How to Read a Knitting Diagram

How to Read a Knitting Diagram

How to Read a Knitting Diagram


– Step 1: Reading a Knitting Diagram

– Step 2: Sample Knitting Diagram

– Step 3: Things to remember when reading a knitting diagram

When a knitting pattern has simple stitches, such as moss stitch or stockinette, only written explanations are used because these stitches are easy to reproduce. However, when the pattern has fancy or openwork stitches, a diagram is used in addition to the written explanations because it is easier to read than the written explanations. The knitting diagram can represent a pattern to be repeated throughout the garment to be knitted. It is of great use because it allows you to find your way around better and helps you memorize the stitch more easily. Here are clear explanations of how to read a knitting diagram.

1. Reading a knitting diagram

The knitting diagram is a grid with a number of boxes depending on the pattern to be knitted and the stitch used. In this grid, a pattern to be reproduced in knitting is drawn. A box represents a stitch, and a row of horizontal boxes corresponds to a row. This grid is used to explain a knitting pattern clearly. The knitting pattern is composed of different fancy stitches, which are always defined in a legend next to the diagram. It is necessary to remember that the diagram always represents the place of the work.

How to read the diagram

The diagram reading starts at the first box at the bottom right of the grid, where the number 1 is always located. To facilitate the reading, think that the first mesh of the diagram corresponds to the first mesh of your work. Reading the diagram can be done in several ways depending on the knitting method used: 

– For flat knitting, you read the odd rows, rows 1, 3, 5, 7, etc., from right to left. Then read the even rows from left to right, rows 2, 4, 6, 8, etc.

– When knitting in the round, you always read in the same direction, from right to left, because there is no purl row. 

The purl rows are only sometimes numbered when the purl row is knitted on the wrong side. In this case, the diagram only shows the number of odd rows to be repeated in the knitting on the right side of the work. The legend then indicates that the even rows on the wrong side of the work should be knit purl or as the stitches appear. This means the right side up if it is a right side stitch or purl if it is a purl stitch.

2. Example of a knitting diagram

To understand how to read a knitting diagram, start by practicing by knitting a square and reproducing a pattern on a diagram. This is an effective way to get the hang of it and to read future knitting diagrams successfully. Here is an example of a knitting diagram reproducing the furrow stitch.

To knit in a groove stitch


1. Choose a number of stitches for symmetry: multiple of 3 + 1 + 1 selvedge stitch at each end. For example, take 18 stitches (3 x 5) + 1 to get the symmetry of the stitch and add 1 selvedge stitch on each side. 

2. 1st row (working area): 1 st selvedge, * 2 sts end, 1 st approx. *repeat from * to * and end with 1 st end, 1 st selvedge.

3. 2nd row (reverse side of work): 1 st. selvedge, 1 st. approx., *2 st. end, 1 st. approx. *repeat from * to * and finish with 1 st. selvedge.

4. Always repeat these 2 rows.

3. To remember when reading a knitting diagram


Some information is important to learn how to read a knitting diagram correctly. It is important to avoid making a mistake in the direction and to pay attention to the stitches to be reproduced according to the right side or the wrong side of the work. Here are the main points to remember:

– Selvedge stitches can be knit right side up or slipped right side up or the wrong side up. The pattern may or may not specify this.

◦ Be sure not to forget the selvedge stitches, as they are not always given in the knitting explanations

◦ Selvedge stitches are at the beginning and end of each row only.

– A knitting diagram always represents the knitting pattern on the right side of the work.

◦ A purl stitch on the diagram knits the right side up on the right side of the work but purl on the wrong side. 

◦ A purl stitch on the diagram knits purl to purl on the work’s right side but the right side to purl on the work’s wrong side.

– In the knitting diagram, there is always a pattern to repeat. It often appears with arrows or in a boxed area.

– The numbers on the side of the diagram correspond to the number of rows.

– The numbers below the diagram are the number of stitches to knit the pattern. 

– The framed part corresponds to the stitches and rows to be repeated to knit the pattern in the knitting diagram.

– The legend lists the stitches for each stitch in the knitting diagram and explains how to knit them.

– To understand the knitting diagram, reread it using the fancy stitch detailed in the knitting explanations, which makes it easier to read.

Read more: