Monday, January 25, 2010

How to Make a Knitting Chart in Excel (Part 1 - Setting up the Chart)

A comment on my peptide beer cozy pattern page inquired how I was able to make the chart look so good. You can go to an office supply store and purchase graph paper. You can download graph paper online. But how can you easily make a chart of your own design and share it on the web? In this article, I will give you a tutorial for using Microsoft Excel to generate your knitting charts. In Part 2, I will discuss how to draw your chart and in Part 3, how to save and share your chart.

I'm using Microsoft Excel 2003 on a PC, so the location of some of the menus and tools may vary depending on your version. The general technique should work just fine for you. These instructions will give you a square grid. Keep in mind that knit stitches are not perfect squares.)


To see a larger version of any of the screen shots, click on the image and the full size file should open up.

Setting up the graph paper
  1. Open a new Excel document and save the file. (Always save your work frequently!)
  2. Resizing the columns: To resize the columns evenly, you need to select the columns you would like to resize. Click on the "A" header of the column (see red arrow) and drag until all the columns you want are selected. Alternatively, Click on "A" and while holding pressing the shift key, click on the column heading and the end of your range (selecting A through CZ will give you 104 columns.)


    The column "A" header


    Multiple columns are highlighted

  3. The end default of columns is Q, but if you press the right scroll bar arrow at the bottom of the screen (see red arrow in the below picture), you can increase the number of columns.



  4. Click on the edge of a highlighted column, and drag until you see the width label change to 1 (12 pixels). Note: You will not see these numbers when you release the click. This width is approximately the size of a single letter width in the column label. By selecting many columns at once, you will have a grid where every square has the same width. If you have kept track of the width value, then it is easy to add more columns of the same size later, but I like to start with more than I could ever need.


    Resizing the columns


    After the resizing is complete

  5. Now that we have a good square width, our grid is made up of small rectangles. To adjust he height, select multiple rows as you did with columns. I like to select a couple of hundred rows (sometimes I like to work on multiple charts in one document) As with selecting columns, click on the "1" row title, and the "150" row title while holding down the shift key.



  6. With the 150 rows selected, click on in between 2 rows (see red arrow) and drag to decrease the size until you have a height of 9 (12 pixels.)



  7. You now have a grid of 104x150! You are ready to start designing your knitting chart.

The finished grid

Continue this tutorial:
Part 2 - Drawing your Chart
Part 3 - Saving and sharing your chart

19 comments:

  1. This is excellent! Thanks for sharing

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  2. If you click on the square to the right of "A" above "1" you will highlight your whole sheet.
    Then use your instructions for changing the width and height and. .... voila = quick and easy graph paper.

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  3. oops, that's LEFT of A

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  4. You have NO idea how long I've been looking for instructions like these. Thanks, Rebecca!!!

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  5. That really is a fast option AND it allows me to make my graphs faster (and clean up mistakes quicker)! Thank you :)

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  6. Sarah and Rachel, You're very welcome for the tutorial. I love when I am able to help someone out!

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  7. I have found the following settings work well for making patterns
    Double Knit: Column width 0.92 and height 11.25. This gives you 11 pixels by 15 pixels which gives a tension equivalent of 22sts and 30 rows over 10 cms on 4mm needles.
    4ply: Column width 1.29 and height 13.50.
    Aran: Column width 0.75 and height 9.00.

    For other weights look at the tension and half it and that will give you the number of pixels.

    Works for me but you may want to do a test piece first if working on a large area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There was just an article in Vogue Knitting about how two people knitting with the same yarn and same needles can have different shaped stitches. It is always important to check your gauge!

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  8. Testing the gauge is always important if you care about the scale of your designs.

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  9. Thank you Anonymous for the tip. My math teacher taught me that but I had forgotten. Also, when you do that it shows that A1 is not highlited but it really is, do not mind that.

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    Replies
    1. The reason why A1 doesn't appear to be highlighted in that figure is because that is where the cursor is located. So you are right, it is still highlighted :)

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  10. Really, really nice, I am doing it as I type. Just one itsy-bitsy problem: I do not know what I should design on mine. Maybe dog bones? I want to make a dog bandana for my chubby pal. What do you think?

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    Replies
    1. I have some dog themed knitting charts that include paw prints and dog bones. These were knit up in Indy's Stocking.

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  11. I seriously just designed a pattern! I seriously just designed a pattern! I want to hug you! I want to hug you! I'm so excited! I'm so excited! Yes yes yes! Yes yes yes! Yay yay yay! Yay yay yay! Hooray! Hooray!

    Sorry about the excitement. I think I'm over it now (yippee yippee!).
    Thanks so much, this is great!

    I JUST DESIGNED A PATTERN, I JUST DESIGNED A PATTERN, I JUST DESIGNED A PATTERN, I JUST DESIGNED A PATTERN...

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    Replies
    1. Congrats! I'm glad that my tutorial was able to help you start creating your own designs. Now you just need to create a blog and share them with the world ;)

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  12. Except that knitting graphs need to be rectangular, not square, if you want the design to look right. Knit stitches are wider than they are tall, so this will give you some wonky looking designs.

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    Replies
    1. Excellent point! Knit stitches are often rectangular, but not always. It depends greatly on the knitter and the yarn used (with some yarns my stitches are square.)

      I used the square as an example of how to change size. It would be best to check your gauge before starting a design so you can fix the proportions accordingly. I frequently use 10 pixels long by 12/13 wide for my designs.

      If you look in the above comments, one knitter provided her measurements for different types of yarns for her suggested proportions.

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