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 (237)

Wendy 16.09.2021 - 22:31:

I will be making the Kaia top in the 11/12or 13/14. What do you mean bend the circular needle double? Also there are two M1 diagrams. One says 12 across and 13 rows up the other is 16 across and 18 up. Which one is used? Can this be knit fully in the round from bottom up and then split at the decrease and neck edge? I’m finding reading the pattern very confusing.

DROPS Design 17.09.2021 - 07:45:

Dear Wendy, you bend the circular needle to cast on the stitches on both tips, just as shown in this video with 2 needles; for the tunic use the diagram M.1 worked over 16 sts (the one over 12 sts applies to hat). You work body from bottom up in the round to the armholes, then divide pieces and work back and front pieces together, splitting front pieces in 2 sides. Happy knitting!

Lene Berg 16.09.2021 - 07:51:

I opskrift Baby 19-10 - kørepose, er der 3 diagrammer. I 2 og 3 er der i toppen af diagrammet i midt, hvor det ser ud til, at der skal strikkes to pinde (og kun der). Skal garnet brydes og disse pinde strikkes alene?

Elizabeth 15.09.2021 - 17:37:

Jeg strikker babypledd Princess Chantilly 18-30. Diagrammet M1 går over 13 masker. På rad 1, der det er 6 kast på pinnen. Skal det første kastet komme direkte etter de 2 rettmaskene i rapporten?

LINDA 11.09.2021 - 01:56:

Drop design 217-33 Please explain the sequence for the pattern I cant figure out how to get the pattern started. Have the collar now need the yoke pattern. Have knit your patterns before and had no problem. Really like the ones have kint . All were pull overs. Thanks for your help

DROPS Design 13.09.2021 - 09:48:

Dear Linda, on yoke you will now work (A.1, A.2) all the row, starting and ending with 5 sts in garter stitch for front band sts. A.1 will be worked over the same 3 sts in height all the way, and the number of sts in A.2 will increase as shown in the diagram (first row is worked over 3 sts with 1 increase and depending on the size you will increase 6 to 7 sts in each A.2). Happy knitting!

Dorothy Ann Aarholt 09.09.2021 - 19:47:

Jeg skal strikke Pink Petals Hat but can't work out how to follow diagram A1. I have 7 stitches. Where do I start? I can't find a starting point with 7 stitches. Oops, gikk over til engelsk. Språkforvirret, Hilsen Dorothy

DROPS Design 13.09.2021 - 07:39:

Hei Dorothy. Se svar på ditt forrige spørsmål :) mvh DROPS design

Dorothy Ann Aarholt 09.09.2021 - 19:30:

Jeg skal strikke Pink Petals Hat but can't work out how to follow A1. I have 7 stitches. Where do I start? I can't find a starting point with 7 stitches. Oops, gikk over til engelsk. Språkforvirret, Hilsen Dorothy

DROPS Design 13.09.2021 - 07:38:

Hei Dorothy. Du strikker frem og tilbake. Legg opp 7 masker, snu. Strikk 1. pinne fra vrangen og etter diagram A.1 = 7 masker vrang, snu og strikk 2. pinne fra retten og 2. rad etter diagram A.1 (7 kast + 7 rett = 14 masker). Snu og strikk 3. pinne etter diagram A.1 (maskene strikkes rett og kastene strikkes kastet vridd rett). mvh DROPS design

Hilary Ball 04.09.2021 - 19:57:

I am trying to knit the Egyptian Feathers jacket pattern drops 201-29 but don’t understand the diagrams. I can’t find the A.1A or A.2A patterns to start the neck. Help I’m completely stuck Hilary

DROPS Design 05.09.2021 - 16:14:

Dear Hilary, you can find the A.1A and A.2A patterns in the measurement guide/ sketch (the last picture) just below the left sleeve. The other diagrams are in multiples because they vary depending on their size, but those are equal for all sizes.

Elma 02.09.2021 - 10:34:

Als je in de rondte breit komt bij de overgang van averecht naar recht, de laatste averechtse steek naast de eerste rechte steek te liggen.\r\nDaardoor loopt de averechtse ribbel niet mooi in elkaar over. Is hier een trucje voor zodat de ribbel wel naast elkaar komt te liggen bij de overgang naar recht.\r\nAlvast bedankt.

