Knitting from a Chart

I have what I'm sure will be an overly simple question for you all. I'm knitting my first project from a chart. I've avoided it because I'd rather have the pattern written out, but I like this pattern.

The pattern says to do seed stitch for 5 stitches then begin the chart reading right to left. Ok done. Next row shouldn't I do the seed stitches and read the chart from left to right? Or do I read every row right to left? Are the numbers on the rows on opposite sides to remind me to read the opposite way?

Once I figure that out I may just write it out long hand. My eyes get lost too easily in the chart.


vsidart's picture

Here's my grandmother's method... It's always worked for me....
do the seed, then work the row (R to L).
Next row (read CAREFULLY!) make sure the seed stitch isn't already worked into the pattern... Work L to R. When you done, take a highlighter, and mark the row from far left to 2/3 of the way to the right end. That way you know which side the row ended on.
Do the next row, R to L, and mark it just the opposite.
So you have a visual image of what you're doing in yarn.
I'm not sure if I'm describing this right, but It's always worked for me, and I'm a pattern moron.

teejtc's picture

I agree with this method! It's kind of what I came to the first (and only time, so far) that I used a chart.

Let me emphasize that charts start in the lower RIGHT-HAND corner, not the left-hand. That biffed me up, and I never thought to consider that you wouldn't read it that way (my whole pattern was backwards) :-(

Grace and Peace,

RareSteek's picture

Personally, I find it much easier to read a chart than written out instructions. It is much easier for me to visualise what is going on. If you find that your eyes skip rows there are all sort of things people do, like magnetized stips laid aboove the row to block the next one from sight etc. However, a big post-it note does as well. Cover the chart above the row you are working. And yes, you do read the chart from left to right on a 'wrong' side row. So be careful to remember that often the symbols change their meaning -- what means knit on a right side row and is purl on a wrong side row etc. It may seem confusing at first but once you get used to it after a short while I am sure you will get along famously.


scenter's picture

The comments below are great for keeping your place in your work, I use the post it one myself, as I don't like highlighting in case I want to use the pattern again in the future. Here's a little bit about the charts themselves:

As teejtc pointed out they usually start at the bottom right corner, and you read them to right to left for the first row. After that you have to look at your chart and project for clues.

In flat (back and forth) knitting you normally read the even rows from left to right, and odd rows right to left. Some charts only have either even or odd, and the written instructions will tell you what to do on the non-charted rows.

If your project is circular, the charts are usually always read on every row from right to left. Again - notice if some rows are not present in the chart.

The chart mimics what your finished knitting will look like. Imagine a test swatch hanging from a needle along the top of the chart, with the right side facing you. The first stitches you knit are in the bottom right corner, the rows went back and forth, and the most recent row is just under the needle.

Tallguy's picture

Just this week I wanted to try a nice lace pattern for a shawl I have to knit. But there were only written instructions! Who writes patterns like that --- and in lace?? I was horrified!

But I sat down, and worked my way through it because I've done this many, many times before, without problems. Well, problems I had! I keep losing count with the stitches... and the pattern is off, of course, after that. There was no visual cues to tell you if you were on track or not. It was complete foolishness to have a lace pattern without a chart!

So I had to sit down, spend valuable time at work, to draw out the chart. What lunacy! Next time, I'll check to see if there is a chart, before I even start knitting anything. I haven't time to waste like this!

MMario's picture

well - I write patterns that way; I only chart them afterwards - and frequently will write out the lines from a chart when the pattern doesn't include them; because in many cases a chart is far harder to cope with for me then the written lines.

MMario - ambiguity is cultivated, it doesn't happen in a vacuum!

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation