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How to Read Knitting Charts – Part 2

To follow up on part 1 of this tutorial on How to Read Knitting Charts, I have prepared two more charts for another common knit stitch pattern called the Moss Stitch.

FLAT NEEDLE KNITTING

SMK - Moss Stitch - Chart Reading Tutorial

As we learned in part 1, for flat needle knitting we start reading these charts from the bottom right hand corner, Row 1, Column 1.

Odd rows are read right to left and even rows left to right.

Looking at the legend this chart is translated as follows …

Reading row 1 from right to left since its a right side row …

Row 1, Column 1 – Slip stitch p-wise with yarn in front
Row 1, Column 2 – Knit
Row 1, Column 3 – Purl
Row 1, Column 4 – Knit
Row 1, Column 5 – Purl
Row 1, Column 6 – Knit

The written instructions would read like this …

Row 1 – Sl 1 p-wise wyif, *K1, P1* rep from * to * to last stitch, K1

Continuing on to row two – reading from left to right because it is a wrong side row ,,,

Row 2, Column 6 – Slip stitch p-wise wyif
Row 2, Column 5 – Knit
Row 2, Column 4 – Purl
Row 2, Column 3 – Knit
Row 2, Column 2 – Purl
Row 1, Column 1 – Knit

The written instructions would be …

Sl 1 p-wise wfyif, *K1, P1* rep from * to * to last stitch, K1

Row 3, a right side row is read right to left …

Row 3, Column 1 – Slip stitch p-wise with yarn in front
Row 3, Column 2 – Purl
Row 3, Column 3 – Knit
Row 3, Column 4 – Purl
Row 3, Column 5 – Knit
Row 3, Column 6 – Knit

The written instructions would be …

Sl 1 p-wise wfyif, *P1, K1* rep from * to * to last stitch, K1

Row 4, a wrong side row is read left to right …

Row 4, Column 6 – Slip stitch p-wise with yarn in front
Row 4, Column 5 – Purl
Row 4, Column 4 – Knit
Row 4, Column 3 – Purl
Row 4, Column 2 – Knit
Row 4, Column 1 – Knit

The written instructions would be …

Sl 1 p-wise wfyif, *P1, K1* rep from * to * to last stitch, K1

Putting it all together the written instructions for this stitch pattern would look something like this …

Rows 1 and 2 –

Sl 1 p-wise wfyif, *K1, P1* rep from * to * to last stitch, K1

Rows 3 and 4 –

Sl 1 p-wise wfyif, *P1, K1* rep from * to * to last stitch, K1

Repeat Rows 1 through 4 times until you reach your desired length.

KNITTING IN THE ROUND
[INCLUDING LOOM KNITTING FLAT AND IN THE ROUND]

SMK - Moss Stitch In the Round - Chart Reading Tutorial

Remember, the difference between knitting in the round or loom knitting from needle knitting flat is that all rows are read from right to left because the work is always worked from the front side.

Because we’re working in the round, there are no edge stitches unless you want to add them to a loom knit flat panel.

Row 1, Column 1 – Knit
Row 1, Column 2 – Purl
Row 1, Column 3 – Knit
Row 1, Column 4 – Purl

Row 2, Column 1 – Knit
Row 2, Column 2 – Purl
Row 2, Column 3 – Knit
Row 2, Column 4 – Purl

Row 3, Column 1 – Purl
Row 3, Column 2 – Knit
Row 3, Column 3 – Purl
Row 3, Column 4 – Knit

Row 4, Column 1 – Purl
Row 4, Column 2 – Knit
Row 4, Column 3 – Purl
Row 4, Column 4 – Knit

Row 5, Column 1 – Knit
Row 5, Column 2 – Purl
Row 5, Column 3 – Knit
Row 5, Column 4 – Purl

Row 6, Column 1 – Knit
Row 6, Column 2 – Purl
Row 6, Column 3 – Knit
Row 6, Column 4 – Purl

And finally, the written pattern would be as follows …

Rows 1 and 2 – *K1, P1* across
Rows 3 and 4 – *P1, K1* across
Repeat rows 1 – 4 until work is complete.

I hope that these two tutorials on how to read knitting charts has been helpful to you.

I still welcome submissions for additional simple knit stitch patterns to be charted and transcribed so we can practice together how to read knit charts.

If you have a stitch pattern you would like to see charted and transcribed, please submit it below in the comments.

Thanks!

