I'm trying to work on a design (one of several) for Knitty for the Winter issue (deadline to submit is September 2. This will be my first submitted design if I can get it done. We're not allowed to post pics or anything and I'm not really going to talk much about the specific design but I just wanted to vent some frustrations on charting. Part of the design involves a bit of intarsia and charting this sucker hasn't been easy so far. I'm using excel using Marnie's tutorial and while it's easier than paper and colored pencils... I dunno. I guess my issue is that my gauge is so small and my intarsia is so big so I have a big chart with lots of little cells to fill in in the correct shapes.
I'm not at all new to making my own charts. A few years ago, Beaner and BooBoo were really into the Disney princesses. I found a booklet that had sweaters that featured three of the princesses (Ariel, Snow White, and Cinderella I believe). Beaner liked Ariel so I made that sweater. BooBoo was in love with Belle from Beauty and the Beast so I had to make my own chart of her. It took hours. It took a long time to find a pic of her in which I could chart. Then I charted her by hand. Here's a pic of the first chart and part of the sweater in progress from a few years ago.
I think what I did was I figured out how many stitches across she needed to be and also how many rows high and taped together graph paper that would be that size (I'm sure it was square graph paper... I'm lucky Belle didn't come out smooshed). I then printed out the picture that I wanted to chart and drew a grid on the picture that corresponded with the size of the chart. At this point I was ready to start coloring in squares on my chart and I did so square by square. If the majority of the square in the picture was yellow (for her dress) the corresponding square on my chart was yellow. If it was half yellow and half peach (for her skin tone) I had to judge what it would like like one way or the other. Yikes, huh?
So, I suppose I really shouldn't complain that much about charting in excel. I don't have to scrounge around for graph paper (which, one can easily get online for free now. I'm sure you could in 2005 too when working on the Belle sweater but I didn't know about it), and if I make a mistake... it's a lot easier to change the color of a cell than white out and recolor on paper. Also, since I'm going to submit the chart for possible publication, it's a lot more professional looking than a scribbled on, crumpled up paper chart (that has been scanned in on an uber cheap scanner).
So, I'll continue to plug away in excel despite my grumblings...!
Oh! Just in case you're wondering whatever became of the now famous Belle sweater... I finished it up, got the seams all woven in and nice and pretty. I picked up stitches around the neck for some ribbing and...
my bind off was too tight and it wouldn't fit over BooBoo's head.
Did I fix it so she could wear it...?
nope... and I really have no idea what has happened to it since. Ariel's missing too!