How to Read Knitting Stitch Charts
Knit charts are useful tools for visually keeping track of stitches, especially in patterns which use cables, fair isle, and lace. With few exceptions, our knit patterns which include charts will also include the text instructions, this way whether you prefer to work with one or the other you will always have both to refer to.
Reading Knit Charts
Below we’ve outlined the basics for reading knit charts and provided some tips for specific situations.
Charts are a grid of squares. Each square represents one stitch.
Charts are read from the bottom to the top.
Charts represent the stitches as viewed from the right side of your work.
When reading a chart for a pattern worked back and forth in rows, you must remember that all right side rows are read from right to left and wrong side rows from left to right.
When working in the round, each row of a chart is read from right to left since you are only ever working on the right side.
With all charts there will also be a key. This key will let you know what each symbol represents so you know what stitch you’re supposed to knit.
A knit chart will include a chart key which will show you each of the symbols used in the chart and the corresponding abbreviation for the symbol. You should refer to the abbreviations list in your pattern to make sure that you are properly following the intended instruction for each symbol on the chart.
Below we’ve broken down a list of the most common knitting symbols you will find in our free knit patterns.
Many of our free knit patterns which include charts are for patterns with the following design considerations: color work, cabling, or lace knitting. Below you’ll find an example of a knit chart used for the Caron x Pantone Knit Fair Isle Hat pattern. In this chart you will notice the color work repeats. Each square in a color work chart represents one stitch in the indicated color. You can also watch our pattern tutorial on this pattern to learn how to successfully navigate a color work chart.
The Cable Knit Scarf is a great example of an easy cable knit pattern to practice working through a chart with cabling instructions.
The Knit Zig-Zag Blanket is a great example of a simple lace motif repeated throughout the pattern and represented with a chart.