One of the challenges of our Valanar KAL is deciphering a cable chart. I've asked David to shed a little light on the subject.
Long before grown-up coloring books became all the rage, I was coloring in my knitting charts. I love knitting charts but sometimes they contain a lot of symbols to sort out. Color coding symbols are one of the best solutions I've found to interpret intricate knitting charts.
Generally, I only color code knitting charts for cables, especially intricate charts with varied cable crossings. I assign each particular cable cross one color so that I can quickly reference between the chart key and the chart itself. Coloring the cable crosses also allows me to easily see the movement of the cable in the chart and compare that to what I have knitted.
For example, I have a simple knitting chart with the following cable crosses: 3/3 LC (or C6F) and 3/3 RC (or C6B). On the knitting chart key, I will color the symbol for the 3/3 LC green and the symbol for 3/3 RC blue. I will then go to the actual chart and find all the 3/3 LC symbols and color them green. Then I will do the same for 3/3 RC.
As a chart gets more intricate, you will color in each cable cross a different color. In a project I am now knitting, I have ten different cable crosses, using ten different colors. The end result is a very colorful chart that is easy to read.
I understand that Knit Companion, a program for smart phones and tablets, can make quick work of the symbol coloring process for all kinds of charts (cable, lace, etc). Printed paper patterns are still my first choice but for those who prefer the newest technology, I encourage you to check out that program.