There are many approaches to keeping track of location. Find the method that is easiest for you:
- Mark off the symbols on the chart with a highlighter or pencil as you finish the corresponding stitches.
- Some people like to see the shapes of the different areas. Colour in the entire chart before starting to stitch, using distinctive colours for each symbol. The colours don't need to be close to the thread colours.
A suggestion from Judy Latting <firstname.lastname@example.org> combines the two above methods...
Using highlighters, I use yellow to mark the symbols of the colour I am going to work with next. I have the symbol count in my pattern info, so I count as I go to make sure I get them all. This allows me to plot the most efficient course of stitches that I can through the chart. As I complete these stitches, I go over the yellow with a pink highlighter. Now when I look at the chart, anything that is orange is done.
- Laminate the chart with clear contact paper. Mark off the parts as you finish them with a fine tip dry erase pen. The chart can be wiped clean with a paper towel when you are through. Works on colour and B&W charts.
- Put the chart on a metal board, and use a magnetic straight edge that can be moved along the chart as you stitch. A variation on this is to use non-magnetic plastic strips on a non-metal board.
- Use Post-It notes. They are easy to move, and very portable.
- Baste a grid onto the fabric. Some people like a 10x10 stitch grid. Others just use one horizontal and one vertical line through the centre. A variation is to baste a small "ruler" near the edge of the fabric, outside the area of the picture. Be careful to use a thread colour that doesn't show too strongly against the fabric, just in case the basting thread leaves little fuzzy remnants behind. Use a thread that can't be pierced with your needle so that the thread can be pulled out easily when you are finished. Some people find that monofilament and quilting threads work well. You can pull the thread out as you reach it, or stitch over it and pull it out later. Experiment to find out which method works best for you.
- Count twice. Count from two different locations.