Learn how to read a knitting chart with our easy-to-follow guide.

With limited space allocated for our knitting patterns, charts are often the best solution. The most common use of knitting charts is for colour patterns like Fair Isle but there is a demand to represent other patterns in that way like cables, textured stitches or even lace. The use of knitting charts allows patterns to be of more intricate designs in wide range of sizes as well as minimising repetitiveness and reducing room for errors. It’s a visual representation of pattern and it makes working the increase stitches into pattern easier.

Sometimes all the pieces of a garment would be shown on a chart like on picture sweaters, other times it could be just a motif or pattern repeat. Often the chart will be marked showing parts of the garment, edge stitches for each size and the pattern repeat. All charts will have a key to symbols used, explaining their meanings.

Reading a chart is not as hard as you may think. Instructions will specify how you should read it. If the pattern or motif is symmetrical, then it does not matter how you work from it as long as you follow the correct row order.

It is usual to work from right to left on right side rows and from left to right on wrong side rows. If the pattern needs to be reversed, then working from a chart will be done in reverse order.

When working from a chart, follow appropriate markings for the piece you are making and the size. On the first row you will work from right to left, begin with edge stitches at right of pattern repeat, then work the pattern repeat number of times stated in the instructions or until you cannot work the whole repeat, then work edge stitches on left of the repeat. On the following row, you will work from left to right so that the edge stitches on the left will be worked first, then the pattern repeat and finally the edge stitches on the right.

To facilitate chart reading, place ruler under the row you are about to knit and move it up after completion of row. There are special rulers on the market with magnified section that makes reading the chart even better.

Example: this knitting chart wis a guide for knitting a toddler’s pair of leggings, pictured below.

Knitting chart


Knitting chart