Some of you have emailed me to tell me that you’d love to knit some of my sock patterns but are hesitant to try because my patterns are charted and you are not an experienced chart reader. Fear not! Once you have the general idea down, it’s pretty simple.
Here is the chart for my Waterfall Socks (full pattern available from the “Free Patterns” tab up at the top of the page):
You have both a chart and the key to the chart. The key gives you the definitions of the symbols I use.
To use a knitting chart, you read from right to left (instead of left to right as you would a book) — because you are knitting from right to left, the chart goes in that direction, too.
You read the chart from the bottom up (also the opposite of reading a book, which is of course from the top down) because that’s the direction your knitting is going.
Across the bottom of the chart, the stitches are numbered. This chart is 4 stitches across.
The rows are also numbered (up the right side of the chart). Note that this chart’s rows are numbered 1, 3, 5. Only odd-numbered rows are numbered, because on even-numbered rows, you just knit across. On the pattern, there is a note that points this out.
Okay, Row 1. The first 2 squares are blank, and looking at the key, you see that designates a knit stitch, so K 2. The next square has the “Knit 2 together” symbol in it, so that’s what you do. Then the 4th stitch has the “yarnover” symbol in it, so work a yarnover.
So in words, Row 1 is: K2, K2tog, YO. (4 stitches worked)
You are told in the pattern how many times across the round you work this chart. For example, for the Waterfall Socks in size small (which has 56 stitches around) you work as follows.
Over the instep stitches:
K1, (work chart over next 4 stitches, K3) 3 times, work chart over next 4 stitches, K2 (28 stitches total)
The pattern directions tell you to simply knit across the 28 sole stitches.
Then on Row 2, you knit all the way around your sock (because all even-numbered rows are knit across).
On to Row 3. The Row 3 chart is worked: K1, K2tog, YO, K1. You will once again plug these 4 stitches into the sequence described in Row 1. Then knit across the sole stitches.
Row 4 is knit plain all the way around.
The Row 5 chart is worked: K2tog, YO, K2 and you plug those 4 stitches into the sequence once again.
Row 6 is knit plain again.
So those are the 6 rows of your pattern. Once you have completed 6 rounds on your sock, you start over again with Row 1 and do another pattern repeat of 6 rows total. And so on, until you have reached the length required by the pattern.
That’s a pretty easy chart. Here’s one a bit more challenging:
This is the Sprucey Lucy pattern chart. (Sprucey Lucy is also available from my “Free Patterns” page.)
Note that every row is charted, not just the odd-numbered ones. This is because not all the even-numbered rows are plain knit — on Row 6 you have to increase a couple of stitches.
You once again start at the bottom right-hand corner and work across from right to left and from bottom to top.
This may be obvious, but I’ll point it out anyway: Because you work socks in the round, you are starting each row on the righthand side and working right to left, because you are always working the right side of the knitted fabric. If you were going to knit this pattern in a flat piece, you would work the even-numbered rows from left to right, because you need to work back to the beginning. The odd-numbered rows are the right side, and the even numbered rows would be the wrong side.
And if this chart were designed for flat knitting, I would likely explain in the key that the blank square symbol means knit on the right side and purl on the wrong side.
Speaking of symbols, note the filled-in black square that is identified as “No stitch.” I need this symbol because on Row 5 you do a double decrease, but there are no accompanying increases. The increases are done on the next row, Row 6.
Anyhow, this chart written out is:
Row 1: K3, YO, Sl1 K2 tog psso, YO, K3
Row 2: Knit across
Row 3: K2, K2 tog, YO, K1, YO, SSK, K2
Row 4: Knit across
Row 5: K1, K2 tog, YO, Sl1 K2 tog psso, YO, SSK, K1 (7 stitches)
Row 6: K2, K in the front and back of the YO from the row below, K1, K in the front and back of the YO from the row
below, K2 (9 stitches)
Row 7: (K2 tog, YO) twice, K1, (YO, SSK) twice
Row 8: Knit across
Because the chart is 9 stitches wide, you once again need to refer to the pattern, which tells you how to place the 9 chart stitches into a sock round, and how many times.
I hope this makes sense — it does in my head but that is not always an indication of clarity.
“When I act silly, Momma takes my picture!”