So, over the weekend, as I was thinking about lace charts and browsing through the early treasuries of Barbara Walker's stitch patterns, I realized that my life would be made a lot easier if I could convert these patterns (which are all written out in words, line by line) into a visual representation, which tends to help me understand and memorize the chart better. I'm not sure what it is, maybe my inner programmer is showing, but when I can see a lace pattern in symbol form, memorizing it is a breeze.
Initiallly, I thought I would create my own symbols in Visio and over time add to that template as I needed to convert more charts. As I started to look at Barbara Walker's abbreviations (found in the 4th treatsury of her work) I thought that some of them were a little non-standard from what I was used to working with, and I decided that I needed to search and refresh my memory about symbols and their standard meanings.
As happens so often when I do this sort of thing, I realize that someone else has done something far better and much more handy than what I am embarking on that can save me a lot of time. In this case it turns out to be the Aire River Design Knitting Font a True Type font which can be downloaded for free for personal and professional use and thus is at your finger tips when you open up your favorite word processing program.
How cool is that?
Note, added after receiving some comments... Anne provided a link to another knitting font, the one used by Knitter's magazine. Although I haven't looked at it myself yet, Ariel comments that it's a fixed width font and may be easier to use for those of you who don't like to deal with setting up tables in Word or Excel. I'll definitely have to take a look at the Knitter's font sometime soon.
When I used the Aire River font, I created a table in Word with as many columns as were required for the number of stitches in the pattern repeat and set the column widths to be determined by the cell contents. Then I configured the columns so that all the symbols were horizontally and vertically centered, which overcame my need for a fixed-width font. It looks like the Knitter's font may create a grid automatically.