Design Your Own Knit Cowl

Knit Cowl w Seed Stitch Edge

Design Your Own Knit Cowl

I spent many hours scouring Ravelry and other pattern libraries for cowl patterns.  I wanted a pattern that was going to be fast and easy to knit and that also would be long enough to pull up over my head like a hood.  I just didn’t see one that I really liked so I decided to design my own.

Swatch

The first thing I did was to knit a large 5″ x 5″ swatch on circular needles in knit stitch in order to get an accurate gauge.  I swatched in knit stitch on circular needles because I didn’t want to seam two pieces together, and I was planning to knit my cowl in knit stitch.  I wanted a stitch pattern that would be easy and fast to work up.  It just doesn’t get any easier and faster than knit stitch in the round.

My gauge came out to 3.5 stitches per inch and 5 rows per inch.

If you are going to use a stitch pattern on the edges to prevent the fabric from rolling, you should knit the exact same edge stitch pattern on your swatch so you can calculate its gauge as well.  This will also keep you from making the same mistake I did by ensuring that the number of rows of border stitching will be adequate to keep your fabric from rolling.

Calculating Finished Size

I didn’t want the cowl to be too snug around my neck because I also wanted to be able to pull it up unto my head, so I decided to make it 17.5″ wide.  Since I was working in the round, I doubled this to 35″ for front and back.

Since I wanted the cowl to be long enough to pull up on my head in bad weather, I decided to make it 17″ long, including the border rows.

Border or No Border

I originally did not want my cowl edges to roll, but I really don’t like the look of garter stitch, so I decided on making a few seed stitch border rows on each end.

However, I didn’t knit enough seed stitch rows and the cowl ends roll anyway.  As it turns out, I’m not unhappy about the roll.  I especially like the way it rolls around my face when I have it up on my head, so all is good!

My recommendation is if you do not want your edges to roll, that you should knit at least 5 or 6 rows in whatever stitch pattern you are planning on using.  This is another instance where test swatches really help.

Calculating Stitches and Rows

Since I planned on only knitting 2 or 3 rows of seed stitch I just used the gauge from my test swatch to calculate total number of stitches and rows I needed in order to reach my goal of a cowl that was approximately 35″ around [17.5″ x 2 for front and back], and 17″ long.

If you are going to use an edge or border stitch pattern to prevent your edges from rolling, then you would need to deduct the edge or border row gauge from your total number of rows.

Taking my gauge of 3.5 stitches per inch, I multiplied 3.5 by the total number of inches wide I wanted my cowl to be; in this case 35″ around.

     3.5 x 35 = 122.5 stitches

Since I was doing seed stitch edges, I needed to have an even number of stitches, so I rounded down to 122 stitches.

Then I took my row gauge of 5 rows per inch and multiplied it by the height I wanted my cowl to be; in this case 17″ long.

     5 x 17 = 85 total rows

Since I was planning on doing 3 rows of seed stitch on each end, I deducted 6 rows [3 for top edge and 3 for bottom edge] from 85 for a total of 79 rows of knit stitch.

Start Knitting!

I cast on a total of 122 stitches on the same pair of circular needles I used to make my test swatch.

I then knit 3 rows of seed stitch.

Then I knit 79 rows in knit stitch.

Then finished up with 3 rows of seed stitch.

Conclusions

Everything turned out exactly the way I had originally planned it except for the edges rolling because I didn’t knit enough seed stitch rows to prevent the fabric from rolling.

If I had made the seed stitch border around my test swatch, I would have discovered this before I even began knitting my cowl.

As it turns out, I’m not unhappy with the rolled edges, especially when I have the cowl up on my head.

Variations for Future Patterns

This Design Your Own Knit Cowl pattern recipe lends itself particularly  well to mosaic, fair isle or entrelac type knitting.

It is also easily adaptable for those who would rather crochet their cowl instead of knit.

NOTE – If you would like to be a pattern tester for this or other StitchMeKnot patterns, please see complete details here

1898 Seamen’s Hat Headband

1898 Seamen's Hat Headbank - 4

1898 Seamen’s Hat Headband

Recently completed this 1898 Seamen’s Hat headband for a friend.  It comes from the 1898 Seamen’s Hat pattern.  This pattern is one of several created for the “Christmas at Sea” website by the Seamen’s Church Institute.  They also have a youtube video tutorial.

