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community home > Knitting > Knitting Hints and Tips > Reading Knitting Charts - Part 1 - Corrected and Updated 3/1/16
Reading Knitting Charts - Part 1 - Corrected and Updated 3/1/16
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StitchMeKnot message #1
Reading Knitting Charts - Part 1 - Corrected and Updated 3/1/16
February 10, 2016 at 4:34:48 AM
 
Some of us knitters are finding beautiful knit patterns that only have charts, and no written directions. 

This little tutorial will use two very simple knit stitch patterns which you probably already know how to knit.  I chose these two stitch patterns to begin with because they are familiar to most knitters, and thought it would help when trying to decipher the knitting charts.

First, lets cover some basics about reading knitting charts.

FOR FLAT NEEDLE KNITTING

1.  Columns are numbered across the top and bottom.  The numbers will be in reverse order.

2.  Odd Rows are numbered on the right side - they are read from right to left.

3.  Even Rows are numbered on the left side - they are read from left to right.

4.  You start knitting from the bottom right hand corner - Row 1, Column 1.


For these tutorials, I am using the standard knitting symbols as set forth by the Craft Yarn Council.  You can find a list of these standard symbols at their website here.

Not all designers use these standard symbols, so it is very important that you read all of the pattern's written instructions and make sure you understand what the symbols in the chart mean before you start knitting

In these tutorials, I am including a legend of the symbols used for your convenience.

A blank space on the graph represents a knit stitch on the right side of the work, and a purl stitch on the wrong side of the work.

A black dot represents a purl stitch on the right side, and a knit stitch on the wrong side.

The V with an underscore beneath it is a little different than the symbol used by Craft Yarn Council.  Their symbol had the horizontal bar going through the 'V'.  I haven't figured out how to create that symbol, so I put the horizontal bar under the 'V'.    This symbol represents a Slip Stitch purl wise with yarn in front.




Notice the Columns are numbered 1 through 6 from right to left.  Row 1 is numbered on the right side and Row 2 is numbered on the left.

Remember, for flat knitting we start reading the chart from the bottom right hand corner, Row 1, Column 1.  Odd number rows are read from right to left [this is why they are numbered on the right side of chart], and even number rows are read from left to right. 

So starting with Row 1, Column 1, we see the V with the underscore.  Looking at our legend, we see this represents a slip stitch purl-wise, with yarn in front. 

We then move to Row 1, Column 2.  This block is blank and since it is a right side row, it represents a knit stitch.

Row 1, Column 3 - is a black dot, which is a purl stitch for a right side row.

Row 1, Column 4 is a knit stitch.

Row 1, Column 5 is a purl stitch.

Row 1, Column 6 is a knit stitch.

If we were to write out this stitch pattern in the traditional method it would look something like this:

Row 1:  Sl 1 purl-wise wyif, * K1, P1*, repeat from * to * to last stitch, K1.

Let's continue with Row 2 - reading from left to right this time.  Remember, this is a wrong side row

Row 2, Column 6 - is a slip stitch purl-wise wyif.

Row 2, Column 5 - is a purl stitch, because on wrong side rows, the blank box represents a purl stitch.

Row 2, Column 4 - a knit stitch, for the same reason.

Row 2, Column 3 - a purl stitch.

Row 2, Column 2 - a knit stitch.

Row 2, Column 1 - a knit stitch.

If we were to write this in a more traditional way it would read something like this:

Row 2:  Sl 1 purl-wise wyif, * P1, K1*, repeat from * to * to last stitch, K1

So the two row pattern could be written like so:

Row 1:  Sl 1 p-wise wyif, * K1, P1*, rep from * to * to last stitch, K1.
Row 2:  Sl 1 p-wise wyif, * P1, K1*, rep from * to * to last stitch, K1.

Notice how Rows 1 and 2 are now repeated 2 more times in the chart.

In the written directions you need to look for something like this ...

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 [x] number of times, or for [x] number of inches, or until you get to your desired length, etc. 

So the complete written instructions for this graph could read something like this ...

Row 1:  Sl 1 p-wise wyif, * K1, P1*, rep from * to * to last stitch, K1.
Row 2:  Sl 1 p-wise wyif, * P1, K1*, rep from * to * to last stitch, K1.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until you have knit to the desired length for your scarf [or whatever].

I'm sure most of you will now recognize this stitch pattern as the Seed Stitch.

In this simple stitch pattern, I used a slip stitch purl-wise wyif at the beginning of each row, and a knit stitch at the end of each row.  These are called "Edge Stitches".  Sometimes charts will use an "X" or some other symbol to indicate "Edge Stitches".  You'll have to read the legend for your pattern.

When a chart uses a generic symbol for the "Edge Stitches" this indicates that you, the knitter, can use whatever border pattern you wish, such as garter stitch, to begin and end the charted stitch pattern.  This is sometimes done to prevent the fabric from curling for stitches such as stockinette stitch, or to incorporate a decorative edging on the edges.

Most of the time, charts are reduced to a single repeat.  For example, the above chart for the Seed Stitch would have been reduced from 6 columns to 4 columns [i.e. the second repeat would have been removed]. 

It is very important to read your pattern carefully before you start knitting.  In this example, the written instructions indicate that columns 2 and 3 are the "pattern repeat".  In other words, you repeat this portion of the pattern for as many times indicated in the pattern's written instructions.  In this case up to the last stitch.

SEED STITCH IN THE ROUND
[ALSO FOR LOOM KNITTERS BOTH FLAT AND IN THE ROUND]

Now what if you want to knit the seed stitch in the round, or use it on a loom knit project? 

Reading charts for knitting in the round, or for loom knit patterns, is a little different because all of the rows are read from right to left because the work is never turned to the wrong side. 

Let's look at the following chart ...

 

Notice all the row numbers are on the right.  This tells you all rows are read from right to left.  Because this is for a pattern knit in the round, there are no edge stitches. 

However, if you wanted to knit this as a flat panel on a knitting loom, then you may decide to put in your own edge stitches.  The choice is entirely up to you, as the knitter.  In the case of seed stitch, edge stitches aren't really needed because it doesn't curl like stockinette.  Again, the choice is yours.

Also notice the Legend.  The reason the blank squares are always Knits and the black dots are always Purls, is because the work is never turned to the wrong side. 

Okay, lets step through the process of transcribing this chart one stitch at a time.

Starting at the bottom right hand corner ...

Row 1, Column 1 - the symbol is a blank square; according to our legend, all blank squares are Knit stitches, so this is a Knit.

Row 1, Column 2 - we have a black dot; looking at the legend, we see this is a Purl stitch.

Row 1, Column 3 - A knit stitch.

Row 1, Column 4 - A purl stitch.

Row 1, Column 5 - A knit stitch.

Row 1, Column 6 - A purl stitch.

The written instructions would be as follows ...

Row 1 - *K1, P1* rep from * to * across.

Now here is where reading knit charts for in the round, or for looms is different from flat needle knitting. 

Row 2 is now read from right to left also.  And since we are always on the right side of our work, we don't have to reverse the legend for wrong side rows.

So Row 2 would be as follows:

Row 2, Column 6 - This is a Purl Stitch
Row 2, Column 5 - Knit Stitch
Row 2, Column 4 - Purl Stitch
Row 2, Column 3 - Knit Stitch
Row 2, Column 2 - Purl Stitch
Row 2, Column 1 - Knit Stitch

So the written instructions would be ...

Row 2 - *P1, K1" across

Then we again have rows 1 and 2 repeated 2 more times, so the full pattern would read ...

Row 1 - *K1, P1* repeat across [or to the end of row].
Row 2 - *P1, K1* repeat across [or to the end of row].
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until you reach the desired length for your project.

That's really all there is to reading knitting charts.

For those of you who do better with visual aids, I have found the following youtube video by Knit Purl Hunter.  She does an excellent job of explaining the difference between reading a chart for flat knitting and for knitting in the round [or for loom knitting].  Here is a link to her video. 




Debbie
StitchMeKnot Creations - http://stitchmeknot.com


 
Member since:
Feb 3, 2016
Posts: 142
StitchMeKnot message #2
Reading Knitting Charts - Part 1 - Corrected and Updated 3/1/16
February 10, 2016 at 4:56:50 AM  (in response to StitchMeKnot message #1)
 
NOTE - This post was corrected and updated 3/2/2016 - Thanks!

To follow up with yesterday's tutorial on reading knit charts, I have prepared two more charts for another common knit stitch pattern called the Moss Stitch.

FLAT NEEDLE KNITTING



As we learned yesterday, for flat needle knitting we start reading these charts from the bottom right hand corner, Row 1, Column 1.

Odd rows are read right to left and even rows left to right.

Looking at the legend this chart is translated as follows ...

Reading row 1 from right to left since its a right side row ...

Row 1, Column 1 - Slip stitch p-wise with yarn in front
Row 1, Column 2 - Knit
Row 1, Column 3 - Purl
Row 1, Column 4 - Knit
Row 1, Column 5 - Purl
Row 1, Column 6 - Knit

The written instructions would read like this ...

Row 1 - Sl 1 p-wise wyif, *K1, P1* rep from * to * to last stitch, K1

Continuing on to row two - reading from left to right because it is a wrong side row ,,,

Row 2, Column 6 - Slip stitch p-wise wyif
Row 2, Column 5 - Knit
Row 2, Column 4 - Purl
Row 2, Column 3 - Knit
Row 2, Column 2 - Purl
Row 1, Column 1 - Knit

The written instructions would be ...

Sl 1 p-wise wfyif, *K1, P1* rep from * to * to last stitch, K1

Row 3, a right side row is read right to left ...

Row 3, Column 1 - Slip stitch p-wise with yarn in front
Row 3, Column 2 - Purl
Row 3, Column 3 - Knit
Row 3, Column 4 - Purl
Row 3, Column 5 - Knit
Row 3, Column 6 - Knit

The written instructions would be ...

Sl 1 p-wise wfyif, *P1, K1* rep from * to * to last stitch, K1

Row 4, a wrong side row is read left to right ...

Row 4, Column 6 - Slip stitch p-wise with yarn in front
Row 4, Column 5 - Purl
Row 4, Column 4 - Knit
Row 4, Column 3 - Purl
Row 4, Column 2 - Knit
Row 4, Column 1 - Knit

The written instructions would be ...

Sl 1 p-wise wfyif, *P1, K1* rep from * to * to last stitch, K1

Putting it all together the written instructions for this stitch pattern would look something like this ...

Rows 1 and 2 -

Sl 1 p-wise wfyif, *K1, P1* rep from * to * to last stitch, K1

Rows 3 and 4 -

Sl 1 p-wise wfyif, *P1, K1* rep from * to * to last stitch, K1

Repeat Rows 1 through 4 times until you reach your desired length.

KNITTING IN THE ROUND
[INCLUDING LOOM KNITTING FLAT AND IN THE ROUND]



Remember, the difference between knitting in the round or loom knitting from needle knitting flat is that all rows are read from right to left because the work is always worked from the front side.

Because we're working in the round, there are no edge stitches unless you want to add them to a loom knit flat panel.

Row 1, Column 1 - Knit
Row 1, Column 2 - Purl
Row 1, Column 3 - Knit
Row 1, Column 4 - Purl

Row 2, Column 1 - Knit
Row 2, Column 2 - Purl
Row 2, Column 3 - Knit
Row 2, Column 4 - Purl

Row 3, Column 1 - Purl
Row 3, Column 2 - Knit
Row 3, Column 3 - Purl
Row 3, Column 4 - Knit

Row 4, Column 1 - Purl
Row 4, Column 2 - Knit
Row 4, Column 3 - Purl
Row 4, Column 4 - Knit

Row 5, Column 1 - Knit
Row 5, Column 2 - Purl
Row 5, Column 3 - Knit
Row 5, Column 4 - Purl

Row 6, Column 1 - Knit
Row 6, Column 2 - Purl
Row 6, Column 3 - Knit
Row 6, Column 4 - Purl

And finally, the written pattern would be as follows ...

Rows 1 and 2 - *K1, P1* across
Rows 3 and 4 - *P1, K1* across
Repeat rows 1 - 4 until work is complete.

I hope that these two tutorials on how to read knitting graphs have been helpful to you. 

I still welcome submissions for additional simple knit stitch patterns to be charted and transcribed so we can practice together how to read knit charts. 

If you have a stitch pattern you would like to see charted and transcribed, please submit it below. 

Thanks!


Debbie
StitchMeKnot Creations - http://stitchmeknot.com


 
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Stitchboard Admin message #3
Re: Reading Knitting Charts - Part 1
February 11, 2016 at 2:37:51 AM  (in response to StitchMeKnot message #2)
 
Debbie,

These are really great instructions!  Kiss  Thanks for posting!

Okay, I'm going to say that looks like (always get two of these mixed up though) moss stitch.  I think seed stitch, with which I usually confuse this, would have you knitting the purl stitches and purling the knit stitches for every row.

