I've been knitting for close to seven years, and many of those projects have involved reading knitting charts, which I thought I was proficient at. Then a few days ago, I realized that I'd been reading them wrong for as long as I've been reading them, but it never messed up my knitting because every chart I've ever used was mirrored.
Apparently you're supposed to read right-to-left and then once you get to the left, go up one row and read that one left-to-right. Which really does make sense in terms of the piece of fabric you're creating. I had been reading every row right-to-left, which works when you're reading a chart that only shows the right-side rows, assuming that the wrong-side rows are resting rows.
The little beauty that taught me this lesson is the Hamamelis Shawl, which, because it involves some garter stitch, has patterning on both sides.
A couple months ago, I started knitting this, then put it down for a bit to work on other stuff. When I came back to it, I hadn't even entered it on Ravelry, which meant that I probably didn't have any notes on where I'd left off. It was still pretty small, so I assumed (stupidly, of course) that I was at the end of the first chart.
I was wrong, but right enough. I needed to start the second chart, only it was the second repeat of the second chart. This, on top of my sudden inability to distinguish the concept "six" from the concept "seven," made for several hours of ripping and reknitting the first rows of chart 2, as well as the last couple of rows that I'd done months ago.
This ripping and reknitting also led to the realization that I'd been reading charts wrong, but then that led to the realization that it didn't matter how I was reading the charts because they're mirrored, and the real problem was that 6 != 7.
Ta-da! Please tune in next week when I run out of yarn because I've neglected to check gauge.