Luly – Plotting Patterns Tutorial by Lucy & Lily Hall Hartley

This is a fun way to design a unique piece of lace or a random color chart for Fair Isle knitting.

First, decide how big you want your design (or design repeat) to be.  In our example, we used a grid of 10 rows by 10 columns.

Now, get some graph paper, or draw your own graph to fit the size of your design.  Use a heavy line to outline your grid.

Number your rows and columns.  We numbered the columns from left to right and the rows from top to bottom, but you can number yours any way that you like.

Pick a partner.  This can be a friend or just anybody.  Tell the person how many rows and columns you have and ask them to randomly select two numbers at a time.  In our sample, the partner needs to pick any two numbers from 1 to 10.  This pair can even be the same number, like "2 and 2".

The first number of the set represents the row, and the second is the column.  So, if your partner did pick "2 and 2", go down two rows to Row 2, and over two columns to Column 2.  Make a mark in that square.

Have your partner continue to choose number sets until you are satisfied with what you have plotted on your chart.  We usually choose ten sets for a chart of this size.  "2 and 2", "4 and 6", "10 and 3", "7 and 9", "4 and 4", "7 and 3", "3 and 7", "5 and 1", “6 and 3”, and “5 and 2” are what we used in this sample chart.

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 V V 3 V V 4 V V 5 V 6 7 V V 8 9 10 V

Don’t worry if your partner chooses the same set twice.  Tell them that they already chose that one, and to pick again.

If your chart looks uneven, that’s OK!!  The idea is to be random, and your chart represents a unique pattern designed by you and your partner.

You can decide that the marks on your chart represent a certain color.  Use the chart for a piece of Fair Isle knitting.  If you want to add other colors, have your partner pick some more number sets.

Or, if you like to knit lace, make each mark represent a Yarn Over (YO).  Now plot a decrease of your choice (K2tog, SSK, etc.) somewhere on the same line as each YO.  You may need more than one decrease per row, depending on how many YO’s you have per row.  In lace knitting, the charted rows represent only the right side rows.  When you are knitting, don’t forget to include plain rows, also called “rest rows”, between each charted row.  These return rows can either be all knit or all purl.  When knitting from a lace chart, you knit the bottom row first, and work from right to left.

What will you do with your new pattern?  We think that you should knit something for the person who gave you the numbers.  You can either use the pattern once in the front part of a hat or on the ends of a scarf, or you can frame and display your little sample.  The knitted square could also be used as a pocket on a bigger project.  If you would like to use the chart several times in a knitted project, repeat the chart around the top part of a sock, or around the waistband of a sweater.

Have fun, and try out this technique soon!

Lucy Jane Hall Hartley

Lily Grace Hall Hartley