The vast majority of all of our charted patterns use the colors as shown in the sample. This method of charting colorwork works very well for a variety of reasons: it is easy to look at the sample and the chart together to assist you in the knitting, the chart typically works well if printed in greyscale, and it is helpful during the pattern layout/design process when checking for errors.
But many knitters run into a problem if the colors they’re using are the opposite of the main color and contrast color, or if one of the colors is similar and the other is not – it is difficult for our brains to constantly “switch” the colors in our mind when knitting and can make the process frustrating – something we definitely want to avoid!
For this reason, we’ve begun including charts that contain symbols instead of colors as well as the colors as shown. Below are the steps to using an alternate chart, including two examples of alternate colorways for the November Mitten, and how I would use the alternate chart provided in the pattern to make the knitting process easy and painless.
• A printed copy of the Alternate Chart
• Colored pencils matching the colors of your yarn
STEP 1 /
After choosing your yarn colors, designate the main color and contrast color. The main color is represented on the chart as the empty white box. The CC is designated on the chart as the box with the “+” sign in it.
STEP 2 /
Pick colors from your pencils that are a close match to the yarn that you are using. If you cannot find a perfect match, just pick colors that are close enough to assist you in deciphering which color is which.
STEP 3 /
Color in the boxes with the pencils according to the colors you will be using.
Alternate Colorway 1:
• MC: Dark Blue
• CC: Turquoise
For this alternate colorway, I chose two cool colors, and assigned the darker color (Derwentwater) as the main color. Because this color choice follows the same MC (dark) / CC (light) as the sample, here is a very good chance you could knit from the original chart, but I highly recommend using the alternate chart if switching from red to blue in your brain as you work is potentially confusing or will slow you down.
ALTERNATE COLORWAY / 2
• MC: Tan
• CC: Pumpkin
For this alternate colorway, I switched the MC and CC so that the lighter color is the MC and the darker color is the CC. As the colors are also very close to the colors used in the sample, this is a prime example of how using the alternate chart would be incredibly useful.
Alternate charts are not only useful in 2 color simple patterns such as these. As many designs use more than two colors, the more complicated the pattern – and more experimental you are with your choices – the more useful you may find the alternate charts to be! They’re also wonderful for “testing out” potential colorways without having to dive right into knitting.