I’ve been making progress on the shawl. The designing phase involved taping sheets of graph paper together and charting it all out. I tried things and erased things and came up with a design I like. It incorporates some blank spaces to set off the diamond lace. I have also mixed up the double diamonds with singles (both just the outside and just the inside).
I then examined both the Stahman book and the Neatby pattern to try to work out how many rows of garter stitch border I had to knit and how to get the back started. That led to a bit of fiddling with the first few rows. But I have cast on and knit over 20 rows of the shawl. It is looking good.
Yesterday, frustrated with the size of the chart, I typed it all up (using a font downloaded free from Knitters magazine; they are Mac friendly). That helped me see that I was a couple of rows off in length between the centre panel and the side panels, but it was easy to fix and I now have some pretty charts. I’m not going to post them yet as I’m thinking I might make this pattern available once I’ve finished knitting it up and can see what it looks like.
There has been some discussion of charting software lately. I don’t have any (though I should probably look into it). I chart by hand using a pencil, an eraser, and graph paper. The free font allows me to type it up in Word and I have a dohickey that puts an option in my print dialogue box to save as a PDF allowing me to share the resulting charts with people who don’t have the font installed. But the font is a font. You still have to type from top to bottom, left to right. Unless you have already charted out your design this is impossible. No one designs like that. Knitting works right to left, bottom to top. But as a means of making useable and shareable charts with minimum investment (it is a free download), the font works.