The 1898 Seamen’s hat headband is knit from side to side, creating a double layer fabric of garter stitch.  This keeps the ears warm, and makes the shaping of the ear flaps easier to construct.

The edges of the headband are folded together along a slipped stitch seam which looks much like an i-cord along the bottom edge leaving only one edge to seam and/or pick up stitches for the hat’s crown.

MarilynKnits over at the KnittersParadise forum has created a great spreadsheet in various formats for easy tracking of your progress as you knit this awesome hat.  She has very generously made that spreadsheet available to other knitters.  You can find the various formats of this spreadsheet in this thread.

In addition, Flybreit, also from KnittersParadise, shared this knitfreedom.com video of the Russian Join which she used to seam the edges.

Finally, CKnits of KnittersParadise compiled a summary of notes made by other KP’ers concerning the 1898 Seamen’s Hat which you can download here.

The person who I knitted this headband for said it was the best headband I had knit for him so far, and that it kept his ears warm, especially when he was shoveling snow.

The very first day he wore it, a woman asked him if someone had knit it for him because she really like it.  I told her to google the 1898 Seamen’s Hat so she could download the pattern for herself.

1898 Seamen's Hat Headband -1

How to Read Knitting Charts – Part 1

This is part 1 of a How to Read Knitting Charts tutorial which I did for the Stitchboard Community.  This lesson uses the familiar stitch pattern called Seed Stitch.

First, lets cover some basics about reading knitting charts.

FOR FLAT NEEDLE KNITTING

1.  Columns are numbered across the top and bottom.  The numbers will be in reverse order.

2.  Odd Rows are numbered on the right side – they are read from right to left.

3.  Even Rows are numbered on the left side – they are read from left to right.

4.  You start knitting from the bottom right hand corner – Row 1, Column 1.

For these tutorials, I am using the standard knitting symbols as set forth by the Craft Yarn Council.  You can find a list of these standard symbols at their website here.

Not all designers use these standard symbols, so it is very important that you read all of the pattern’s written instructions and make sure you understand what the symbols in the chart mean before you start knitting

In these tutorials, I am including a legend of the symbols used for your convenience.

A blank space on the graph represents a knit stitch on the right side of the work, and a purl stitch on the wrong side of the work.

A black dot represents a purl stitch on the right side, and a knit stitch on the wrong side.

The V with an underscore beneath it is a little different than the symbol used by Craft Yarn Council.  Their symbol had the horizontal bar going through the ‘V’.  I haven’t figured out how to create that symbol, so I put the horizontal bar under the ‘V’.    This symbol represents a Slip Stitch purl wise with yarn in front.

Seed Stitch - Chart Reading Tutorial

Notice the Columns are numbered 1 through 6 from right to left.  Row 1 is numbered on the right side and Row 2 is numbered on the left.

Remember, for flat knitting we start reading the chart from the bottom right hand corner, Row 1, Column 1.  Odd number rows are read from right to left [this is why they are numbered on the right side of chart], and even number rows are read from left to right.

So starting with Row 1, Column 1, we see the V with the underscore.  Looking at our legend, we see this represents a slip stitch purl-wise, with yarn in front.

We then move to Row 1, Column 2.  This block is blank and since it is a right side row, it represents a knit stitch.

Row 1, Column 3 – is a black dot, which is a purl stitch for a right side row.

Row 1, Column 4 is a knit stitch.

Row 1, Column 5 is a purl stitch.

Row 1, Column 6 is a knit stitch.

If we were to write out this stitch pattern in the traditional method it would look something like this:

Row 1:  Sl 1 purl-wise wyif, * K1, P1*, repeat from * to * to last stitch, K1.

Let’s continue with Row 2 – reading from left to right this time.  Remember, this is a wrong side row.

Row 2, Column 6 – is a slip stitch purl-wise wyif.

Row 2, Column 5 – is a purl stitch, because on wrong side rows, the blank box represents a purl stitch.

Row 2, Column 4 – a knit stitch, for the same reason.

Row 2, Column 3 – a purl stitch.

Row 2, Column 2 – a knit stitch.

Row 2, Column 1 – a knit stitch.

If we were to write this in a more traditional way it would read something like this:

Row 2:  Sl 1 purl-wise wyif, * P1, K1*, repeat from * to * to last stitch, K1

So the two row pattern could be written like so:

Row 1:  Sl 1 p-wise wyif, * K1, P1*, rep from * to * to last stitch, K1.
Row 2:  Sl 1 p-wise wyif, * P1, K1*, rep from * to * to last stitch, K1.

