knits. If you choose to copy my methodology for publication, please credit me! Interested in learning how to do this? Email me as I’m going to do a short online class in January and you can get on the list for the announcement.
Love this stitch pattern? A new pattern is with the tech editor!
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