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How to Read a Knitting Chart

Knit by Numbers

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A knitting chart

A simple knitting chart for knitted wristwarmers.

Sarah White

Knitting charts are very useful for showing knitters what to do without explaining every single instruction in words. They are a necessity for multi-colored knitting and are often used for knitting with cables or for lace patterns.

Chart knitting can be a little intimidating because it's not intuitive how to read a knitting chart. But once you understand it, it's really easy.

Knitting charts begin at the lower right-hand corner. The bottom row indicates the first row of knitting, and as your work your way up, each row of the chart illustrates the next row of knitting.

Instead of working each row as you see it from right to left, though, you start the second row with the first stitch on the far left side and work from left to right.

Continue working from right to left, left to right, right to left from the bottom to the top of the chart. When you reach the top and knit the last row, you're done.

Some patterns are simple like the color pattern for the Valentine's Wristwarmers, while others are more complicated, requiring keys to different stitches to help you decipher them. Some knitting charts show the full width of the pattern, while others indicate where a pattern repeats over the course of a knitted blanket or shawl, for example.

Color knitting charts indicate where the colors change in a pattern, while pattern charts show which stitches are made at which point in the project.

If you're having trouble making sense of a knitting chart or keeping track of where you should be, it might help to write out the instructions in words. Some people are more visual and take to knitting from a chart very easily, while for others it is more difficult and takes some practice, but everyone can learn to knit from a chart. Just be patient, knit slowly and with time it will become easier.

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