Yvonne Bogues 30.08.2021 - 17:35:

Hi, I'm knitting Drops Seasons in the Sand. What does 'cast on 60 sts (inkl 1 edge st in each side). Does it mean edge st is included in the 60 or do I have to add an extra edge st on each side? I have never come across this notation before. Many thanks

DROPS Design 30.08.2021 - 18:34:

Dear Yvonne, you need to cast on 60 sts in total; the edge st are always included in the amount of sts to cast on initially in our patterns. Happy knitting!

Pat Calder 28.08.2021 - 18:36:

I am knitting Drops 60-13 and cannot work out where I supposed to find the pattern. I have done the first 5 rows and am completely lost after that. Never used these patterns before. Many thanks.

DROPS Design 30.08.2021 - 09:39:

Dear Mrs Calder, you will now work pattern on the half stitches of the round (= to the marker on the side), then start again to the 2nd half of piece, ie work starting from the arrow (= in S + M with 2nd sitch on diagram, in size L with 6th stitch), to the left, then repeat diagram from the first to the last stitch until you have worked the half of the stitches (= to the marker), then start again the same way over the 2nd half of stitches ie to the end of the round. Happy knitting!

Elisabeth Solhaug 27.08.2021 - 16:20:

221-3 når jeg starter på A1 (21m) så stemmer mønster med antall masker. På omg 3 blir det feil, for mange masker. Lurer på omg 2 som starter med 2 masker før 2 vrang. Hvorfor tegnes flere masker på omg 2? Mønstret er utvidet med 2m i hver side.... hvordan skal jeg tenke:)

DROPS Design 30.08.2021 - 09:35:

Hei Elisabeth. På 1. omg økes det med 4 masker hver gang A.1 strikkes (den sorte prikken i diagrammet). 4 prikker = 4 økte masker, derfor er det tegnet inn flere masker i 2.rad. Sette 1 maskemarkør / merketråd før A.1 og 1 maskemarkør / merketråd etter A.1, da får du en bedre oversikt. mvh DROPS design

Trine Breivik 20.08.2021 - 12:57:

Skjønner ikke hvordan jeg skal få 179 masker etter mønstret. Dårlig forklart kast og øking eller er det jeg som er treg i hue 🤣🤣🤣

DROPS Design 20.08.2021 - 13:29:

Hej Trine. Om du ställer din fråga på oppskriften istället så hjälper vi dig där. Mvh DROPS Design

Maria Sigurd 17.08.2021 - 15:31:

Hej Jag stickar tröja 135-5 och har börjat på oket. När man stickar diagram på rundsticka står det att alla varv stickas höger till vänster. Enligt diagrammet är då sista maskan vit. Om jag går tillbaka till höger för att börja varv 2 blir ju första maskan också vit. Eftersom arbetet går ihop ser det ju då ut som om jag har två vita maskor på rad det ser inte rätt ut. Jag har rätt antal maskor på stickan.

DROPS Design 18.08.2021 - 06:54:

Hei Maria. Det vil nok bli en ujevnhet mellom start og slutt på hver omgang når man strikker mønster. Ta en titt på denne videoen og se om dersom du bruker denne teknikken om du får noe jevnere /penere overganger: Hur man stickar ränder runt utan hack mvh DROPS design

Lina Bergeron 11.08.2021 - 22:13:

Dans le modèle Drops 107-8, la grile M1, il y a des cases sans légende, vide, je fais quoi avec ces mailles?

DROPS Design 12.08.2021 - 09:01:

Bonjour Mme Bergeron, la réponse à votre question posée sur ce modèle a-t'elle pu vous aider? Si tel n'est pas le cas, n'hésitez pas à nous le dire. Merci d'avance. Bon tricot!

Janey Nottage-Tacey 05.08.2021 - 00:19:

I am working on Little Red Nose Jacket and am confused by the first row in the pattern. Is it really an increase, then six knits than another increase? Size 12 mos. It says that row one is a repeat of 6 stitches, but looks like an increase at the beginning and then another on after 6 stitches, one knit than another increase. Help please.

