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The Problem With Charts

Liat Gat - Founder

August 26, 2021

Fair Isle Intarsia and Duplicate Stitch Knit-and-Purl Swan Lace Knit and Purl

As we talked about on our post about taking a bike tour through France, knitting patterns can be written in two ways. One is “longhand,” in which the instructions are written as a “sentence” of abbreviations such as, “K4, p2, k8,” etc.

Knitting Pattern: Longhand
Knitting Pattern: Longhand

As you can see, the eye tends to “swim” when confronted with a sea of abbreviations. It’s hard to visualize what the final project will look like and, if you get lost, it’s very tedious to scan the lines trying to find what you missed.

That’s why patterns are also written in chart form – a visual representation of the stitches.

Knitting Pattern: Chart
Knitting Pattern: Chart

In a chart, you can tell at a glance what stitches are involved, how they are put together, and what the overall design will look like.

Because charts are a concise and useful way to represent knitted designs, many beautiful projects are written using them. When you don’t know how to read charts, you miss out on being able to knit those great projects.

The Problem With Charts

Complex Chart Key
Facing a plethora of chart symbols can be overwhelming
Even though they’re useful, charts can also seem confusing, scary, and overwhelming.

There are a variety of standard symbols for the same stitch, which can make them hard to remember.

Added to that is the fact that they mean one thing on the right side and another on the wrong side.

Plus there is the challenge of knowing how to read the charts when they are flat vs. in-the-round.

Lastly, beginners can also find it hard to keep track of where they are and go back and fix mistakes, like missed yarnovers.

The good news: understanding and conquering these details is just part of the process of learning to read charts.

In our upcoming Charts Demystified class, you will learn everything you need to know to approach any charted project with confidence, and the challenges of charts will disappear into pure joy of knitting.

And just look at the kinds of beautiful projects that will be awaiting you as your reward!

Haruni charted lace shawl
Haruni Shawl by Emily Ross
Clarus Shawl by Laura Nelkin
Clarus Shawl by Laura Nelkin
Dragonfly Wings Shawl by Boo Knits
Dragonfly Wings Shawl by Boo Knits
Rosewater Shawl by Janina Kallio
Rosewater Shawl by Janina Kallio
Wild Swan Shawl by Anne Lise Maigaard Nim Teasdale
Wild Swan Shawl by Anne Lise Maigaard & Nim Teasdale
Wrap Me in Sunshine Shawl Wiams Crafts
Wrap Me in Sunshine Shawl by Wiam’s Crafts

Excited to learn to knit all these beautiful projects and more? I’m excited too! Join me in our new Charts Demystified class that launches September 15th, 2021. More details (and pre-order discount) below.


Charts Demystified, coming September 15th, 2021Charts are full of symbols that can be confusing and hard to remember.

But they also allow you to knit complex patterns easily.

Our Charts Demystified class teaches you everything you need to know about knitting from charts so that you can approach any charted pattern with confidence.

Want to snag 30% off knitting with charts? Pre-order the class for $1 now and get a 30% off coupon when we launch.

Leave a Comment

What are your biggest fears and challenges when it comes to knitting from charts? Please let me know in the comments!

4 thoughts on “The Problem With Charts”

  1. Help plz! I am confused by the ff. knitting instruction:
    End with K1 on end 5 (yo md)
    I also always mistakenly read “rnd” as “md”….is MITERED DECREASE
    always capitalized?
    I am not an member yet and may have trouble finding this page again.
    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Rosie,
      Unfortunately you can’t always count on the patten designer to capitalize abbreviations. Just read the pattern slowly and carefully.

  2. Two questions:
    What does pre-ordering the knitalong “give” me that the class doesn’t?
    How is the soon to be launched class different than the one already available in the university?

    1. Hi Judi, great to hear from you!
      Pre-ordering the knitalong reserves your spot as spaces are limited and may fill up before we officially launch the class.
      The soon-to-be-launched class is the same one that’s in the University – I just added it. Since you are a member of KSU you have access to the class!
      If you enjoy it, please leave a review of the class so that others know what to expect when we launch!
      Thanks,
      Liat

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