How to Read Knitting Patterns and Charts

how to read knitting patterns

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For a beginning knitter, patterns and charts can be confusing. There are abbreviations and symbols to decipher, and misinterpreting these can doom your project before you’ve even begun. Learning how to read knitting patterns can save you a lot of time unraveling your knitting and get your project finished much faster.

What is a Gauge in Knitting

Before you begin reading your pattern or chart, the first thing that you’ll need to determine is the gauge of your project.

The gauge is the number of stitches and rows that cover a four-inch square of knitted fabric.

Everything from the needle size that you choose to the weight of the yarn helps to determine the gauge of your finished work. The pattern will recommend a specific size of the needle as well as a particular yarn weight to use.

To test your gauge, you first knit a gauge swatch with the needles you plan to use and the yarn recommended. Once you have a four-inch square, measure your swatch without stretching or pulling it. Then, count the numbers of stitches and rows, comparing this amount to the pattern.

How To Read Knitting Patterns

Now that you know that your gauge is correct, it’s time to read your written pattern. This type of knitting pattern is a paragraph or a list. Sometimes the words are written out, such as “knit 5, purl 5,” but often this is not the case. Using common knitting abbreviations saves space and can be faster for a knitter to understand. Commas separate each step, so that punctuation is your cue that you have moved on to another step in the pattern. A star or asterisk indicates that you are to repeat specific instructions, and usually a specific amount of times to repeat those instructions is indicated.

How to Read Knitting Charts

Charts, on the other hand, are a rudimentary picture of your finished knitted fabric. The fabric is shown on a grid, and each square represents a full stitch. There are no universally accepted symbols to indicate stitch types, so each chart must have a key to let you know what the symbols mean.

Something that is important to remember about knitting charts is that they show the knitted piece from the right side only. This means that any wrong side rows would be stitched with the opposite stitch from what is indicated on the chart. While this can be confusing for brand new knitters, it becomes easier and faster with experience. Tutorials for basic knitting stitches you find here: Basic Knitting Instructions


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Find more video tutorials for beginners here:

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