News 4 advanced chart tips - LoveKnitting blog

Published on November 18th, 2014 | by Elizabeth Bagwell


4 advanced charting tips

Now that you’ve tackled a simple chart, in our Christmas Knit Along, Elizabeth Bagwell gives you some tips for handling a more complex one.

So many lovely patterns are only available with a chart. While the hierogylphs representing complex stitches can look indecipherable, they’re often the simplest way to clearly explain how to knit a piece. Here are a few things to look out for.

1. Bobbles, cables and textured stitches
Like lace, bobbles are made of matched sets of increases and decreases. Charts will typically show a single symbol for a bobble or other complex stitch, and expect you to refer to the key for full details.

4 advanced chart tips - LoveKnitting blog

2. How charts repeat
Where a stitch pattern repeats across a piece of knitting, the chart will often have lines to indicate the repeated section. Alternatively, the edging stitches may be a light grey, pink or other colour.

This can look particularly confusing if there are markings for different sizes as well. It’s also worth noting that a pattern may have more than one chart, and the repeats maybe different widths. As a simple example, you could start with a 5-stitch wide pattern, go through a transition section, and segue into a 15-stitch wide pattern. This might be written as 1 chart or as 3. You can see sizing on our Knit Along chart here.

3. Where is the shaping happening?
Adding extra stitches is easy in knitting but hard for a chart. As a general rule, charts simply add extra stitches at the edge, even if the knitter adds them in the middle of the row.

4 advanced chart tips - LoveKnitting blog

4. Beware the black boxes
Occasionally, if a stitch is decreased away mid-row, a chart will show a black square, meaning no stitch. A common example would be knitting a hat pattern. As you start the crown shaping, the pattern continues but the total number of stitches diminishes. It’s principle as in the chart above.

About the Author

Elizabeth is a keen knitter, occasional designer, enthusiastic traveler and a professional freelance writer. She spent three years working for British knitting magazine, Simply Knitting, and has also written for The Knitter and other craft titles. She blogs at:

Last updated: November 17th, 2014.

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