How to read knitting diagrams

A knitting diagram consists of squares. 1 square = 1 stitch - the symbol definition provide information on how the stitch is worked. The diagram shows all stitches seen from the right side (unless otherwise specified).

A diagram looks like this:

  1. A.1 is the name of the diagram, and refer to the entire diagram.
  2. A.2 is only the part of the diagram within the square brackets.
  3. This number refers to the number of stitches on the 1st row of the diagram.
  4. This is the symbol definition: it explains how each stitch is worked, or in what color (in multicolored patterns).

You read a knitting diagram completely opposite to how you would normally read: from right to left, from bottom to top. In other words: you start with the symbol in the bottom right corner, and work your way leftwards and upwards (see RED in diagram below). If you are supposed to start at a different point/with a different stitch, will this be specified - for example: the different sizes can start at different places in the same diagram (see BLUE box below).

If you are supposed to work several repeats of a diagram (ie: work the same diagram several times in width) you’ll work until the end of the diagram row, and start again with the first stitch for the next repeat.

Back and forth:

When working back and forth, every other row will be worked from the right side and every other row will be worked from the wrong side. Since the diagram shows all stitches seen from the right side, you’ll have to work it in opposite way when working from the wrong side (see BLUE arrows in diagram below): you read the row from left to right, knit stitches are purled, and purl stitches are knit etc (this will often be specified in symbol definition: “knit from right side, purl from wrong side”).

In the round:

When working in the round all rounds are worked from the right side, and the diagram is read solely from right to left. When starting a new round, simply start working the first symbol on the next row in diagram.

Several different diagrams worked consecutively on the row/round:

If you’re working several different diagrams after each other on the same row/round, work as follows: Work 1st row in diagram 1, continue with 1st row in diagram 2, then 1st row in diagram 3 etc. REMEMBER: if you’re working back and forth, the diagram will have to be worked in the opposite order from the wrong side - ie: start with diagram 3, then diagram 2 and lastly diagram 1. They are also worked in opposite way as usual.

In the pattern this can be written as follows: “work A.1, A.2, A.3 a total of 1-1-2-3-4 times”. This means that you first work A.1, then A.2 and finally you repeat A.3 a total of 1-1-2-3-4 times (depending on your size). It is ONLY A.3 that is repeated, A.1 and A.2 are worked 1 time each.

When stitch count doesn’t match whole repeats of diagram:

Sometimes the stitch count is not divisible with full/whole repeats of the diagram in width. For example: A.1 covers 12 stitches and is to be repeated over 40 stitches. In this case you will work 3 full repeats of A.1 (=36 stitches), and then work the first 4 stitches in the diagram over the remaining stitches (see RED line below). This is usually the case where the diagram is a repetitive pattern, so that regardless of working full repeats, the pattern will still be consistent.

Comments (205)

Arlene Kaufman 12.06.2021 - 04:47:

I am attempting River Ripples, 210-33. I am having trouble with chart A.1. Not all of the symbols are listed in the legend. There is a bold diagonal line covering two squares that doesn’t seem to be listed. Can you tell me what that symbol means?

Merethe Andersen 06.06.2021 - 20:52:

Elefanthus Drops 214-73 Jeg har strikket frem og tilbage i patentstrik og er nået til at slå 18 m op til hals midt foran og skal nu strikke rundt på rundpind står der. Skal alle omgangene nu strikkes patent med at stikke ned i forrige række eller skal hver anden omgang være uden nedstik i forrige række? Eller hvad?

DROPS Design 07.06.2021 - 08:24:

Hei Merethe. Du fortsetter å strikke A.1 som før (1 omgang der det strikkes i masken under og 2 vrang, neste omgang strikkes det 1 rett og 2 vrang). mvh DROPS design

Kirsten Dorthe Albæk 03.06.2021 - 18:07:

Er begyndt på Sparrow Song 223-11 ogfostår ikke diagram A2 linje 19 forstår det ikke 1 vrang 2vrang sammen1 vrang og ? 2 omslag ? 4 vrang på næste omgang kan jeg ikke forstå 3 vrang 3 ret hvordan får jeg de opslagene strikket som en ret ? håber I kan hjælpe med forståelsen med venlig hilsen Kirsten Dorthe Albæk

DROPS Design 07.06.2021 - 08:08:

Hei Kirsten. På hver side av "midtmasken"/rettmasken på omgang 19 er det et 0 symbol, det forteller at du skal gjøre et kast. På rad 19 (i str. S_M_L) strikker du 1 vrang, 2 vrang sammen, 1 vrang (dette blir 3 vrang på neste omgang). Så lager du 1 kast, 1 rett og 1 kast (dette blir 3 rett masker på neste omgang). Deretter strikker du 4 vrang (4 vrang på neste omgang). mvh DROPS design

Lisianne RICHARD 03.06.2021 - 17:23:

Bonjour, que veut dire A1 au dessus des 5 mailles suivantes modèle 186-19 merci de bien vouloir me répondre

DROPS Design 04.06.2021 - 07:21:

Bonjour Mme Richard, cela signifie que les 5 mailles suivantes doivent être tricotées en suivant A.1. Bon tricot!

