KW Tips + Tricks / Working From Charts: Knit / purl patterning

Working from Charts

PART 1 OF 4: Knit/Purl Patterning


Originally put out in conjunction with the release of Little Things collection, this series breaks down working from charts into 4 separate parts: Knit/Purl patterning, Stranded Colorwork, Cables, and Lace

We highly recommend you try to familiarize yourself with how charts work. Charts are a great tool, and once you’ve swatched and are more familiar with the pattern, you may find that knitting from a chart is a walk in the park!

READING CHARTS: WORKING IN ROUNDS VERSUS WORKING FLAT

KW Tips + Tricks / Working From Charts: Knit / purl patterning
KW Tips + Tricks / Working From Charts: Knit / purl patterning

WORKING IN ROUNDS: For all charts, all rounds are charted and all rounds are RS. When working in the round, you will read all rounds from right to left. 

WORKING IN ROWS: When working in flat in rows, if both RS and WS rows are charted, you will read RS rows from right to left and WS rows from left to right. If WS rows are not charted, there will be separate written instructions telling you what to do on the WS rows. 
Note: Typically, RS rows are odd numbered rows, and WS rows are even numbered rows. This is not always the case, though, so it is important to pay attention to which rows are RS, and which are WS.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When looking at the chart, regardless of whether or not you are working flat or in rounds, the chart is a visual representation of what your knitting looks like from the RIGHT SIDE. 

READING CHART KEYS: 

There are only two symbols in Knit/Purl charts, the Knit and the Purl. These stitches represent slightly different things if you are working either in Rows or Rounds.

KW Tips + Tricks / Working From Charts: Knit / purl patterning
KW Tips + Tricks / Working From Charts: Knit / purl patterning

READING CHARTS:

KW Tips + Tricks / Working From Charts: Knit / purl patterning
KW Tips + Tricks / Working From Charts: Knit / purl patterning

READING A CHART IN ROWS: 
When working flat, you work all odd numbered (RS) rows from right to left and even numbered (WS) rows from left to right as follows:
Row 1 (RS): *P1, k1, p2, k2, p2, k1, p1, k1, p2, k2, p2, k1, p1; rep from * to end.
Row 2 (WS): *P3, k2, p2, k2, p1, k2, p2, k2, p3; rep from * to end.
Row 3 (RS): *P2, k2, p2, k2, p3, k2, p2, k2, p2; rep from * to end.
Row 4 (WS): *P1, k2, p2, k2, p5, k2, p2, k2, p1; rep from * to end.
Repeat Rows 1-4 for pattern.

READING A CHART IN ROUNDS: 
If the same chart is in the round, you would work all rounds from right to left as follows:
Round 1 (RS): *P1, k1, p2, k2, p2, k1, p1, k1, p2, k2, p2, k1, p1; rep from * to end.
Round 2 (RS): *K3, p2, k2, p2, k1, p2, k2, p2, k3; rep from * to end.
Round 3 (RS): *P2, k2, p2, k2, p3, k2, p2, k2, p2; rep from * to end.
Round 4 (RS): *K1, p2, k2, p2, k5, p2, k2, p2, k1; rep from * to end.
Repeat Rounds 1-4 for pattern.

As you can see, while Rows/Rounds 1 and 3 are the same regardless of whether or not you are working flat or in the round, the difference occurs in Rows/Rounds 2 and 4. As mentioned above (and worth repeating), regardless of whether or not you are working flat or in rounds, the chart is a visual representation of what your knitting looks like from the right side. As a result, when working in rows on the WS, a knit will appear as a purl on the RS, and a purl will appear as a knit on the RS. If you look closely at the written instructions for both charts, Round 2 of the chart worked in Rounds (the bottom chart), is the opposite of Row 2 of the chart worked in Rows (the top chart). This is why the key for the blank square is "K on RS, P on WS", because by purling on the WS, you create a stitch that appears as a knit on the RS.

WORKING CHART REPEATS:

While the charts above show a line of stitches in one full repeat (all the stitches represented are within the * and ; that identify the repeat), on some occasions - especially when working back and forth, or in the case of the Phlox Cowl and Glendora Blanket - there are charted stitches within a repeat, and charted stitches that are not.

Below is a Knit/Purl chart worked in Rows. There are a total of 15 stitches represented within the chart, 8 within the repeat and 7 outside of the repeat. 

KW Tips + Tricks / Working From Charts: Knit / purl patterning

Since the chart is in ROWS, odd numbered (RS) rows are worked from right to left and even numbered (WS) rows are worked from left to right as follows:

Row 1 (RS): P1, k1, p1, *k8; rep from * to 4 sts rem, k1, p1, k1, p1.
Row 2 (WS): K1, p1, k1, p1 *p3, k4, p1; rep from * to 3 sts rem, k1, p1, k1.
Row 3 (RS): P1, k1, p1, *k2, p4, k2; rep from * to 4 sts rem, k1, p1, k1, p1.
Row 4 (WS): K1, p1, k1, p1 *p1, k4, p3; rep from * to 3 sts rem, k1, p1, k1.
Row 5 (RS): P1, k1, p1, *k4, p4; rep from * to 4 sts rem, k1, p1, k1, p1.
Row 6 (WS): K1, p1, k1, p1 *p8; rep from * to 3 sts rem, k1, p1, k1.
Repeat Rows 1-6 for pattern.

IF WORKING IN THE ROUND:
Since the chart is in ROUNDS, all rounds are worked from right to left as follows:

Round 1 (RS): P1, k1, p1, *k8; rep from * to 4 sts rem, k1, p1, k1, p1.
Round 2 (RS): P1, k1, p1, *k1, p4, k3; rep from * to 4 sts rem, k1, p1, k1, p1.
Round 3 (RS): P1, k1, p1, *k2, p4, k2; rep from * to 4 sts rem, k1, p1, k1, p1.
Round 4 (RS): P1, k1, p1, *k3, p4, k1; rep from * to 4 sts rem, k1, p1, k1, p1.
Round 5 (RS): P1, k1, p1, *k4, p4; rep from * to 4 sts rem, k1, p1, k1, p1.
Round 6 (RS): P1, k1, p1, *k8; rep from * to 4 sts rem, k1, p1, k1, p1.
Repeat Rounds 1-6 for pattern.

VIEW THE FULL SERIES:

Part 2 of 4: Colorwork
Part 3 of 4: Cables
Part 4 of 4: Lace

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