Notice how Rows 1 and 2 are now repeated 2 more times in the chart.

In the written directions you need to look for something like this …

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 [x] number of times, or for [x] number of inches, or until you get to your desired length, etc.

So the complete written instructions for this graph could read something like this …

Row 1:  Sl 1 p-wise wyif, * K1, P1*, rep from * to * to last stitch, K1.
Row 2:  Sl 1 p-wise wyif, * P1, K1*, rep from * to * to last stitch, K1.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until you have knit to the desired length for your scarf [or whatever].

I’m sure most of you will now recognize this stitch pattern as the Seed Stitch.

In this simple stitch pattern, I used a slip stitch purl-wise wyif at the beginning of each row, and a knit stitch at the end of each row.  These are called “Edge Stitches”.  Sometimes charts will use an “X” or some other symbol to indicate “Edge Stitches”.  You’ll have to read the legend for your pattern.

When a chart uses a generic symbol for the “Edge Stitches” this indicates that you, the knitter, can use whatever border pattern you wish, such as garter stitch, to begin and end the charted stitch pattern.  This is sometimes done to prevent the fabric from curling for stitches such as stockinette stitch, or to incorporate a decorative edging on the edges.

Most of the time, charts are reduced to a single repeat.  For example, the above chart for the Seed Stitch would have been reduced from 6 columns to 4 columns [i.e. the second repeat would have been removed].

It is very important to read your pattern carefully before you start knitting.  In this example, the written instructions indicate that columns 2 and 3 are the “pattern repeat”.  In other words, you repeat this portion of the pattern for as many times indicated in the pattern’s written instructions.  In this case up to the last stitch.

SEED STITCH IN THE ROUND
[ALSO FOR LOOM KNITTERS BOTH FLAT AND IN THE ROUND]

Now what if you want to knit the seed stitch in the round, or use it on a loom knit project?

Reading charts for knitting in the round, or for loom knit patterns, is a little different because all of the rows are read from right to left because the work is never turned to the wrong side.

Let’s look at the following chart …

Seed Stitch in the Round - Chart Reading Tutorial

Notice all the row numbers are on the right.  This tells you all rows are read from right to left.  Because this is for a pattern knit in the round, there are no edge stitches.

However, if you wanted to knit this as a flat panel on a knitting loom, then you may decide to put in your own edge stitches.  The choice is entirely up to you, as the knitter.  In the case of seed stitch, edge stitches aren’t really needed because it doesn’t curl like stockinette.  Again, the choice is yours.

Also notice the Legend.  The reason the blank squares are always Knits and the black dots are always Purls, is because the work is never turned to the wrong side.

Okay, lets step through the process of transcribing this chart one stitch at a time.

Starting at the bottom right hand corner …

Row 1, Column 1 – the symbol is a blank square; according to our legend, all blank squares are Knit stitches, so this is a Knit.

Row 1, Column 2 – we have a black dot; looking at the legend, we see this is a Purl stitch.

Row 1, Column 3 – A knit stitch.

Row 1, Column 4 – A purl stitch.

Row 1, Column 5 – A knit stitch.

Row 1, Column 6 – A purl stitch.

The written instructions would be as follows …

Row 1 – *K1, P1* rep from * to * across.

Now here is where reading knit charts for in the round, or for looms is different from flat needle knitting.

Row 2 is now read from right to left also.  And since we are always on the right side of our work, we don’t have to reverse the legend for wrong side rows.

So Row 2 would be as follows:

Row 2, Column 6 – This is a Purl Stitch
Row 2, Column 5 – Knit Stitch
Row 2, Column 4 – Purl Stitch
Row 2, Column 3 – Knit Stitch
Row 2, Column 2 – Purl Stitch
Row 2, Column 1 – Knit Stitch

So the written instructions would be …

Row 2 – *P1, K1″ across

Then we again have rows 1 and 2 repeated 2 more times, so the full pattern would read …

Row 1 – *K1, P1* repeat across [or to the end of row].
Row 2 – *P1, K1* repeat across [or to the end of row].
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until you reach the desired length for your project.

That’s really all there is to reading knitting charts.

For those of you who do better with visual aids, I have found the following youtube video by Knit Purl Hunter.  She does an excellent job of explaining the difference between reading a chart for flat knitting and for knitting in the round [or for loom knitting].  Here is a link to her video.