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 (403)

Giuseppina wrote:

Scusate ripeto indirizzo e mail. Grazie

26.11.2022 - 08:58:

Giuseppina wrote:

Buongiorno, sto realizzando maglione top down con aumenti intercalari. Vorrei capire come gestire la realizzazione del diagramma quando si incontra con gli aumenti del maglione, per non alterare il motivo del disegno. Grazie Giuseppina

26.11.2022 - 08:57:

Valy wrote:

Comment faire un échantillons a plat pour un modèle en rond... Merci

24.11.2022 - 13:59:

DROPS Design answered:

Bonjour Valy, adaptez le diagramme en conséquence en fonction des symboles; par ex 1 m end sur l'end va se tricoter à l'envers sur l'envers etc..., certains diagrammes sont plus simples à réaliser en rond quand tous les rangs comportent des motifs. Tricoter son échantillon en rond vous permet également d'être certaine que vous aurez la même tension en rond par la suite pour votre ouvrage. En cas de doute, posez votre question sur le modèle concerné. Bon tricot!

25.11.2022 - 08:52:

Grada wrote:

Ik begrijp het telpatroon maar wat ik er niet uit opmaak moet ik de steken overbreien zoals ze staan ?

23.11.2022 - 10:25:

Barbara Reynard wrote:

In drops220-32 A1 what do you do where are no instruction, just empty space. No chart do you just carry the yarn across from chart on the right to the one across from it

18.11.2022 - 02:44:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Mrs Reynard, just skip to the next square - if there is just a space and no square, this means this stitch doesn't exist yet, for ex. A.1 starts over 8 sts in size S-M, work as follows: slip 1 stitch knitwise, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over stitch worked, K3, K2 tog, work 7 stitches in same stitch - on the next round, knit the 12 sts each A.1. Happy knitting!

18.11.2022 - 09:00:

Marita Kramer wrote:

Bei der Anleitung für das Muster als Diagramm habe ich 50 Maschen in der Runde zuviel . Was ist da verkehrt ?

17.11.2022 - 14:25:

DROPS Design answered:

Liebe Frau Kramer, können Sie uns bitte sagen, welche Modell Sie gerade stricken? Damit könnten wir mal zusammen schauen, um Ihnen zu hilfen. Danke im voraus für Ihr Verständnis.

17.11.2022 - 16:36:

Kathy S Baumann wrote:

This might be a duplicate question. Regarding 211-5 Catch the Wind. Please would you explain the lace section on the sleeves. I have completed one section of A.1, A.2 and A.3., 1 time. What I don't understand is ... instructions state "you work 2 more repeats of A.2 between A.1 and A.3", that is 14+14=28 stitches. There are more stitches between A1 - A.3. What do I with the remaining 19 stitches? Even if I work section A.2 three times, I still have 5 or 6 extra stitches.

15.11.2022 - 17:16:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Mrs Baumann, after A.1, A.2 and A.3 are done in height, work as follows: A.1 (2 sts) over the first 2 sts previous A.1, then work A.2 over the next 14 sts (last 14 sts previous A.1), work A.2 as before until the previous A.3, then work A.2 over the first 14 sts previous A.3 and finish with A.3 (3 sts) over the last 3 sts previous A.3. Happy knitting!

16.11.2022 - 10:06:

Katrin Garbe wrote:

Guten Tag, Sind in den Diagrammen Hin- und Rückreihen dargestellt, oder nur die Hinreihen?

14.11.2022 - 15:32:

DROPS Design answered:

Liebe Frau Garbe, die Diagramme zeigen meistens alle Reihen, dh die Hin- sowie die Rückreihen - im Zweifelsfall können Sie uns entweder die Modell Nr hier schreiben oder bei dem Modell mal fragen, so können wir zusammenprüfen. Viel Spaß beim stricken!

14.11.2022 - 16:28:

Denise Badeau wrote:

Bonjour, Je fais le modèle u-079-bn, je n’arrive pas à déterminer à quelle ligne je dois arrêter pour recommencer au début afin de tricoter plusieurs fois le patron de bas en haut. Est-ce que vous pourriez m’expliquer comment faire? Merci beaucoup

12.11.2022 - 20:13:

Denise Badeau wrote:

Bonjour, Je fais le modèle u-079-bn, je n’arrive pas à déterminer à quelle ligne je dois arrêter pour recommencer au début afin de tricoter plusieurs fois le patron de bas en haut. Est-ce que vous pourriez m’expliquer comment faire? Merci beaucoup

12.11.2022 - 20:11:

Eva Ulrika Albinsson wrote:

Stickar tröjan Fjord mosaik 216-28. Har stickat mönsterapporten en gång på oket, alltså 16 varv. Hur fortsätter jag med mönstret, ska jag själv lista ut hur diagrammet ska vara eller vad har jag missat? Mvh Eva Albinsson

11.11.2022 - 12:10:

DROPS Design answered:

Hei Eva. Fortsett å strikke / øke til raglan som tidligere, de nye maskene strikkes fortløpende inn i A.1 og A.2. Når du har strikket A.1 1 gang i høyden har du 64 flere masker enn hva du hadde når du startet på bærestykket og du strikker nå A.2B flere ganger enn hva det ble i begynnelsen. mvh DROPS Design

14.11.2022 - 07:59:

Yvonne wrote:

I am knitting drops pattern AUGUST IN BLUE 46-7.. The first line of pattern after the rib-. States M1 X 3, M2. -Does this mean make 5 stitches??

