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 (115)

Margaret Scerri 21.10.2020 - 02:32:

Hi I am trying to knit Baby10-7 but im finding it difficult to follow the pattern can you please help me as im getting co nfused in the beginning. thank you

DROPS Design 21.10.2020 - 09:11:

Dear Mrs Scerri, you are welcome to ask your question on the pattern you are working, just try to give more details (size worked, the part you don't understand, etc...) thanks for your comprehension. Happy knitting!

Lilyane MOUNIEN POURTUGAU 15.10.2020 - 21:56:

Bonsoir, DROPS design Modéle n° r688 robe ajourée Je ne comprends pas comment on arrive a avoir le double du nombre de mailles du départ et ce sans faire des augmentations dans le diagramme. Je fais la taille L de 144 maille à la fin de A1 on doit en avoir 288. Comment fait on car je ne vois les augmentations dans le diagrammes. Merci de votre retour. Cordialement Lilyane

DROPS Design 16.10.2020 - 10:02:

Bonjour Lilyane, dans ce modèle, vous commencez avec 144 m et tricotez 16 fois les 9 mailles du diagramme A.1 en largeur. Quand A.1 est terminé, il y a 18 m dans chaque A.1, autrement dit 16 x 18= 288m. On va augmenter dans le diagramme avec des jetés qui seront soient tricotés dans le brin avant soit dans le brin arrière. Bon tricot!

Mrs Hills 14.10.2020 - 18:29:

I have purchased the wool for the pattern216-3 Frosted Leaves and find the pattern chart explanations the most difficult thing to understand ever, before starting out with the project I have watched the tutorials and explanation of the use of the charts but it is still not clear how to proceed do the patterns come in a line written pattern format . If not the wool is of no use

Emily 13.10.2020 - 19:54:

I am totally confused. I am ready to start the Falling Leaves pattern in medium. If I cast on 301 stitches the numbers don’t seem to work. 6 garter stitches followed by A1 (16 st) followed by A2 (16 st) will not get me to 256 stitches. Then the instructions say to follow A3 (17 st) followed by 6 garter stitches. There will be extra stitches remaining. What am I misunderstanding? I don’t want to buy the yarn until I know what I am doing. Many thanks for any help you can give me.

DROPS Design 14.10.2020 - 08:17:

Dear Emily work the 301 sts as follows: 6 sts in garter st, A.1 (= 16 sts), repeat A.2 (= 16 sts) a total of 16 times (= over the 16 x 16 = 256 sts), then work A.3 (= 17 sts) and 6 sts in garter st = 6+16+256+17+6=301 sts; hope this helps. Happy knitting!

Doris Terbeek 12.10.2020 - 22:39:

Pullover Drops 216-10: Sehe ich es richtig, dass das Diagramm A5 nicht auf der Hinreihe, wie bei A1 oder A3 gestopft wird?

DROPS Design 15.10.2020 - 09:37:

Liebe Frau Terbeek, Diagram A.5 wird sicher korrigiert, die 1. Reihe muss eine Hinreihe sein, damit die Zöpfe bei den Hinreihen gearbeitet wird - danke für den Hinweis. Viel Spaß beim stricken!

Stephanie 08.10.2020 - 16:30:

Liebes Dropsteam, was ist bei euren Strickanleitungen die erste Hinreihe? Die Maschenanschlagsreihe? Oder die erste "richtig" gestrickte Reihe nach dem Maschenanschlagen? Danke!

DROPS Design 09.10.2020 - 09:01:

Liebe Stephanie, die 1. Reihe im Diagram ist meistens die erste Hinreihe nach der Anschlagskante - aber im Zweifelsfall können Sie gerne Ihre Frage unter dem gestrickten Modellen stellen. Viel Spaß beim stricken!

M Bell 03.10.2020 - 02:49:

Knitting instructions please explain what a diagonal slash over two stitches with an oval on base of stitch different directions means

DROPS Design 05.10.2020 - 13:26:

Dar Mrs Bell, could you please ask your question in the "questions" section of the pattern you are working on? This would allow us to give you the accurate answer. Thanks for your comprehension.

Ginette Archambault 25.09.2020 - 04:37:

Hi, I am knitting cable mittens pattern no. 192-31 and am having problems understanding the diagrams A.2a. first there is a square that is all black and gives as explanation : this square has no stitch , go straight to the next symbol in the diagram. What do you do with these 2 stitches?, slip them to the next needle, or go ahead and purl these stitches as indicated in the next boxes? Then in the instructions it reads: when A2a has been worked 1 time in height what does this mean in height?

