Posted 19 Oct 2018 by JC

Today’s update is a twofer:

Part 1: exporting a collection’s key

Premium subscribers have long had the ability to export a stitch pattern’s key. Now they can also export the key for an entire collection. This key will define all the symbols used in all the stitch patterns in the collection. For example, here’s the key for my Short-rowed doilies collection:

sample key

As you’d expect, it contains symbols for short-row turns, since every pattern in the collection uses them. It also contains bind-off symbols, even though Diamond Doily doesn't use them, because the other patterns do. And it contains the cast-on symbol, even though Diamond Doily is the only stitch pattern that uses that symbol.

I’m pretty keen to use this feature myself. I figure it’ll be super useful when I’m putting together the handouts for the classes I’m teaching. Imagine this: create a collection containing all the stitch patterns shown in the handouts, export the collection’s key, put the key into the handouts as well, and boom! no need to worry about the handouts not defining a crucial symbol.

Part 2: user interface tweaks

Adding an action item for “export this collection’s key” nudged me into making a couple mostly cosmetic changes. First off, the sidebars on a few pages were looking a little cluttered, so I’ve made the sidebar panels collapsible. Initially, only the first panel is open, but you can open more with a quick click – for example, for the Short-rowed doilies collection:

sidebar panels

Then I put icons for commonly-used actions next to each stitch pattern’s name, and added icons next to action item links – for example, for Diamond Doily:

extra icons

action panel

Hopefully you’ll enjoy these little improvements. As always, if you have questions or concerns, please speak up! Start a conversation in the Stitch Maps group on Ravelry, or contact me directly.

Improved current-row highlighting

Posted 24 Aug 2018 by JC

Subscribers been able to highlight their current row since 2013. The “gotcha!” is that, when short rows are involved, some row numbers aren't displayed – making it hard to figure out which row is being highlighted:

Sample heel turn, with an unlabelled row highlighted

Which row is that?

So, by request, when a row is being highlighted, the pattern’s detail page now displays that row’s number:

current row display

It’s row 8!

Bonus: the display is also a menu that lets you jump to and highlight any row:

row number menu

Seriously? I should’ve made this change years ago.

You may need to refresh your browser window to see these changes. And, as always, if you experience any weirdness, please let me know!


Threaded stitches

Posted 12 Jul 2018 by JC

By request, and with super-helpful input from Gannet, Knittingand, irishlacenet, pdxknitterati, and TracyGP, I’m pleased to announce that now supports threaded stitches.

What? You’ve never heard of “threaded stitches”? Well, okay, I’m not surprised; you don’t run into them often. They’re kind of odd. As with cable crosses, you work a set of stitches out of their usual order – but instead of reordering them by crossing one group over another, you thread one group through another. As you can imagine, this can be a little fiddly, though it’s often made easier (and more dramatic!) by working with elongated stitches, aka stitches that have been multiply-wrapped on the previous row.

Some examples are in order. Check out these symbols:

  • 3/3 left thread thru3/3 left thread thru = Slip 6 stitches with yarn on WS, dropping any extra wraps. Insert left needle into first three stitches slipped, then pull them over the other three stitches and return them to left needle. Return remaining three stitches to left needle. K6 on RS, p6 on WS.
  • 3/3 right thread thru3/3 right thread thru = Slip 6 stitches with yarn on WS, dropping any extra wraps. Return stitches to left needle. Insert right needle into 4th, 5th, and 6th stitches on left needle. Pull them over the first three stitches, leaving them on the left needle. K6 on RS, p6 on WS.

They’re used in the lovely (if blandly named) Threaded Waves:

stitch map for Threaded Waves

swatch photo for Threaded Waves

I like this stitch pattern as-is, but I think it would be awesome in a hand-painted yarn, with a contrast-color yarn for the garter ridges, and maybe even with the plain stitches on rows 7 and 13 slipped rather than knit. Hmm, what do I have in my stash that would work ...?

All told, now sports 20 symbols for threaded stitches, plus three new symbols for quadruply-wrapped stitches:

  • k1 wrapping yarn 4 timesk1 wrapping yarn 4 times on RS, p1 wrapping yarn 4 times on WS; drop extra wraps on next row
  • p1 wrapping yarn 4 timesp1 wrapping yarn 4 times on WS, k1 wrapping yarn 4 times on WS; drop extra wraps on next row
  • yo wrapping yarn 4 timesyo wrapping yarn 4 times; drop extra wraps on next row

Why quadruply-wrapped stitches? Because they’re used in perhaps the most well-known pattern with threaded stitches, Indian Cross Stitch:

stitch map for Indian Cross Stitch

It’s found in Barbara Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. (But you’re not going to find me knitting a sample. Threading four quadruply-wrapped stitches through four other quadruply-wrapped stitches is too fiddly for my tastes. Your mileage may vary!)

As always, you can find all these symbols in the key. And you know where to find me if you have questions!


Posted 26 Mar 2018 by JC

tl;dr now handles brioche stitch patterns, via the brSl abbreviation and the brSl and brSl symbols.

The full story

Brioche stitch patterns are notoriously difficult to chart. Part of the problem is that each stitch in a typical brioche pattern is essentially worked over two rows. Showing exactly what happens to each stitch over the course of those two rows tends to result in cluttered charts that don’t reflect the “gestalt” of the pattern. You get to see every little twig and branch of every tree, but the forest gets lost.

And so in adding support for brioche stitch patterns to, my primary goal was to find symbols that would result in clear, expressive, easy-to-read stitch maps – that is, to keep the stitch maps as simple as possible, so that the patterns could shine as brightly as possible.

