Now that you've gotten comfortable with the basics of reading charts, here are a few more tips to make it even easier:
- If your chart is fairly simple, put each row of the chart on a separate notecard. You can then move the completed row to the back of the deck, and the next one will be right there ready for you work on. I find this the easiest way to keep track of where I am on a pattern, and it allows me to put a project down without worrying overmuch about whether I've tracked my rows properly.
- For larger or more complicated charts, use pattern magnets to move up the chart as you go. Again, this is a great way to keep track of where you are and where you've been.
- Combine to conquer. Sometimes you'll have multiple charts to keep track of, with different row counts; try putting them all together in a single chart that will begin and end on the same row (for instance, if you have one pattern with a six-row repeat and another with a four-row repeat, you can combine them into a single 12-row chart). You can do this either by making multiple copies of your charts and taping them together, or just transposing them onto a separate sheet of graph paper.
- Spell it out. Even after you're comfortable working with charts, you may find it useful to either transpose them into written instructions or refer to existing written instructions if the pattern has them. Occasionally, there will be something in a charted instruction that just seems odd. By writing it out (or cross-checking with providing written instructions) you can usually resolve the issue and continue working from the chart.
With these tips in your bag of tricks, you should be ready to tackle even the most complicated lace and cable patterns!