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 (324)

Joy Newbould wrote:

I'm about to start Drops 46-7 (august in blue) - which is done on circular needles but I'm confused as the pattern talks about RS and WS for the stitches between the pattern blocks - I thought it was all RS when on circular?

25.05.2022 - 19:22:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Joy, with a circular needle, you can work both in the round or back and forth. In this pattern you do both: You work until the armhole in the round and then finish the front and back separately back and forth. Happy knitting!

25.05.2022 - 20:45:

Susanne Andersson wrote:

Mönster 169-19, igen. Diagram A2A och A2B. Hur gör man när man har minskat maskor? Då stämmer inte diagrammet. Är det rätt att går efter hur det ska sluta? A2A ska väl alltid sluta som A2B börjar. Har jättesvårt att få det rätt. Tacksam för svar. MVH Susanne

21.05.2022 - 10:54:

DROPS Design answered:

Hei Susanne. Hvilken str strikker du og tenker du på fellingene i sidene der det senere skal sys sammen? Husk at de maskene som ikke går opp i mønsteret ut mot siden når det felles strikkes i glstrikk, slik at da vil ikke mønstret stemme 100% når du skal sy sidensømmen tilslutt. mvh DROPS Design

23.05.2022 - 07:41:

Benoit F wrote:

Modèle 230-23, j’arrive au rang 15 du diagramme et je ne comprend pas pourquoi il y a un décalage a1 un carré de plus, a2 un carré de moins au début et un de plus à la fin, a3 un carré de moins au début pouvez-vous m’aider à réaliser ce projet. Merci.

19.05.2022 - 03:20:

DROPS Design answered:

Bonjour Mme Benoit, ce décalage est du à la double diminution qui se fait désormais à la fin de chaque diagramme au lieu d'au milieu de A.2, autrement dit, à la fin des rangs 15, 17, 19, 21 et 23, tricotez les 2 dernières mailles de A.1/A.2 avec la première maille du A.2 suivant /de A.3 à la fin du rang. Le jeté au début de A.2/A.3 compense cette maille, ainsi vous avez toujours le même nombre de mailles dans chacun des diagrammes. Bon tricot!

19.05.2022 - 09:25:

Pamela Große Heitmeyer wrote:

Hallo liebes Drops Team, Ich verstehe die Anleitung immer noch nicht 86-3 hat das vllt mit der Maschenprobe zu tun? immer dreht sich das Muster nach rechts also wie gezwirbelt

18.05.2022 - 21:44:

DROPS Design answered:

Liebe Frau Große Heitmeyer, per Ferndiagnose ist es etwas schwierig, einen Fehler zu erkennen. Am besten zeigen Sie Ihr Strickstück Ihrem Laden (auch per Mail wenn nötig ist), so kann man Ihnen am besten helfen. Viel Spaß beim stricken!

19.05.2022 - 09:27:

Susanne Andersson wrote:

Jag stickar Erica Top. cl-062, eller 169-19. Mycket svårt mönster, men på diagram A5a, B, C på varv 11 och 17 är en symbol, lyft 1 m 2 m räta ihop grag den lyfta m över. Ska man sticka 12 m på A5A, sen symbolen. sen 12 m på A5B, symbol sen 12 m igen på A5a sen symbol. Symbolen är ju utanför diagr, ersätter den m? Tacksam för svar,

15.05.2022 - 19:57:

DROPS Design answered:

Hei Susanne. Ja, det stemmer. Du ser også at når det er ekstra maskene som er "utenfor" diagrammet, så "mangler" disse maskene på neste diagram som skal strikkes, slik at maskeantallet går opp. mvh DROPS Design

16.05.2022 - 07:36:

Pia Holmen wrote:

Jeg har købt strikkekit til nordic romance sjal,- men jeg kan ikke forstå diagram A1 og A2. hvad betyder symbolerne på den allerførste række ? jeg har strikket de 2 første pinde og har 9 masker. Kan I fortælle mig hvad symbolerne betyder,- de ligner ikke dem i diagramforklaringen. Hvad betyder det første symbol i første række i diagrammet ? Med venlig hilsen Pia

06.05.2022 - 20:19:

Janice wrote:

Hi I’m working on pattern 178-23 Spring Snow. On pattern A2 the 5th row where the box is missing. How do I knit that row? Thank you in advance.

04.05.2022 - 04:06:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Janice, at the beginning of the round, slip this stitch as if to knit, without working it, and work: K3, YO, slip 1, K2 tog (the last st A.2 + the first st next A.2), psso, YO. This means you will then work last 2 stitches each A.2 with the first stitch next A.2, and at the end of the round, the first stitch of the round. The 2nd yarn over is now the first stitch of each A.2. Happy knitting!