Jennifer 23.05.2021 - 05:43:

Hello, This is the first time I have attempted working on round needles for Drops 57-18. Unfortunately, I cannot follow the diagram given regardless of explanation for the large size. I stitches over. As I am keen to try this different method of both reading and knitting patterns I would appreciate your help. Cheers.

DROPS Design 25.05.2021 - 10:29:

Dear Jennifer, in L there are 178 sts on needle and y ou work: 27 sts reversed stocking st (=purl all these sts from RS), diagram M.1 (reading from the right towards the left, ie on 1st row: P8, K13, P6, K8), 54 sts stocking st (= knit all these sts from RS), diagram M.1 (read now from the left towards the right = K8, P6, K13, P8), 27 sts reversed stocking stitch. Hope this helps. Happy knitting!

Ariela Cohen 21.05.2021 - 19:49:

Hi i am trying to knit according to a pattern DROPS design: Pattern no z-760. i dont understand the instructions not in english and not the hebrew. maybe someone can translate the text to simple english or maybe only few rows and then i will understand the rest. thanxs ariela

DROPS Design 25.05.2021 - 10:25:

Dear Mrs Cohen, this lesson explains how to read diagram, in this pattern diagrams are worked back and forth, read from the right towards the left from RS and from the left towards the right from WS, ie A.1a = P3, K1, P3, K1 on row 1 from RS and P1, K3, P1, K3 on row 2 from WS, this might help. For any individual assistance, please contact the store where you bought the yarn, they will help you even per mail or telephone. Happy knitting!

Trudie Tucker 19.05.2021 - 11:29:

I am trying for the first time to knit a top to bottom design, design 213.1, I am really lost, I cast on 114 sts, and then the yoke, work A.1 (=6 stiches) in the round over all stiches (=19 times in width) and then all of a sudden I must have 380 stiches, where does all those other stiches come from. sorry for this but I really want this sweater. TIA

DROPS Design 19.05.2021 - 15:59:

Dear Mrs Tucker, in this pattern you will increase in each A.1 when working the diagram, ie you start with 6 sts in each A.1 x 19 times and increase as shown in the diagram to finish with 20 sts in each A.1 x 19 times in the round = 380 sts. Hope this will help. Happy knitting!

Suzi Atkinson 13.05.2021 - 18:31:

Using butterfly. Black vertical line is confusing. "no stitch" but several rows above it is a stitch. How do I do this? Thanks. DROPS 159-1

Dora 12.05.2021 - 06:16:

P3 sts, pass the first st over the 2 last sts, pass the second st over the last st Is this means PSSO THANK YOU IN ADVANCE

Janine Söderhjelm 06.05.2021 - 12:43:

Hej förstår inte mönsterstickningen :l 3 ”Nästa varv stickas .... sen sticka A.1A .... jag hur mönstervarven följer på varandra - är det vartannat\r\nvarv, eller vart tredje. Går det att få en tydligare beskrivning mönstervarven och hur de ligger är jag tacksam. Hälsningar janine

DROPS Design 07.05.2021 - 09:29:

Hej Janine, skrive dit spørgsmål ind under selve opskriften, så bliver det lettere for os at svare. Husk at skrive hvilken størrelse du strikker og hvor langt du er kommet i opskrften.

Ingrid Jensen 05.05.2021 - 22:46:

Jeg skal til at strikke Summer Leaves top. Jeg vil gerne lave den uden knapper i ryggen og vil gerne vide om jeg ikke kan strikke hele toppen på rundpind og derfor kun bruger 1. linje af bladmønsteret, og ikke 2. linje som normalt skulle strikkes som vrangpind? Hilsen Ingrid

DROPS Design 07.05.2021 - 09:27:

Hej Ingrid, Du kan strikke rundt, du er nødt til at strikke alle pinde i diagrammet for at få mønsteret og da strikkes 2.pind også fra retsiden :)

Lynne 03.05.2021 - 10:39:

Regarding my previous question - just found A.x and A.y!