Curiously, after a good deal of trial and error (oh, so much error!), the solution turned out to be a pair of symbols:

  • brSlbrSl
  • brSlbrSl

Both mean precisely the same thing: “brioche slip,” that is, slip a stitch purlwise and yarn over at the same time. This results in two loops that need to be treated as a single stitch on the following row.

Naturally, you may be wondering why two symbols are necessary – in particular, two symbols that look an awful lot like those for knit and purl. Here’s the thing: when you enter brSl as part of your stitch pattern’s knitspeak, will figure out automatically whether it should display brSl or brSl, depending on how the stitch is worked on the following row. If the stitch is knit on the following row, will display brSl. If it’s purled, the site will display brSl. In this way, you’ll get k symbols stacked on top of brSl, and p symbols stacked on top of brSl.

And this stacking is the key to clear and expressive stitch maps. It’s what lets the ribbed nature of many brioche patterns to shine. Let’s look at a few examples.

S-Twist is one of the first patterns in Knitting Fresh Brioche by Nancy Marchant. It’s also one of the simplest. At a glance, you can see that on most rows you’re just maintaining plain brioche rib. It’s only on row 3 that you create the actual S-Twist pattern via increases and decreases.


Fanny and Feathery – also from Knitting Fresh Brioche – is somewhat more dramatic. Check out those 1-to-9 increases!

Fanny and Feathery

This pattern is new. It’s a brioche version of Thistles. I haven’t tried knitting it yet, but it looks promising. And I am tempted to create brioche versions of other lace patterns.

Thistles, brioche version

Given my apparent fondness for Knitting Fresh Brioche, you may also be wondering why the abbreviation for brSl and brSl is brSl, and not the more common sl1yo. In a nutshell: it’s a limitation of the knitspeak parser at The way it processes knitspeak, it wouldn’t be able to distinguish between sl1yo and sl1, yo. And so a new abbreviation became necessary. I hope you don’t mind.

I also hope you’ll give these new symbols a try. Map some of your favorite brioche patterns (or make up new ones!). And, as always, if you encounter any weirdness with this new feature at, please let me know!


Posted 5 Feb 2018 by JC

This new feature is a goodie for all you organization buffs out there. You know who you are. You’re the ones who like having a place for everything and everything in its place. now lets you curate collections. Think of a collection as a place to put stitch patterns, as an organizational cubby of sorts. When you create a collection, you get to decide which stitch patterns belong in that cubby, using any criteria you choose. A collection of Victorian stitch patterns? Or short-rowed doilies? Or patterns you want to swatch someday? Sure, why not? Knock yourself out.

You might be wondering how collections differ from tags. After all, you can already search for stitch patterns tagged with “Victorian,” or with “short rows” and “doily.” And you can mark favorites that you’d like to swatch. But collections go a couple steps further:

  • You can put anyone’s stitch pattern into one of your collections. In contrast, you can’t tag other knitters’ patterns. So my Victorian collection contains patterns that weren’t tagged as being Victorian.
  • You can provide a description for each of your collections, saying... well, whatever you want, really. But it might be nice to describe the common thread that runs through all the patterns in the collection.
  • You can choose a visibility for each of your collections. Just as with stitch patterns, anyone can view your public collections; only you can view your private collections; and other knitters can view one of your hidden collections only when you give them the collection’s direct link.

I’m sure you’ll find ways to use collections that I haven’t thought of. But, for starters, consider these ideas:

  • To gather together related stitch patterns, for your own use or to share others, if you really do have that organizational bug.
  • To gather together hidden stitch patterns that others have shared with you. This way, you can easily search through them on the collection’s main page.
  • For premium subscribers: To gather together hidden stitch patterns you want to share as a cohesive set – for example, all the stitch patterns in one of your project patterns, or all the stitch patterns that you reference in a class that you teach.

By this point, you’re probably ready to give collections a try. Here’s what you need to know:

Browsing collections

Check out the navigation bar at the top of each page. Where it used to have a Browse link, it now has a Browse menu with two options: Stitch patterns and Collections. Select the latter, and you’ll have the option of browsing through all the public collections on the site, with search options similar to those on the page for browsing through stitch patterns. Each collection will be displayed as a quartet of thumbnails, with a number showing how many more aren’t on display in that quartet.

Click on the quartet (or the collection name below the quartet), and you’ll see the collection’s main page, complete with the collection’s description and with options for searching through the collection’s stitch patterns.

Curating collections

Four icons let you curate collections:

Add to a collection

Find this icon next to the name of a pattern. Click on it, and up pops a modal dialog. In the dialog, choose the name of the existing collection to which you want to add the pattern, or enter the name of a new collection.

Remove from this collection

Find this icon next to the name of a stitch pattern, on a collection’s main page. Note that clicking on the icon just removes the stitch pattern from the collection; it does not delete it from the site altogether.

Edit collection

Find this icon on a collection's main page. Click on it, and you’ll be directed to a page where you can edit the collection’s description, tags, and visibility. Premium subscribers can also specify custom links, as for stitch patterns.

Delete collection

Find this icon on a collection's main page. Note that clicking on it just deletes the collection, not the stitch patterns in the collection.

And now, for the fine print

  • Only subscribers get to curate collections. Not a subscriber yet? Now’s your chance to sign up.
  • Basic subscribers can mark their collections as public or private. Premium subscribers can mark their collections as public, private, or hidden. In other words, your visibility options are the same for collections and for stitch patterns.
  • You can’t increase a stitch pattern’s visibility by putting it into a collection. For example, if you put a bunch of your private patterns into a public collection, that collection will appear empty to other knitters. Ditto if you put someone else’s hidden stitch pattern into your collection. But placing your hidden patterns into a hidden collection lets you share those hidden patterns with other knitters simply by handing out the collection’s link, rather than having to hand out the links for the individual patterns.

Questions? Comments? You know where to find me.

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