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 (552)

Solbritt Hafren wrote:

Hej . Jag stickar Drops mönster 241-17. Min fråga gäller mönster A3. Omslagen- är det en egenn maska eller räknas den in i dom andra maskorna. Får inte mönstret att stämma på A3. Omslagen och "hålen" blir inte där dom ska vara . Ser snett ut. Hålen hamnar fel. Va gör jag för fel?

04.12.2023 - 17:22:

Françoise Obissier wrote:

Malgré mes efforts je ne parviens pas à comprendre les explications de l'empiècement pour le modèle Lucky Wish (224-21). Que veut dire :Tricoter un tour endroit en augm. 0-0-0-4-8-0 mailles à intervalles réguliers ?

04.12.2023 - 16:10:

DROPS Design answered:

Bonjour Mme Obissier, en fonction de la taille, vous allez tricoter ce tour endroit en augmentant 4 mailles en taille XL ou bien 8 mailles en taille XXL, mais dans les autres tailles, vous n'avez pas besoin d'augmenter. Bon tricot!

04.12.2023 - 16:18:

Jan Arneberg wrote:

I am knitting the Sky Feather sweater. My question refers to the charts On A 1 after row 4 the two or three stitches on each edge are not shown in the graph. Where are they?

03.12.2023 - 18:51:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Jan, the stitches on the edges are repeated every 4 rows. That is, when working row 5 of the central stitches, you work row 1 of the edge stitches. Happy knitting!

03.12.2023 - 23:44:

Noreen wrote:

Hallo, Mijn fair isle telpatroon is niet deelbaar, waardoor ik 3 steken overhoud. Het is me niet helemaal duidelijk wat u bedoelt met 'eerste 4 steken in het telpatroon over de overgebleven steken '. Brei ik die steken dan samen? Heeft u misschien een uitleg op video? Bedankt en groetjes, Noreen

03.12.2023 - 09:05:

Vercoutere wrote:

Pas compris les diagrammes pour pull sailor drops blue jacket. Merci pour votre réponse

02.12.2023 - 20:27:

Nicola wrote:

Ich brauche Hilfe mit dem Diagram, bin erst bei A1 und komme schon nicht weiter "Spill the beans" ist das Muster. Ich durfte hier keinen link einfuegen. Es gibt keine gute Anleitung wie man die Symbole verstehen soll. Vielen Dank fuer die Hilfe.

29.11.2023 - 18:38:

Regine Dhaene wrote:

Ik brei de kindertrui North Star. Ik heb een probleem met het patroon, op de plaats waar ik een nieuwe ronde begin volgt het patroon niet en heb ik de steek die verspringt. Heel storend! Nergens vind ik uitleg hoe ik dit kan oplossen ;( Een video Fair Isle breien in het rond staat niet op de site en ook nergens uitleg ook niet bij de andere scandinavische breipatronen. Graag hulp aub, ik denk dat nog klanten met dit probleem zitten? Mvg,

29.11.2023 - 08:31:

Lynette wrote:

Thank you so much for both replies how to knit Drops 219-8. I finally understand how to work all the charts and what it means to work over the first set.. I’m finally making progress. Thank you again for taking the time to answer my questions.

27.11.2023 - 23:48:

Drops 43-5 wrote:

Hi, I'm knitting Sweet Gleam. In the charts above I don't see how to handle the increases. Do you repeat them or is this just to get the number of stitches for the pattern? Thank you, Tina

27.11.2023 - 16:49:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Tina, the increases are included in diagrams, as you repeat diagrams in the round, you will repeat the increases in the round, for ex when you work (A.1, A.2) all the round you will increase 1 st in each A.1 and 1 stitch in each A.2 all the round. Happy knitting!

28.11.2023 - 09:13:

Brigitte Asp wrote:

Hej! Jag stickar precis pulsvärmare 173-21.\r\nA11 visar 6 rader, men efter rad 4 fattas beskrivningen vad man skall göra med dom ytterste 5 maskor på båda sidorna. Hur skall jag göra?\r\nTack för hjälpen\r\nBrigitte

26.11.2023 - 20:31:

Lynette wrote:

Hello, I’m knitting Drops 219-8. I don’t quite understand “work A2b and A3b over A2a and A3a”? (adjust to make the cable on the same round as A1)?

25.11.2023 - 21:09:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Lynette, it means that you work the stitches of A.2b over the stitches worked according to chart A.2a and A.3b over the stitches in A.3a. Since all of the charts' rounds are the same, except for the one with the cable, you need to work the round with the cable in the same round as you work the cable in A.1; the rest of the rounds of A.2b and A.3b are worked as repeats of p2, k6, p2. Happy knitting!

26.11.2023 - 17:37:

Barbara wrote:

I'm knitting Sweet Erika. When there is a 0 on the line of the pattern within the box it means to do a YO, that I understand. But, in the box, which ever pattern box we are using at the time, do we knit a stitch, yo then knit the next stitch making three stitches out of two or do we make the last stockinette stitch and use that as a springboard for the yo from the there, making 1 pattern stitch into two? Thank you for your help. Barbara :)

25.11.2023 - 17:26:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Barbara, when there is a 0 between 2 boxes/stitches, you k1 (first box), make 1 yarn over and k1 (second box). In the next round, there should be 1 more stitch for every yarn over (0) worked, unless you also worked decreases in the same round (which removes 1 stitch from the next round). Happy knitting!

