Whilst the poll has by no mean run its course yet, the first few hours of voting have produced what I think are some very interesting results. As the vote stands (though it may well have changed by the time you are reading this), there are currently 70 votes (62%) from people who prefer their lace patterns in chart form, 29 votes (25%) from people who preferred written instructions, and 13 votes (11%) from voters who have no preference. (The figures have been automatically rounded up or down by the poll, which explains those missing few percent).
I deliberately did not put a 'both' option in the poll as I think that most people would naturally tick 'both' (I myself would) because very few people would turn down the offer of both sets of information, even if one were never to be used, and I wondered how much use a set of written instructions would actually get. Where people use both the chart and written instructions in conjunction and have commented to explain their working method, I am very appreciative of your explanations into how you combine both sets of instructions to best decipher the pattern.
Whatever the eventual outcome of the poll, the fact that 28 people have already stated a preference for written instructions has come as quite a surprise to me. I thought that the poll would be much more heavily in favour of charts over written instructions than the current 62% to 25% shows. To me, a chart not only conveys the information about each of the individual stitches in a clear and concise way, but also bears a visual resemblance to the item you are knitting in a way that written instructions simply cannot. If I lose my row counter from my needle (as I did this morning) I can easily glance at the chart and see exactly what row I am on, because the chart looks like my knitting. Moreover, with very long rows of complex lace instructions, I can see, by comparing my knitting to the visual clues in the chart in front of me, exactly where I am in the row I am working on, whereas whenever I try to knit from written lace instructions I have to read along the row, knit the ten or twenty stitches I can remember, then try to find my way along that row of instructions to the place that I left off. I'm perfectly comfortable knitting from written lace instructions, but just find it speedier to knit from a chart as I always know where I am, and I wonder if the same is true in reverse for those who prefer their instructions written?
I quite recently granted a request for one of my charted designs to be written out for a member of the Ravelry group Chart Haters Anonymous, when a user posted in the group requesting help with the charted pattern of the Rubber Ducky Facecloths patterns.
Whilst visiting the chart haters anonymous group to find the above URL, I actually came across another poll in the Ravelry Techniques forum, which asked a similar question to the one I asked above.