LOL, and if I'm wrong, that's what we call "learning," which is always welcome.  Kiss


Melanie  (cat slave and Official Feline Can Opener) =^.^=
~~~~~
I'm a beading, knitting and crochet addict.  If that means I'm admitting I have a problem, then I admit to nothing. Please refrain from helping me.


 
Member since:
Feb 3, 2016
Posts: 142
StitchMeKnot message #4
Reading Knitting Charts - Part 1
February 11, 2016 at 6:34:33 AM  (in response to Stitchboard Admin message #3)
 
You got it right, Melanie ... the first chart was the seed stitch and the second one was the moss stitch.

I've been contemplating the following ideas for additional follow up tutorials ...

1.  Simple lace pattern because of additional stitch types; if someone
     has a free one they would like to see done, I'm open to that.
2.  Decoding a user suggested [free] chart where users can practice
     interpreting charts with help when they get stuck
3.  Finish up by showing how charts make it REALLY easy to modify a
     pattern to suit your own needs. 

I'm open to any / all of these options as well as any other suggestions, comments, ideas, etc.

Thanks!



Debbie
StitchMeKnot Creations - http://stitchmeknot.com


 
Look at that smile! (Photo guaranteed unretouched)
 
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Posts: 3915
Stitchboard Admin message #5
Re: Reading Knitting Charts - Part 1
February 12, 2016 at 3:54:26 AM  (in response to StitchMeKnot message #4)
 
Debbie,

Loving all of these ideas...brilliant!  Kiss

Thinking Garnstudio would have some interesting charts.  They're my favorite "go to" for free patterns...

Fo instance, this pattern has lace, and it does have charts:
http://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=7398&cid=17

I'd especially love to learn about using charts to modify patterns.  I'm almost always modifying patterns, because my vision is usually different than a particular pattern.  Smile

As for a chart to decode, that would be nice, too.  Smile  Perhaps a pattern that's a bit less complex than the lace pattern above?

How exciting...thank you for doing this!  Kiss



Melanie  (cat slave and Official Feline Can Opener) =^.^=
~~~~~
I'm a beading, knitting and crochet addict.  If that means I'm admitting I have a problem, then I admit to nothing. Please refrain from helping me.


 
Member since:
Feb 3, 2016
Posts: 142
StitchMeKnot message #6
Reading Knitting Charts - Part 1
February 12, 2016 at 4:31:52 AM  (in response to Stitchboard Admin message #5)
 
Melanie,

Yes, I was thinking of staying simple to begin with, building upon the skills already learned and work our way up to something like the garnstudio lace pattern. 

I'm all for doing multiple projects so that everyone has the opportunity to practice their chart reading abilities.  I'll keep this one on my list of charts to use as tutorial content. 

If anyone else has any ideas, or charts, favorite stitch patterns, or Huh that they'd like to work on or learn how to decode, please do join in.  We'll sort them out by complexity and tackle the easiest ones first, and work our way up to the more complicated pieces. 

We can also do this in reverse ... if you have a favorite stitch pattern you would like to see 'translated' into a chart, we could work on that, too. This exercise will not only give you a better understanding of how charts work, but it gives you, the stitcher, the ability to simplify overly complicated, or badly written, patterns. 

Keep in mind that these chart reading skills are not exclusive to knitting.  The basics also apply to crochet [especially filet crochet, or picture afghans], beading, plastic canvas and other grid based stitchery.  The symbols are different for different stitchery types, but the basic chart reading skills are still the same.

The ultimate goal is to not only give stitchers the ability to read charts, but to give them confidence in their chart reading abilities so that they may eventually start altering patterns they see to suit their own personal preferences.  Altering other people's patterns is a big first step in the journey of becoming a stitch designer.  In fact, when you alter someone else's pattern, you are designing.


Debbie
StitchMeKnot Creations - http://stitchmeknot.com


 
Look at that smile! (Photo guaranteed unretouched)
 
Member since:
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Posts: 3915
Stitchboard Admin message #7
Re: Reading Knitting Charts - Part 1
February 13, 2016 at 6:51:53 AM  (in response to StitchMeKnot message #6)
 
Debbie,

Now that you mention it, starting out simple is probably a better idea...I had forgotten that many of the Garnstudio patterns, while gorgeous, are also very complex.

I like the idea of multiple projects, as well as charting out favorite stitches.  Kiss

True...a huge step to designing is what people simply think of as changing things around to suit their own tastes, but that's also a step in the design process!  Smile


