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 colour (in multicoloured 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 (434)

Ducouet Annie wrote:

Bonsoir Je commence à tricoter le modèle 165-4. Pour la partie A1-A2-A3. Je tricote A1, je répète A2 puis A3. Après la maille centrale je répète cette section ou je fais en sens inverse soit A3, je répète A2 et A1. A l’avant dernier rang de A3 il y a 2 jetés donc si je commence par A1 il me manque 1 jeté Merci pour votre réponse Cordialement

02.02.2023 - 18:53:

Anna Taylor wrote:

I am knitting Bronz summer sweater. I’m a little unsure with pattern A1. In row 3 it is shown that you are supposed to put one stitch on a cable needle like you have two stiches. If I understand correctly I’m supposed to increase in row three so I only have one knitted stich + the one I increased. I sure hope you get what I’m trying to say 😂

01.02.2023 - 16:27:

Martine DUPUY wrote:

Bonjour Je tricote le modèle 226-62. Sur les diagrammes A3 et A2, faut-il considérer chaque ligne "1= aller - 2= retour" (donc 1ère torsade A3 au 5ème rang) ? et ces 32 rangs sont-ils à répéter ? Merci de votre réponse et bravo pour vos modèles très originaux. Martine

29.01.2023 - 19:20:

DROPS Design answered:

Bonjour Mme Dupuy, 1 case dans le diagramme = 1 maille x 1 rang, autrement dit, la 1ère torsade de A.3 va se faire au 5ème rang (on tricote tous les rangs impairs sur l'endroit et tous les rangs pairs sur l'envers). Bon tricot!

30.01.2023 - 10:18:

Bente Borg wrote:

Hej. Jeg strikker model 226-46. Hvorfor har diagram A1 og A3 ikke anvisning i de yderste 4 masker i hver side på omgang 5-6/17-18? Venlig hilsen Bente Borg

29.01.2023 - 12:00:

DROPS Design answered:

Hei Bente. Tenker du på de 3 ytterste maskene i hver side? I f.eks str. xl-xxl-xxxl og A.1 strikker du over 26 masker, du følger hele diagrammet på de 4 første omgangene / radene, men når du skal strikke 5. omgang/rad må du strikke 1. rad (igjen) over de 3 første maskene, deretter 5. rad over de neste 20 masker, og så 1.rad på de 3 siste maskene. I diagrammet så skjer det mer i de 3 ytterste maskene enn de 20 midterste maskene. mvh DROPS Design

30.01.2023 - 08:39:

GIAMBIAGGI Josette wrote:

Je ne comprends pas les diagrammes de ce modèle 156-31- : Pourquoi parle-t-on d'endroit et d'envers ? En aiguille circulaire on travaille sur l'endroit non ? Que veut dire envers ? Pouvez-vous m'écrire le début des deux premiers rangs. Merci beaucoup

25.01.2023 - 17:30:

DROPS Design answered:

Bonjour Mme Giambiaggi, on peut tricoter sur aiguille circulaire soit en rangs, soit en rond, au choix et/ou suivant le modèle. Dans le cas présent, vous tricotez le poncho de haut en bas, d'abord en rond, puis on va diviser l'ouvrage en 2 pour les fentes côtés, et terminer le bas du devant et le bas du dos séparément, en allers et retours. Sur l'endroit, lisez les diagrammes de droite à gauche tous les tours - ainsi, vous allez tricoter (A.1): Tour 1: *2 m env, 1 jeté, glissez 1 m à l'env*, répétez de *-*; Tour 2: *2 m env, tricotez ens à l'end le jeté et la m glissée*, répétez de **-. Bon tricot!

26.01.2023 - 10:26:

Vivienne MacLeod wrote:

I'm attempting to knit the Winter Escapes jumper, but I'm totally confused by the pattern. Where there's an increase stitch symbol, do I increase this stitch every, say 5 stitches, or only once during the pattern repeat of 18 stitches. This is the most confusing knitting pattern I've ever attempted.

25.01.2023 - 09:27:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Mrs MacLeod, I'm sorry I'm not sure which pattern you are working on, can you please tell us which number has this pattern? So that we could check and explain you. Thanks for your comprehension.

25.01.2023 - 12:31:

Mary wrote:

Hi, This is always related to DROPS 232-45. I am sorry but I am still unclear. Once I work A1 starting from the arrow, I should then carry on working upward. But if I do so, when will I work the two first lines that are below the arrow? Am I supposed to work them or not?

24.01.2023 - 12:51:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Mary, the first 2 rows before the one with the arrow will not be worked, they just show how the lace pattern will be set up over the rib from previous rounds. On first row in A.1 work: *YO, K1, P2 together, K1*, and repeat from *-* all the round. Then work next round: *K2, P1, K1*; repeat from *-*. On next round work: *K1, YO, slip 1, K2 tog, psso, YO* repeta from *-* all the round. On the last row, knit all stitches. Happy knitting!

24.01.2023 - 16:59:

Mary wrote:

My question was about diagram A1 for DROPS 232-45. Many thanks in advance!

23.01.2023 - 22:58:

Mary wrote:

Hello! I am having issues with understanding a diagram: the diagram is composed of 6 rounds but, according to the instructions, I have to start from the round with the arrow (which is the third one). After that, I assume I have to move vertically like in all diagrams but what about the two remaning rounds that were below the one with the arrow? Should I work them at the end?

23.01.2023 - 22:53:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Mary, when working diagram A.1 start with the row with an arrow then work bottom up, until all rows in diagram have been worked in height. At the same time, A.1 should be repeated in width over all stitches on the round. Happy knitting!