Gunnel Crona 03.05.2021 - 10:06:

Stickar tröja19-16 Tvekar var jag ska börja på M2 och M3.Gäller pilen endast M1.Stickar storlek S

DROPS Design 07.05.2021 - 09:28:

Skriv dit spørgsmål ind under selve opskriften, så kan vi se hvilke diagrammer du mener og det bliver lettere for os at svare :)

Lynne 01.05.2021 - 12:30:

Hi I’m knitting the dots and drops jacket and have just separated for the body and sleeves. Pattern refers to A.x and A.y and I do t know what this means and can’t find a reference to them anywhere to explain. Please could you help? Thank you

DROPS Design 03.05.2021 - 10:38:

Dear Lynne, in the diagrams A.3 and A.4 in this pattern you will see some marks on the right side of A.3 (= A.x) and A.4 (= A.y), ie the last 12 rows in the diagrams. Happy knitting!

Sonya Noble 29.04.2021 - 17:07:

On pattern number 190-41 the cast off row has both large circles and half squares. The pattern shows the half squares as cast off, but I can't find what the large circles mean. This is on gragh A3b all sizes.

DROPS Design 30.04.2021 - 07:41:

Dear Mrs Noble, in This pattern, the black circle is explained under next to last symbol (= 8th symbol), ie : cast off 1 stitch, make 1 yarn over, cast off yarn over. Happy knitting!

June 25.04.2021 - 10:40:

Confused from armhole shaping on left front for Drops 74-27 Sunday Morning pattern. The confusion is after I have completed the front decreases, I cannot work out the rest of pattern it appears different than on the picture of the original pattern Thank you

DROPS Design 26.04.2021 - 09:41:

Dear June, you cast off for armhole on left front piece at the beginning of every row from right side when piece measures 31-35 cm (see size), and continue working M.5 as before. When piece measures 34-38 cm (adjust after a whole repeat of M.5), work M.6A over the stitches at the end of row from RS (beg of row from WS) to shape neckline and continuing pattern as before. Happy knitting!

Reidun Layfield 23.04.2021 - 18:05:

Jeg strikker Drops 52-28,str 7/8. Jeg er ferdig med M2,begynte med M3 der pilen viser på diagrammet men maskeantallet stemmer ikke med diagrammet. Det vises ikke hvor midt foran og mildt bak er på diagrammet. Har prøvd flere ganger til å få mønsteret til å stemme. Hva gjør jeg galt? Jeg er fortvilet!

Danielle Rioux 22.04.2021 - 16:17:

Bonjour, est-ce qu’avant de faire le diagramme A1, je fais 1 côte au point mousse?

DROPS Design 23.04.2021 - 08:12:

Bonjour Mme Rioux, vous est-il possible de poser votre question dans la rubrique "Questions" du modèle que vous tricotez? Sans savoir duquel il s'agit, nous ne pouvons malheureusement pas vous répondre. Merci pour votre compréhension. Bon tricot!

Danielle Rioux 21.04.2021 - 23:59:

Bonjour, je fais le modèle 167-32. Je ne comprends l’explication des diagrammes. A1 : est-ce que chaque rangée est un tour complet soit 72 mailles? Même chose pour Les autres diagrammes Merci de me répondre

DROPS Design 22.04.2021 - 08:20:

Bonjour Mme Rioux, je ne suis pas sûre de comprendre votre question, vous commencez par tricoter A.1 sur les 72 mailles, autrement dit, vous allez répéter 36 fois les 2 mailles de A.1 (=36x2= 72). Au 7ème tour, vous aurez 36 fois(2 lm ens à l'end, 1 jeté). Et ainsi de suite. Quand vous tricotez A.3 sur 64 mailles, vous devez le répéter 8 fois en largeur (= sur toutes les mailles), tricotez le 1er rang 8 fois, puis le 2ème rang 8 fois et ainsi de suite (= 8 x8 m = 64). Bon tricot!

GIUSY FERRARI 19.04.2021 - 15:00:

GILET SENZA MANICHE CON COLLO ALTO DROPS 218-23 MI SCUSI MA NON RIESCO A XCAPIRE SE A1 SI LAVORA SOLO DUE RIGHE E POI SI PASSA A 2. LA SPIEGAZIONE NON LO DICE O NON CAPISCO IO GRAZIE

DROPS Design 19.04.2021 - 22:23:

Buonasera Giusy, A.1 è solo di 2 ferri, poi si passa a lavorare A.2. Si ricordi di scrivere in minuscolo la prossima volta. Buon lavoro!

Leave a comment or question to this lesson

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.