DROPS Design 05.08.2021 - 09:52:

Dear Mrs Nottage-Tacey, on first row in A.1 size 12/18 months, work like this: *yarn over, knit 5, yarn over, knit 1*, and repeat from *-* = 6 sts are becoming 8 sts. Happy knitting!

Suzy Durston 30.07.2021 - 18:19:

Hi , I'm stuck on my pattern Branching Out 216/14. I've never come across this in the neck I 'work A1 over the 6 stitches, and A2 over the next 2_stitches ' for the entire length of the diagram. A2 becomes 6 then more sts long, so how do I knit it ? Thank you in advance .

DROPS Design 02.08.2021 - 08:32:

Dear Mrs Durston, when starting diagrams under yoke, work the first row each diagram: *A.1 over 6 sts (= repeat 3 times the 2 sts in A.1), then work A.2 (= work the first row in A.2 over the next 2 sts)* and repeat from *-* - on next row, work diagram reading from the left towards the right: *A.2, then repeat A.1 3 times *. On 5 th row, increase in A.2 as shown in the diagram (continue working A.1 as before wihtout increasing). And continue like as shown in diagram A.2 and continue increasing as shown in A.2. Happy knitting!

Eve Rowell 18.07.2021 - 18:35:

I am working Sunrise Glow Drops 170/14. The chart begins with 208 sts, a 12 stitch pattern but shows additional YO's such that by the final row of the A-1 section, it has gone from a 12 stitch repeat to a 23 stitch repeat. Pattern reads:"When A.1 has been worked 1 time vertically, there are 207 sts on needle. Piece measures approx. 19 cm / 7½". K 1 round and inc 1-0-1-0-1-0 sts evenly = 208-sts." How can a 23 stitch pattern repeated 9 times yield a total 207 stitches?

DROPS Design 19.07.2021 - 09:47:

Dear Mrs Rowell, before working A.1 you have 108 sts on the needle and repeat 9 times the 12 stitches in A.1 (= 9x12= 108); then you increase in A.1 as shown in the diagram, and there will be 23 sts when diagram is done (= 9 x 23 = 207 sts). Hope this will help, happy knitting!

Michelle Lamontagne 14.07.2021 - 17:11:

Good day, I just started a Twin River sweater by Drops design # 174-14. I am afraid do not understand this segment of the pattern; \r\n\"Now work pattern A.1 as follows: Work the last 2 sts in A.1, then repeat A.1 the entire round until 1 st remains on round, work the first st in A.1.\"\r\nCould you please clarify for me? The way I read it I would simply continue in the same pattern through the rounds???? Thank you.M.L.

DROPS Design 15.07.2021 - 10:00:

Dear Mrs Lamontagne, you are working that way to get the pattern symmetrical on each side: work the last 2 sts in A.1 (= P1, K1), then repeat A.1 (= P2, K1) over the number of sts stated, and now work the first stitch in A.1 (= P1) - now pattern looks the same at the beg and at the end of the section in pattern. Happy knitting!

Gill Mineur 12.07.2021 - 09:18:

Hej, Första gången jag stickar enligt mönster och vill fråga så jag förstår :) . är varje rad ett varv? alltså om man stickar enligt diagram så börjar man om och stickar enligt diagram igen tills varvet är färdigt? Mvh Gill

DROPS Design 13.07.2021 - 12:16:

Hej Gill. Ja det stämmer, varje rad är ett varv. Mvh DROPS Design

Jeanne Page 08.07.2021 - 12:41:

Je fait un pull tricitter en rond avec diagramme . Il y a des diminutions a la fin du diagrammes. Pour cette partie, ça va. Lorsqu'il y a la diminution au début du nouveau rang, est-ce que cette diminution se répète tout au long du rang? Il y a 14 mailles pour le dessin. On tricote 2 ensembles au debut du rang... je suis un peu mêlée. Merci de m'aider. Mon patron est le : 99000600429 de Bernat..."Fair Isle Yoke Pullover. Merci.

DROPS Design 08.07.2021 - 16:02:

Bonjour Mme Page, nous ne connaissons pas ce modèle, il va donc être difficile de pouvoir vous aider, n'hésitez pas à contacter les stylistes/le site en question ou bien demandez à votre magasin, il devrait pouvoir vous aider. Bonne continuation!

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