Melanie  (cat slave and Official Feline Can Opener) =^.^=
~~~~~
I'm a beading, knitting and crochet addict.  If that means I'm admitting I have a problem, then I admit to nothing. Please refrain from helping me.


 
Member since:
Feb 3, 2016
Posts: 142
StitchMeKnot message #8
Re: Reading Knitting Charts - Part 1
February 13, 2016 at 9:54:19 AM  (in response to StitchMeKnot message #1)
 
I am looking for input from Stitchboard members as to what types of stitch patterns they are interested in having charted.

I am also looking for charts which members would like to have decoded.

Please try to select charts which are free so that everyone can access them and participate.  Thank you!

I will sort through the requested materials by complexity, and then prepare additional tutorials from them.

Thanks!


Debbie
StitchMeKnot Creations - http://stitchmeknot.com


 
Member since:
Feb 3, 2016
Posts: 142
StitchMeKnot message #9
Reading Knitting Charts - Part 1 - Corrected and Updated 3/1/16
February 26, 2016 at 11:51:09 AM  (in response to StitchMeKnot message #8)
 
I have just discovered that I am mistaken in reading the WS rows on these charts. 

PLEASE DO NOT USE THESE CHARTS YET.  I am reworking them and will update the thread accordingly shortly.

I apologize for the inconvenience!  I'm still learning too.

UPDATE:  All charts posted in this thread are now accurate.  I have taken down the moss stitch tutorial until I am able to rewrite it. 

Thank you!

UPDATE 2:  I'm also getting caught in the upgrade for some reason.  A post I just made didn't come through at all; there is no red banner at the moment.  I will be waiting to make any more updates until I know the coast is clear!!!  LOL ...

THANKFULLY, this did not happen while I spent several hours updating the 1st post! 

WOAH ... I can edit ... but I can create new posts ... interesting ...




Debbie
StitchMeKnot Creations - http://stitchmeknot.com


 
Look at that smile! (Photo guaranteed unretouched)
 
Member since:
Jul 1, 2009
Posts: 3915
Stitchboard Admin message #10
Re: Reading Knitting Charts - Part 1
February 27, 2016 at 2:34:38 AM  (in response to StitchMeKnot message #9)
 
Debbie,

No worries, just change the charts when you get to them...they actually look fine to me, which shows you how green I am at reading charts like this!  Embarassed


Melanie  (cat slave and Official Feline Can Opener) =^.^=
~~~~~
I'm a beading, knitting and crochet addict.  If that means I'm admitting I have a problem, then I admit to nothing. Please refrain from helping me.


 
Member since:
Feb 3, 2016
Posts: 142
StitchMeKnot message #11
Re: Reading Knitting Charts - Part 1
February 27, 2016 at 12:10:45 PM  (in response to Stitchboard Admin message #10)
 
Thanks, Melanie!

I'm hoping to get to these soon!  I *hate* not having accurate information out there!!! Sad


Debbie
StitchMeKnot Creations - http://stitchmeknot.com


 
Look at that smile! (Photo guaranteed unretouched)
 
Member since:
Jul 1, 2009
Posts: 3915
Stitchboard Admin message #12
Re: Reading Knitting Charts - Part 1
February 28, 2016 at 2:15:49 AM  (in response to StitchMeKnot message #11)
 
Debbie,

No worries, a few days won't hurt anyone, so relax!


Melanie  (cat slave and Official Feline Can Opener) =^.^=
~~~~~
I'm a beading, knitting and crochet addict.  If that means I'm admitting I have a problem, then I admit to nothing. Please refrain from helping me.


 
Member since:
Feb 3, 2016
Posts: 142
StitchMeKnot message #13
Re: Reading Knitting Charts - Part 1
February 28, 2016 at 2:18:11 AM  (in response to Stitchboard Admin message #12)
 
Thanks, Melanie.

After reading Terry's last message regarding the upgrade, I think I'll wait until it has been completed. 


Debbie
StitchMeKnot Creations - http://stitchmeknot.com


 
Look at that smile! (Photo guaranteed unretouched)
 
Member since:
Jul 1, 2009
Posts: 3915
Stitchboard Admin message #14
Re: Reading Knitting Charts - Part 1
February 29, 2016 at 1:41:15 AM  (in response to StitchMeKnot message #13)
 
Debbie,

Sure, whatever works best for you!  Smile


Melanie  (cat slave and Official Feline Can Opener) =^.^=
~~~~~
I'm a beading, knitting and crochet addict.  If that means I'm admitting I have a problem, then I admit to nothing. Please refrain from helping me.


 
Member since:
Feb 3, 2016
Posts: 142
StitchMeKnot message #15
Reading Knitting Charts - Part 1 - Corrected and Updated 3/1/16
March 2, 2016 at 9:57:27 AM  (in response to StitchMeKnot message #1)
 
The tutorials have now been corrected and updated.  I am still looking for simple stitch patterns Stitchboard members would like to see charted and then transcribed.  This is so that we can all practice reading knit charts and become more comfortable with doing so. 

I must say, I have learned a *lot* by creating these tutorials, and thank you for the opportunity of sharing what I have learned. 

Thanks!


Debbie
StitchMeKnot Creations - http://stitchmeknot.com

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