24.01.2023 - 12:22:

Yvonne wrote:

Omslagdoek 168-5 er staat A1 over 1 steek. Wat betekent dit. Begint bij: 2 kantsteken en dan A1 over 1 steek. Wie kan mij verder helpen.

22.01.2023 - 11:29:

DROPS Design answered:

Dag Yvonne,

Dit betekent dat je over die ene steek A.1 breit. A.1 is een van de telpatronen welke je onderaan de beschrijving vindt. Je leest het telpatroon van onder naar boven, dus A.1 begint met 1 steek.

31.01.2023 - 21:49:

Eva Pettersson wrote:

Ska det verkligen vara 137 maskor på varvet??//Eva

21.01.2023 - 15:48:

DROPS Design answered:

Hei Eva. Se vårt svar på ditt forrige "Spørsmål-innlegg". mvh DROPS Design

23.01.2023 - 08:06:

Eva Pettersson wrote:

Jag ger upp!!stämmer ite,Vad menas med \"sticka a5...över A2......// Eva

21.01.2023 - 15:29:

Eva Pettersson wrote:

Hej igen om någon har läst om mitt stickproblem.Efter tankar och funderingar och frustration !! under fredags kvällen och lördagsförmiddagen ,har jag löst det ,med hjälp av förklaring ovan. GLAD!med spänning ger jag mig på nästa varv.//Hälsning Eva

21.01.2023 - 11:08:

Eva Pettersson wrote:

Hej,försöker sticka Modell ne-311,börjar med ok: förstår sticka A.5(24maskor)MEN vad menas det med ,överA.2?A5 inehåller 24 maskor men det blir bara 20 maskor för att man stickar 3 och drar över den första maskan av de 3, då blir det 2 maskor kvar./rapport.så jag har då bara 120 masker på varvet, istället för137 masker.Storlek XXL.Tacksam för hjälp.Vänligen Eva Pettersson (Förstår bara svenska)

20.01.2023 - 21:48:

DROPS Design answered:

Hei Eva. A.2 = 24 masker på siste rad av diagrammet og A.5 viser 24 masker, slik at når du strikker A.5 over A.2 stemmer maskeantallet (det strikkes 24 masker over 24 masker). Selv om det på 1. rad av A.5 minsker med 4 masker hver gang A.5 strikkes, økes det med 4 masker (hver gang A.5 strikkes) på neste rad. mvh DROPS Design

23.01.2023 - 08:01:

Rieky wrote:

Hallo, , ik heb een vraag over het patroon: DROPS 118-14 DROPS design: Model nr. R-560. Ik heb de eerste 14 naalden van het patroon M.1 gebreid. Hoe ga ik nu verder. Ik begrijp niet waar ik de steken laat die niet aangegeven zijn. Hoor het graag. Rieky

17.01.2023 - 19:57:

DROPS Design answered:

Dag Riek,

Je kunt gewoon de steken volgen, dus je breit op de 15e naald op een gegeven moment 4 maal achter elkaar 2 recht samen.

31.01.2023 - 21:54:

Ingrid wrote:

Ik wil patroon 94-14 breien. Hoe moet ik breipatroon M.1A lezen? Hoeveel averechte steken zitten tussen de omslagen?

10.01.2023 - 19:30:

DROPS Design answered:

Dag Ingrid,

Je breit steeds 6 averechte steken; de omslagen zitten aan beide zijden van deze 6 steken.

31.01.2023 - 21:58:

Marci wrote:

Hi. I’m starting knitted poncho pattern I-145 Inayah. Do I cast on 71 stitches (size S) and work 4 rows of A.2, then at the end of row 5, cast on 5 more stitches to pick up A.1? Thanks in advance for your help!

07.01.2023 - 18:56:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Marci, in size S cast on 71 sts and work these 71 sts as follows: 5 sts A.1, then work the 3 sts A.2A, repeat the 10 sts A.2B over the next 50 sts (this means repeat A.2B 5 times in width) then work the 8 sts A.2C and finish with the 5 sts A.1. Work first row each diagram on this row. Then turn, and work 2nd row all diagrams, turn and work 3rd row all diagrams etc... Happy knitting!

09.01.2023 - 17:16:

Vera Montgomery wrote:

Hej hag stickar mönster 224-1 och förstår inte hur jag ska få till raglan. Jag ökar som det står i beskrivningen men tappar bort mig när jag ska över till diagram A2. Det stämmer inte med antalet maskor. Har ni någon enklare förklaring, Tacksam för hjälp.

06.01.2023 - 23:46:

DROPS Design answered:

Hej Vera, skriv dit spørgsmål ind i selve opskriften. Skriv hvilken størrelse og hvor du er, så prøver vi at hjælpe dig videre :)

12.01.2023 - 15:46:

Cynthia BC Green wrote:

I am making Celtic Dancer slippers. Chart A2 says slip 2 sts on cable needle in front of piece, P/K 1, K 2 from cable needle. All stitches are RS in the round. When should I purl and when should I knit the single stitch? I have never seen this P/K before. Thanks.

06.01.2023 - 22:27:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Cynthia, it will depend on the moss stitch pattern. To adjust the moss stitch pattern in the center of the cable you will need to work a k1 or p1. It depends on the stitch of the previous row: you will work knit over purl and purl over knit. Happy knitting!

07.01.2023 - 19:29:

Linda Rodier wrote:

Chale 165-4 graphique A3 rg 9 y’a deux jete et le A1 rg 9 une jete est une erreur merci

05.01.2023 - 00:25:

DROPS Design answered:

Bonjour Mme Rodier, au 9ème rang de A.3 on doit bien augmenter 2 mailles - on doit donc faire 2 jetés, le diagramme est juste ainsi. Bon tricot!

05.01.2023 - 11:27:

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