DROPS Design 25.09.2020 - 10:15:

Dear Mrs Archambault, A.2a is worked over 24 sts, ie the 2 black squares are not counted in this, work row 1: K1, P1, K2, YO, K1, P1, K1, P2, K2, YO, P2, K1, YO, K4, YO, K4, YO, K2 (= you increase 5 sts = there are now 29 sts). When A.2 has been worked 1 time in height means when you have worked the 2 rows of A.2. Happy knitting!

Jean Murray 24.09.2020 - 13:53:

I am tackling pattern 216-26 the first Drops pattern I have tried. I have completed the neck and put in marker threads, read the instructions for the yoke but cannot fathom what I am to do to work A1 in each transition between front/back pieces and sleeves marker thread. I thought perhaps it is an increase, but it tells me on the first round to increase to raglan. Can somebody explain this please?

DROPS Design 25.09.2020 - 10:11:

Dear Mrs Murray, it looks like we do not have any pattern called 216-26 online yet - it might be easier for us to help you if you could post your question directly under the question comment of the pattern you are working on. Thanks for your comprehension. Happy knitting!

Lisbeth 16.09.2020 - 22:47:

Hvor skal omgangen starte når jeg sætter alle masker fra ærmer og ryg- og forstykke på én pind? (bærestykke)

DROPS Design 18.09.2020 - 09:41:

Hej Lisbeth. Det står ofta i oppskriften, om det är en speciell oppskrift du undrar över så kan du ställa frågan direkt under oppskriften så svarar vi dig där. Mvh DROPS Design

Margie Rosa 14.09.2020 - 15:50:

For the diagram A6. is each line repeated 2 times across to equal the 80 stitches before moving to the next row of the diagram?

DROPS Design 15.09.2020 - 09:54:

Dear Margie Rosa, would you please be so kind and ask your question on the pattern you are working on? It would be much easier for us to check diagram and pattern before answering - thanks for your comprehension! Happy knitting!

Helene 08.09.2020 - 17:09:

Je ne comprend pas a1 a2 . Pouvez vous m\'envoyer etapes ecrites a suivre pour comprendre cette partie de patron.

DROPS Design 09.09.2020 - 09:30:

Bonjour Hélène, pouvez-vous poser votre question dans la rubrique du modèle que vous réalisez? Ce sera ainsi plus simple pour nous de pouvoir vous aider, merci pour votre compréhension. Bon tricot!

Karen Davis 05.09.2020 - 13:15:

I'm knitting green bird beanie. My first time diagram knitting. I'm up to A3. I'm not sure of the first few rows. Can you please help. Diagram shows 6 stitches for first few rows. Is that correct?

DROPS Design 07.09.2020 - 10:21:

Dear Mrs Davis, read diagrams bottom up, this means A.3 is worked over 16 sts in the round over the first 10 rounds (size 2/4) or first 8 rounds (size 5/9). Happy knitting!

Ulla Eklund 03.09.2020 - 08:31:

Stickar mönster River Challenge i stl L. På mönsterdiagrammet och i beskrivningen står att jag ska göra ökningar. Vid varv 3 (diagrammet) uppstår mitt problem, hur ska jag fördela ökningarna så att de passar in i mönstret. Mönstrets olika figurer kommer ju att förskjutas om jag inte gör ökningarna korrekt. På bilderna av tröjan ser det ut som om de olika mönsterdelarna passar perfekt med uddar mot uddar och prickar mitt emellan. Tacksam för hjälp. Ulla

DROPS Design 07.09.2020 - 06:33:

Hei Ulla. Ved pil 3 øker du jevnt fordelt slik det står i oppskriften. På bildet ser man at den første mønsterborden ikke kommer likt over hver «topp» på neste mønsterbord, selv om det ser slik du i diagrammet. Det økes ikke mellom andre og fjerde mønsterbord, og da stemmer mønsterbordene med hverandre, både på bilde og i diagrammene. God Fornøyelse!