26.11.2023 - 17:47:

Elisabeth wrote:

I am knitting Drops Gleam Jumper. I do not understand the A1 A2 charts. Does it mean every other stitch in row 1 and then every stitch in rows 2-5? I'm not good with pictures so I'm sorry if this is a daft question but I really don't get it. And is A1 and A2 five rows?

24.11.2023 - 23:17:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Elisabeth, in A.1 in row 1 work k1, yarn over, k1 and then work in stocking stitch the next 4 rows (purl from the wrong side and knit from the right side). In A.2, the first row is worked as in A.1 but the next 4 rows are worked in reverse stocking stitch (knit from the wrong side and purl from the right side). There are a total of five rows in both charts. When you are working the piece, since you are alternating between A.1 and A.2, you should have something similar to a rib; on the 2nd row, for example, you have *purl 3 (A.1) and knit 3 (A.2)* and repeat this rib. Continue until you have worked all 5 rows of charts A.1 and A.2. Happy knitting!

26.11.2023 - 17:59:

Barbara Dietricg wrote:

I have the back on Bluebird Drops Design 134.1 done and am knitting the front. I don’t understand when I get toward the top, and the graph is split. How do I read this? DoI do M.3 and M.3C with 2 dierrerent balls of yarn, skipping the no graph areas?

19.11.2023 - 01:09:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Mrs Dietricg, that's because you are decreasing on some rows, then on next row you have fewer stitches, to be able to draw the diagram, there are empty spaces (for decreased stitches), so just continue working in line, skipping the spaces that are just matching the stitches you previously decreased. Happy knitting!

20.11.2023 - 11:45:

Viviane Azou wrote:

Hoe lees je een telpatroon bij eentrui die van boven naar beneden wordt gebreid? De oneven cijfers staan rechts en de even staan links

17.11.2023 - 20:35:

Ramona wrote:

Hallo, ich verstehe das Diagramm zu Pullover DROPS Children 32-10 nicht. Wenn ich Größe 80/86 stricken möchte, nehme ich Diagramm A1 mit 6 Maschen. Also A1 6. Ist das korrekt? Aber was bedeuten die Zahlen 12/18-2 darunter? Danke für eine Erklärung. Ramona

17.11.2023 - 12:21:

Katelyn Foster wrote:

I am making Winter Berry Cardigan. I don’t understand why the pattern keeps saying A1 in the first row of the yoke. Am I following a1 or am I following the number of stitches in the pattern?

16.11.2023 - 14:49:

DROPS Design answered:

Dear Mrs Foster, follow the description of the pattern, A.1 will be worked a total of 4 times in the row for each raglan. So just follow the description of the row from RS at the beg of yoke, working stocking stitch (see the number of sts for your size), A.1 at each raglan (a total of 4 times) and 1 stitch in garter stitch on each side. Happy knitting!

17.11.2023 - 08:57:

Raja Paulussen wrote:

Model 244-10. Forest echo cardigan. Bij welke maat brei ik A 1, A2 of A3? Om voor maat S aan 238 steken te komen na A1? Daarna moet ik na patroon A4, A5 of A 6 269 steken hebben maar alleen in A5 en A6 wordt nog een steek per patroon gemeerderd en bij A4 niets meer. Ik heb bij patroon 244-9 gekeken en daar volgt na A1 A2. Maar bij het vest moet A1 A2 A3 A4 A5en A6 achter elkaar gebreid worden. Dat klopt niet, welk patroondelen horen voor welke maat bij elkaar? Dank voor Uw hulp.

14.11.2023 - 22:21:

DROPS Design answered:

Dag Raja,

A.1, A.2 en A.3 brei je in alle maten. In de breedte op de naald brei je eerst A.1, dan herhaal je steeds A.2 in de breedte en tot slot brei je A.3. Dan keer je het werk en brei je terug, waarbij je ook de steken terug leest. Dus op de teruggaande naald brei je eerst A.3, dan herhaal je steeds A.2 en tot slot A.3. Zo brei je steeds heen en weer totdat je deze patronen in de hoogte hebt gebreid. Als het goed is kom je dan (samen met de biessteken) op het juiste aantal steken.

26.11.2023 - 07:47:

Tana wrote:

Können Sie bitte die Diagramme A1 und A3 in der Anleitung 231-16 erklären ? Bis zu Runde 12 ist alles klar, danach sind die Felder entweder nach links oder nach rechts versetzt, damit komme ich nicht zurecht. Vielen Dank

13.11.2023 - 17:15:

DROPS Design answered:

Liebe Tana, setzen Sie Markierungen genau nach jedem Diagram, es wird sich einfach so gestrickt daß die letzte Masche von A.1 z.B. wird zusammen mit den 2 ersten Maschen von A.2/A.3 gestrickt. Deshalb sieht das Diagram etwas anders aus, but stricken Sie einfach weiter genauso wie beschrieben. Viel Spaß beim stricken!

14.11.2023 - 11:09:

Aillaud wrote:

Dans le modèle sheep happens, que veut dire la phrase : (le tour commence au milieu du dos)A.1 (=6-6-6-5-5-5mailles ) au-dessus des 12-12-12-10-10-10,premières mailles(=2 fois au total) ,A.2 (=12 mailles) A.1 au dessus des 42..... mailles suivantes(=7 -.....fois au total). Merci

05.11.2023 - 17:15:

DROPS Design answered:

Bonjour Mme Aillaud, le diagramme A.1 comporte 6 mailles, ainsi on va le tricoter 2 fois = au-dessus des 12 premières mailles, ou bien 7 fois = au-dessus des 42 mailles suivantes. Bon tricot!

06.11.2023 - 09:31:

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