04.05.2022 - 08:18:

Vanessa wrote:

Salve vorrei sapere se i diagrammi vanno sempre e solo letto dal basso verso l’alto e da dx a sx o se dal rovescio del lavoro vanno letti da sx a dx grazie

26.04.2022 - 21:28:

DROPS Design answered:

Buonasera Vanessa, i diagrammi si leggono sempre dal basso verso l'alto e mostrano tutti i ferri/giri del lavoro. Si leggono sempre da destra a sinistra per la lavorazione in tondo., mentre per la lavorazione in piano sono indicati i ferri di andata e di ritorno, per cui nei ferri di andata si leggono da destra a sinistra, in quelli di ritorno da sinistra a destra. Buon lavoro!

05.05.2022 - 20:09:

Mandy wrote:

Hallo, ich möchte gern die Early Nap Pants stricken und verstehe bei der Hose den letzten Teil der Strickanleitung nicht: A.2 (= 2 Maschen), A.1a über die nächsten (42) 46-50-58-62 (66-70) Maschen wie zuvor, A.2 über 2 Maschen (= vordere Mitte), A.1a über die letzten (42) 46-50-58-62 (66-70) Maschen wie zuvor. ... Die Strickanleitung ist wie ein Dreieck, wie ist das zu lesen und verstehen? Vielen Dank für die Hilfe!! Liebe Grüße Mandy

18.04.2022 - 19:59:

DROPS Design answered:

Liebe Mandy, Diagramme lesen Sie immer von unten nach oben, A.2 stricken Sie wie beschrieben, bei der 1. Reihe nehmen Sie 4 Maschen zu (siehe letzes Symbol), deshalb nimmt die Maschenanzahl im Diagram (jeweils wird es 4 Maschen zugenommen). Viel Spaß beim stricken!

19.04.2022 - 13:20:

Sofia Broborg wrote:

Hej! Jag har för mig att jag sett en samlad lista på alla diagramsymboler som Drops mönster använder sig av, men hittar den inte nu. Jag kan minnas fel... eller finns det en sån så ni kan hjälpa mig hitta den? Tack på förhand! :)

15.04.2022 - 19:52:

DROPS Design answered:

Hei Sofia. Nei, en slik side har vi ikke. Men har du et problem til hvordan et symbol strikkes/hekles, sjekk om vi har en video som viser det eller ta kontakt, så skal vi hjelpe deg så godt vi kan. mvh DROPS Design

19.04.2022 - 07:47:

Matter Hanna wrote:

Hallo, ich arbeite am Modell ai-007-bn. Die Angabe beim Ärmel ist mir nicht ganz klar. Es heisst 4cm Rippenmuster, dann glatt rechts. Zunahme nach 6cm. Ist da die Gesamtlänge mit dem Bündchen gemeint oder 6cm rechts ab dem Bündchen? Danke!

11.04.2022 - 22:39:

DROPS Design answered:

Liebe Frau Matter, die 6 cm messen Sie ab der Anschlagskante, dh 2 cm nach dem Rippenmuster. Viel Spaß beim stricken!

19.04.2022 - 13:21:

Fil wrote:

Hi, I am doing the High Tide pattern, I completed A1 and A2 1 time in height to get my 81 stitches. However I am confused for the next part which is to continue with the pattern and increase in same way as A1 and A2. When asked to increase 2 stitches at the beg. and end does this mean the 2YO like in the pattern? And the holes are referring to the knitting 2 together and on the purl slide slip knit stitch? I am being asked to increase a total of 54 times to have 333 stitches on my needle?

10.04.2022 - 15:59:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Fil, you work 2 YO at the beg and end of row, but only one of each will be an increase, the other YO at the beg and end of row will be dropped. You also increase this way on both sides of the central stitch (work 2 YO, one is used as an increase, the other one is dropped). This way, you will increase on each row, while also forming holes. You also work 1 YO at the beg and end of the row, which is worked twisted, so that you avoid making holes. You also work holes by working k2tog or an skpo. Happy knitting!

10.04.2022 - 19:19:

Shelley wrote:

Hi. I am making 168-33. How do you do AX on A1 and A2? I did the whole pattern once.but not sure how rhe AX works. There are more stitches then the pattern shows. I having a hard time can you please explain how to finish thi

08.04.2022 - 14:07:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Shelley, in A.X, you continue with the increases as before, (6 increases, then 7 straight rows). You will always have more stitches between the side and the part in stocking stitch; here you will need to repeat: *YO, skpo* in A.1 or *knit2 together, YO* in A.2. Happy knitting!