10.11.2022 - 23:33:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Yvonne, this means you have to repeat the 24 stitches of M.1 a total of 3 times (work M.1 over the next 72 sts), then work the 4 sts of M.2 so that the pattern will start and end the same. Happy knitting!

11.11.2022 - 09:22:

Kathy Bauman wrote:

Please would you explain the lace section on the sleeves. I have completed one section of A.1, A.2 and A.3., 1 time. What I don't understand is ... instructions state "you work 2 more repeats of A.2 between A.1 and A.3", that is 14+14=28 stitches. There are stitches between A1 - A.3. What do I with the remaining 19 stitches? Your help would br greatly appreciated.

08.11.2022 - 01:11:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Mrs Bauman, could you please ask your question under the pattern you are working on or tell us which pattern number you are working, so that we can check together and help you further. Thanks for your comprehension.

08.11.2022 - 09:30:

Georgia wrote:

Ich stricke das Modell 218/3. Ab Armausschnitt wird nicht mehr in Runden gestrickt. Wie wird bei den verschiedenen Mustern die Rückreihe gestrickt? Von links nach rechts und muss ich statt linke Maschen rechte stricken und umgekehrt? Ist Reihe 1 die Hinreihe und Reihe 2 die Rückreihe? Wäre sehr kompliziert.

04.11.2022 - 23:17:

DROPS Design answered:

Liebe Georgia, beachten Sie bei der Verteilung, daß die Zöpfe immer bei einer Hinreihe gestrickt werden - so daß ungerade Reihe Hinreihe und gerade Reihe (im Diagram) Rückreihe sind - dann wie unter Diagram Text stricken (Zöpfe werden glatt rechts gestrickt = rechts bei Hinreihen und links bei Rückreihen). Viel Spaß beim stricken!

07.11.2022 - 10:31:

Anne wrote:

Jeg er gået i gang med Merry Tree sweater og arbejder med diagram for første gang. I diagrammet øges antallet af masker. Betyder det, at jeg skal lave udtagninger undervejs eller hvordan skal jeg forstå det?

02.11.2022 - 09:01:

DROPS Design answered:

Hej Anne, skriv dit spørgsmål ind i selve opskriften, så bliver det lettere for os at svare og flere vil få glæde af det :)

02.11.2022 - 15:02:

Christiane wrote:

Dans un diagramme, le premier point est toujours indiqué comme m.droite. on le considère part du diagramme ou maille de bord du travail?

31.10.2022 - 11:16:

DROPS Design answered:

Bonjour Christiane, les diagrammes se lisent en général toujours de bas en haut, en commençant sur l'endroit on lit de droite à gauche et sur l'envers de gauche à droite, les explications précisent en général si le 1er rang sera sur l'endroit ou sur l'envers (moins fréquent), en cas de doute, n'hésitez pas à poser votre question dans la rubrique du modèle concerné, nous vérifierons ensemble. Bon tricot!

31.10.2022 - 16:34:

Else Lissau wrote:

Jeg har strikket i mange år, og har strikket meget forskelligt. Men her må jeg give op. Mere forkvaklet opskrift har jeg aldrig set. Jeg ser at jeg ikke er alene, det trøster mig.

29.10.2022 - 22:37:

Marcella Mutsulavish wrote:

I don’t understand the third diagram explanation for the frosted leaf pattern. Yarn over between two stitches.

29.10.2022 - 20:22:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Mrs Mutsulavish, work the stitch before and the stitch after as shown in diagram - and just work the yarn over as you see it; for ex; A.1 will start with: yarn over, knit 1, yarn over, knit 3, etc.. happy knitting!

31.10.2022 - 09:58:

Patty Walk wrote:

In the pattern it has me purl two then do a yo and slip 1 stitch as if to knit, Do I return the yarn to the back after I do the two purls to start the yo or do I do it from the front after the two purl stitches? Thank you!

29.10.2022 - 17:18:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Patty, the yo is worked differently depending on whether its purpose is to increase stitches or form holes. Please indicate which pattern you are working on so that we may give you specific help. Happy knitting!

30.10.2022 - 20:09:

AVICE Chantal wrote:

Bonjour dans le modèle little missy en 12/18 mois sur le diagramme les augmentations sont soit en début de diagramme soit en fin. il faut que je fasse environ 11X le dessin, si j'augmente en milieu il va y avoir un décalage dans le motif non ?

28.10.2022 - 18:15:

DROPS Design answered:

Bonjour Mme Avice, augmentez comme le montre le diagramme: soit au début, soit à la fin de chaque diagramme, ainsi, chaque motif sera bien aligné comme dans le diagramme - n'augmentez qu'en suivant les jetés du diagramme, pas au milieu des motifs. Bon tricot!

31.10.2022 - 10:07:

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