In knitting, being able to picture lines of written instructions or gridded stitch charts as a physical knitted shape is extremely helpful, but it’s not always easy to make that mental leap from written to visual. (My mind certainly doesn’t work that way!) That’s why I’m so intreguied by Stitch Maps, an interesting new grid-free approach to stitch charts from knitting teacher, designer, and author JC Briar. (If you’re both a crocheter and a knitter, you’ll probably feel right at home when looking at the patterns in Stitch Maps.)
Stitch maps are a new form of knitting chart that use traditional symbols in a novel way: without a grid.
The symbols within a stitch map clearly show what stitches to work. And – not being confined within grid squares – they also show which stitches of the previous row should be worked.
The end result? Charts with unparalleled fluidity, authenticity, and beauty.
As you can see in the feather and fan pattern above, instead of displaying the stitches in a traditional grid, stitch maps show how each stitch interacts with the stitches around it to create a visually lovely representation of the actual shapes that the pattern creates. You can see stitches toggling together—or yarn overs or different kinds of stitches—and how that changes the structure of the columns of stitches, eliminating any confusion about where in the pattern repeat these changes should fall. Beyond clarifying patterns, stitch maps are also tools for deepening one’s understanding of the underlying structure and construction techniques that yield familiar shapes and finished items. Pretty neat, huh?
Want to give stitch maps a try? As of this morning, there were about 140 patterns on the site, with options to contribute to the project, plus subscription options for customizing your experience. Head over to Stitch Maps for more information!