10.04.2022 - 19:26:

Eva Wilhelmsson wrote:

Stickar tröjan i storlekXL. När jag stickat de 3cm på oket och ska börja med mönster A1, vart börjar jag? Under ärmen, mitt fram eller mitt bak? Det står: mitt bak där fram- och bakstycket avslutades. Men varvet avslutas väl med de avmaskade maskorna för ärmhål, när fram och bak stycket stickades? Tacksam för snabbt svar då jag är ivrig att fortsätta. Mvh Eva

05.04.2022 - 22:18:

DROPS Design answered:

Hej Eva. Vilket mönster stickar du? Det bästa är om du lägger in frågan direkt under det aktuella mönstret så svarar vi dig där (eller så hittar du svaret i tidigare frågor och svar på det mönstret). Mvh DROPS Design

08.04.2022 - 13:54:

Hanna Matter wrote:

Hallo, ich arbeite am Modell ai-007-bn Isak. Mit Rundnadeln, in Runden. In der Anleitung für das Zopfmuster sind Hin und Rückreihen angegeben. Wie soll ich das stricken, da ich ja Runden stricke? Links oder rechts?

05.04.2022 - 21:58:

DROPS Design answered:

Liebe Frau Matter, wenn Sie in Runden stricken, lesen Sie jede Reihe rechts nach links, wenn Sie dann später die Arbeit teilen um Vorder- und Rückenteil in Hin- und Rückreihen zu stricken, dann lesen Sie Hinreihen rechts nach links und Rückreihen links nach rechts. Viel Spaß beim stricken!

06.04.2022 - 08:01:

Teresa wrote:

I am making pattern 215-4. I finished the first round on the yoke. Next the instructions say to continue in pattern and increase on every second round. Does that mean that the next round is all stockinette stitch and every second round I increase? On the first round in all stockinette do I do the cable diagram?

29.03.2022 - 22:59:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Teresa, you have to continue the pattern as established, ie with cables as explained, but you will work: 1 round increasing 8 sts for the raglan; 1 round working either K or P as before/in diagram. Happy knitting!

30.03.2022 - 08:20:

Gabi wrote:

Ich stricke Drops 179-2 und verstehe A.3 leider nicht. Im Text steht, „die neuen Maschen werden glatt rechts gestrickt. In der Erklärung zum Diagramm steht, „in der nächsten Reihe den Umschlag links Stricken, so dass ein Loch gebildet wird“. Leider ist auf dem Foto nicht zu sehen, wie das Rumpfteil unter dem Arm aussehen muss. Soll dort ein Lochmuster entstehen?? Freue mich auf eure Antwort, damit ich richtig weiterstricken kann. Viele Grüße Gabi

29.03.2022 - 20:24:

DROPS Design answered:

Liebe Gabi, ja genau, bei der 1. und 3. Reihe in A.3 stricken Sie Löcher (2 Abnahmen, 2 Umschläge), bei der 5. Reihe stricken Sie nur 2 Umschläge (= 2 Zunahmen); A.3 wiederholen Sie dann in der Höhe so daß die Umschläge immer übereinander kommen, so nehmen Sie die Maschenanzahl bei den Vorderteilen und beim Rückenteil in jeder 5. Reihe. Die Zunahmen stricken Sie glatt rechts (= links bei der nächsten Reihe). Viel Spaß beim stricken!

30.03.2022 - 08:17:

Denise Gibbard wrote:

I'm knitting the DROPS Design Herringbone Hill Jacket. Can you please explain what I do over the gaps showing no stitches after increasing in the Diagrams A.1B, A.2B and A.3B? Thank you

24.03.2022 - 00:01:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Mrs Gibbard, you will increase on the first row in these diagrams, ie when there is a gap, that's because there is no stitch yet on the first row, only from the 2nd row after you will have increased (2 sts in A.1B and A.3B and 4 sts in A.2B). Happy knitting!

24.03.2022 - 09:17:

Edith PEDERSEN wrote:

UNDSKYLD AT JEG SKRIVER IGEN DENNE MØNSTE JEG IKKE KAN FÅ TIL AT PASSE ER OPSKRIFTEN 183-22 GIDER DU SENDER EN DIGRAM PÅ DEN (PÅ DANSK)TAK

21.03.2022 - 10:21:

DROPS Design answered:

Hei Edith. Diagrammene til den jakken finner du under oppskriften, den danske diagram teksten finner du over alle diagrammene, samt den danske oppskriften, så lenge du er på den danske siden. Har du et spesifikk problem med oppskriften, kan du legge inn et Spørsmål under selve oppskriften (ikke som Kommentar, de blir ikke besvart), så skal vi hjelpe deg så godt vi kan. mvh DROPS Design

28.03.2022 - 08:18:

Judy wrote:

Located next to the lace diagram What does 50 p/v = ca 18 mean ?

20.03.2022 - 03:44:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Judy, could you specify which pattern has this abbreviation? So that we can more easily explain the meaning. Happy knitting!

20.03.2022 - 18:54:

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