Brugere 23.08.2020 - 18:30:

Bonjour, j ai problème avec le modèle 154-28 comment faire le croisement torsade quand je suis sur l envers du travail ( c est le premier rang du diagramme ) . Je ne comprends vraiment pas . Merci pour votre aide cordialement

DROPS Design 24.08.2020 - 09:39:

Bonjour Mme Brugere, ajustez la hauteur indiquée pour que le 1er rang de A.1 se tricote sur l'endroit quand vous continuez A.1 en allers et retours pour le talon. Autrement dit, tricotez 1 rang en plus ou 1 rang en moins avant de mettre les mailles du dessus du pied en attente - le 2ème rang se tricotera ainsi sur l'envers (= 1 m end, 1 m env, 1 jeté, 1 m env, 1 m end). Bon tricot!

Sue Foster 20.08.2020 - 01:34:

I am doing 201-24 A-1, I have cast on the 36 stitches as stated. When I follow the chart there is only instructions for the first 18 stitches what do I do about the remaining 18 stitches? Do I just knit them? Can I purchase the written out chart?

DROPS Design 20.08.2020 - 10:28:

Dear Mrs Foster, each leave in this pattern is worked with short rows, ie on first row work 36 sts, turn and knit 16, YO, K2 tog, turn and knit 16 ,etc.. ie work only the stitches drawn in the chart. This video shows a similar pattern (without the eyelet) and could help you to understand how to work the A.1 to 201-24. Happy knitting!

Sandy Tobias 18.08.2020 - 02:05:

Hello. I love your patterns but do they come written row by row instead of diagram and paragraph instruction? I m knitting left handed and self taught these last few months. Or is there a video showing a whole baby jacket completed using your instructions. This would be helpful to learn this style of pattern. Thank you.

DROPS Design 18.08.2020 - 09:30:

Dear Mrs Tobias, we only have either written pattern or diagram - read thoroughly this lesson and feel free to ask any further questions in the questions sections of the pattern you want to work - and remember your DROPS store will provide you any further individual assistance. Happy knitting!

Vickey Pritchard 10.08.2020 - 19:08:

I am reviewing the stitches in the Midnight Cables by Drops there is one listed as no stitch sorry I don't know what this is can you clarify this for me. Or am I over thinking this and its exactly what it means. It's in the grid patterns throughout the whole pattern.

DROPS Design 11.08.2020 - 09:01:

Dear Mrs Pritchard, all symbols used in diagrams look to be listed, which one are you thinking about? Can you tell us which diagram, which row/stitch you are talking about so that we can help you. Thank you!

Christel 03.08.2020 - 08:58:

Könnten Sie mir bitte die Abnahme in der Passe erklären. Wenn ich in jeder linken Partie eine Masche abnehme und das sieben mal wiederhole, komme ich nicht auf die angegebenen Rest-Maschenzahl. Wie muss ich genau in der Passe abnehmen. Stricke das Muster Little Chstnut in der Größe 6/9 Mon. Vielen Dank für Ihre Hilfe.

DROPS Design 03.08.2020 - 09:10:

Liebe Christel, Sie haben 10 Li-Partien = Sie nehmen 10 Maschen pro Abnahmenrunde x 7 ab = Total 70 Abnahmen . Gleichzeigit werden Sie nach 1 cm M.2 stricken = 4 Maschen werden in jedem Diagram abgenommen = 4 Abnahmen x 11= 44 M. So haben Sie: 256-70-44= 142 M bleiben. Viel Spaß beim stricken!

Geneviève 30.07.2020 - 19:55:

J'ai un problème avec les augmentations- je fais le pull Little Missy- DROPS Children 32-7. Le diagramme est le suivant: (sur 7 m.) début du trav. 1 m, 1 aug., 6m, 1 aug. Dois-je reprendre à 1 m, 1 aug. comme au debut, OU continuer avec juste 6 m, 1 aug jusqu\'à la fin du tricot ? Il serait utile de savoir le nombre de mailles pour chaque rangs tricotés. Merci.

DROPS Design 31.07.2020 - 08:18:

Bonjour Geneviève, dans modèle, vous devez répéter le diagramme A.1 en largeur tout le tour, autrement dit, en taille 3/4-5/6 ans vous le répétez 11-12 fois. Mettez un marqueur entre chaque diagramme, cela vous aidera à bien visualiser et à bien répéter chaque diagramme de la même façon à chaque tour (= au 1er tour, vous répétez *1 m end, 1 jeté, 6 m end, 1 jeté*, et vous répétez de *à* tout le tour). Quand A.1 est terminé, vous aurez ainsi 19 m dans chaque diagramme x 11-12 fois = 209-228 m. Bon tricot!

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