6 things to check before using a knitting chart
Even very experienced knitters make mistakes when charts are involved. Elizabeth Bagwell lists 6 questions to ask before you start a chart to make sure it goes smoothly.
Festive knits often feature seasonal motifs, so it’s a great time to try using a chart. Whether you’re making a snowflake jumper with the LoveKnitting Knit-A-Long or trying to create your own chart for a reindeer, there are a few things to check before you cast on.
1. Does the chart show all rows, or only alternate rows?
In many stitch patterns, every other row is plain, and therefore not marked on the chart. But not always.
2. Does the chart start at the first row after cast on?
How does the chart fit with the cast on? Should you knit a row (or two, or 12) before you start the chart? Is there ribbing?
3. Does the chart start with the first stitch on a row?
If not, what happens to the initial stitches?
3. What happens in the middle?
This is particularly important for patterns like triangular shawls that are supposed to be symmetrical. Often, you’ll repeat a simple pattern (e.g. yo, K1, yo) to increase at the spine, but it may be more complex.
4. Is there any shaping?
And if so, are you expected to integrate it with the chart yourself (common for colourwork) or is it clearly explained?
5. Do the words ‘At the same time’ appear anywhere in the pattern?
They get me every time. I wish publishers would print that phrase in neon, with flashing warning lights!
6. How will you mark your place?
There are lots of good ways – put a piece of paper over the chart, tick off or highlight each row as you knit it, use a post-it to mark your place, use a row counter – just make sure you have at least one method to hand!
Do you have any handy tips for reading charts? We’d love to hear them! Please tell us in the comments box below!
Last updated: November 11th, 2014.