Knitting patterns are like treasure maps, guiding crafters through the twists and turns of creating beautiful garments and accessories. Yet, within these patterns lies a hidden language waiting to be deciphered. Just like a recipe guides you through a culinary experience, knitting patterns provide the roadmap for creating beautiful projects with just a few simple tools – knitting needles. This blog will empower you to navigate stitch patterns with ease.

Understanding the Basics:

It’s essential to grasp the fundamental terminology and symbols commonly used in knitting. Familiarize yourself with terms like knit, purl, yarn over, decrease, and increase. Additionally, learn about basic stitches such as garter stitch, stockinette stitch, and ribbing, as these form the building blocks of most patterns.

Decoding the Language:

Knitting patterns often resemble a foreign language to beginners, but with some guidance, you’ll soon become fluent. Let’s break down the key components of a typical knitting pattern:

Asterisks (*) and Double Asterisks (**): 

Asterisks are like signposts in a knitting pattern, signaling points of interest or repetition. When you encounter a single asterisk (*), it indicates the beginning or end of a repeated section within a row. For example, “K2, P1, K3, P1” signifies that you’ll repeat “K3, P1” multiple times within the row.

Double asterisks (**) may also appear, often denoting an important note or instruction from the designer. These double asterisks remind you to pay extra attention to the accompanying message, guiding you through any special techniques or considerations.

Brackets [ ]: 

Brackets act as containers, enclosing groups of stitches that form a repeat sequence. Inside the brackets, you’ll find the specific stitches to be repeated, along with a numerical multiplier indicating how many times the sequence should be worked. For instance, “[K2, YO, K2tog] 3 times” instructs you to knit two stitches, yarn over, knit two stitches together, and repeat this sequence thrice.

Parentheses ( ):

Parentheses in written language serve multiple purposes in knitting patterns. They may indicate optional instructions or variations, clarify stitch placement, or denote a series of actions within a single stitch. For example, “(knit, purl, knit in next stitch)” directs you to knit, purl, and knit again into the same stitch before moving on.

Understanding Abbreviations

When you start reading a knitting pattern, you’ll often come across abbreviations that may initially seem confusing. These abbreviations are used to save space and make the instructions easier to understand. Take time to familiarize yourself with common knitting abbreviations like K for knit, P for purl, St(s) for stitch(es), and DPN for double pointed needles. You can find a comprehensive list of these abbreviations in the pattern’s legend.

Checking Gauge and Size Information

Knitting patterns often provide gauge information, which refers to the number of stitches and rows per inch. This information ensures that your finished project will have the correct size and fit. Make sure to check the recommended gauge and adjust your knitting needles accordingly if necessary. Additionally, patterns may provide size information for different variations or sizes of the project. Taking note of these details will help you create a knitted piece that fits perfectly!

Written Instructions vs Charted Instructions

You may encounter two formats when reading knitting patterns: written instructions and knitting pattern charts. Each format has its advantages, and it’s up to you to choose the one that suits your knitting style and preferences. Let’s look at both formats and how to navigate them effectively.

Written Instructions

They provide a clear, concise, and detailed step-by-step account of creating the knitting project that guides you through the entire process. Each stitch and technique is described in words, making it easier for many knitters to follow along. It includes all the necessary information, such as which knitting needle is appropriate for what kind of item (for example, circular needles work best for knitting cowls, caps, blankets, or socks, use single pointed knitting needles). This format is particularly helpful for beginners or those who prefer a more descriptive approach.

Knitting Pattern Charts

Knitting pattern charts use symbols and visual representations of stitches to present the pattern. Each square on the chart represents a stitch or set of stitches. Knitters follow the chart from right to left for right-side rows and from left to right for wrong-side rows. While charts may seem intimidating initially, many experienced knitters find them more intuitive and easier to follow. Charts allow you to see the big picture of the pattern and quickly understand the stitch combinations.

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of this blog post on reading knitting patterns. We hope that you’ve found it helpful and informative and that it has given you the confidence to tackle any knitting pattern that comes your way.