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Making Sense of Symbols: A Guide to Reading Charts

Sep 24, 2009
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An article on how to read charts by Ann Budd.

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Dockfrogz wrote
on Mar 12, 2012 7:59 AM
granniek wrote
on Jan 29, 2010 2:42 PM

Would have loved to check this info out but could not find the download link!

dryad wrote
on Oct 4, 2009 7:35 PM

The most important thing about downloading is to make sure that you're logged in.  Otherwise, the download link won't work...even if you clicked a link from your email to get here.  :)

Also, charts are constructed to follow the knitting, they're just schematics of what the finished lace repeat will look like.  When knitting flat, you're starting on the right and moving left across the needle.  Then when you turn your work, you're moving backwards to your starting point, so you read it left to right.  If you're knitting circularly (is that even a word?), you're always reading right to left because you're  not turning your work.

Frida@2 wrote
on Oct 4, 2009 11:56 AM

No problem finding the article link - just follow the "download now" orange button on this page, then click the "download" link under the article title on the next. It's a bit visually confusing with all the advertising imagery on the same page, but the links worked just fine for me.

Carolynne wrote
on Oct 2, 2009 10:22 PM

The timing of this article is brilliant. I started a new project from Interweave Knits NINE weeks ago. It is the first time I have knitted lace using a chart and after knitting the back of the sweater which had no lace, I started the front and got stuck straight away. The chart had "no stitch" through out it and no directions on what this meant. I looked up all my pattern books and asked all the last remaining knitter in our family but she has never used a chart. Asked at the store where I get my yarn and they didn't know, but a customer said to slip the next stitch. (this didn't make sense because there were too many stitches in the chart in comparison with the stitch size of the panel).

Well I tried slipping the no stitch with awful results.  In the end I thought , dunce, dunce, dunce and stopped .

It all makes sense now, so I am attacking the sweater with enthusiasm again. So THANK YOU! And the tip about colouring the chart and using a post it has also been truly helpful

Happy knitting! And thank goodness for the internet knitting community because I don't know anyone else that knits.

Anita@2 wrote
on Oct 1, 2009 3:07 PM

As I understand it, you read right to left on the first line, then left to right on the second line and keep alternating this way because you're following the direction you're knitting. When you turn your work, you can't "turn" the chart, and so, you have to read the other way every other row. Takes a bit of getting used to.

vbdb wrote
on Oct 1, 2009 10:14 AM

On this page, click on the big orange download now button.  On the page that comes up next, click on word "download..." just to the right of the blue sample knit picture.  Just did this and was able to access article with no problem.

mitzi0401 wrote
on Oct 1, 2009 6:53 AM

Christine Rodgers -- your idea of the sheet protector and dry erase marker is the very best tip I've heard in some time!  Just wanted to say thank you!

LisaW@45 wrote
on Oct 1, 2009 6:52 AM
LisaW@45 wrote
on Oct 1, 2009 6:52 AM
knit girl wrote
on Oct 1, 2009 3:07 AM

Thank you so much for this article - I just love receiving my knitting daily items - I haven't read the article just yet but am eager to read it as sometimes I wonder if I am following them correctly.  So thanks again but it would be helpful if, for those who can't download for some reason, the source of an article could be noted.  Keep blogging.

Knit girl

nancilee@3 wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 5:22 PM

so i got the link but no article...bad bad

JoyC@12 wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 4:39 PM

Boy, did I have high hopes before reading the article but still can't read these charts, although though I'm only half as confused as before. Large parts of what she was saying made no sense to me at all, I might have been reading Klingon... I've been knitting from patterns for over 40 years but these charts are wayyyyyy too fiddly and unreadable for me. Reading right to left and switching with each line!!! Whaaaa????  So not only do I have to memorize a bunch of random symbols I have to remember which way to read each line, sorry, how is this easier????

loise@8 wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 3:53 PM

where's the article?

bquiltstitch wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 1:23 PM

To download the article, click on either the colour photo of the swatch or the "Download Now" button to the right of it.  Either of these actions will take you to a page where the link to the pdf can be found.  It's the text at the top of the page, beside the photo, under the heading "Making Sense of Symbols:  A Guide to Reading Charts". 

The small text "Click here to download" is what you're looking for to save or open the pdf.

Thanks for the article. 


B. from Canada

lkeeton wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 12:44 PM

There is a Download Now button (to the right of the small blue "swatch" pic) on this window. On the resulting window, there is a link labeled Click Here to Download under the title of the article. The link is the same color as the title of the article (a difficult thing to see).

The article is from Interweave Knits, Summer 2000.

EllenK@30 wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 12:36 PM

If you click on the lace color swatch, another window will come up with "Download". Click on that and a pdf document will come up. I am anxious to try the color coding since I also have some eye problems and the symbols are hard for me to read. If I enlarge the chart, many times the symbols lose quality and I have to ask someone else to interpret them for me so that I can make them darker in the squares. This particfularly happens with the downloadable patterns I buy from Interweave Knits. Often they are printed on a colored background that is difficult to see.

Ellen from NH

honey_b wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 12:33 PM

This is so frustrating!  Can you please give us a link to the article?  Why reccomend it to us if it can't be found?

on Sep 30, 2009 11:31 AM

I searched Google, and the article originally appeared in the Summer 2000 issue.

CR.eations wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 11:25 AM

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Hi Ann,


I read your article and have been going through the same pains.  I started doing this:  I make an enlarged copy of the chart (since I wear tri-focals) and color code them just like you.  I then stick the copy in a clear sheet protector.  I have dry-erase color markers and put a line through the last row knitted.  When the pattern is ready to repeat, I take a tissue paper and erase the dry marker.  This helped me a bunch with the same dilemma.


Christine Rodgers


a yarn shop



website under

5024 US Hwy 287 N

PO BOX 1522

Ennis, MT 59729



Maxermoo wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 11:22 AM

Susan, I think if you click the image above it should take you to where you can download the file.  I didn't have any trouble and I'm in Firefox, even.  Look for the tiny little "download here" line under the title at the top of the page.  Good luck!

susan daly wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 11:12 AM

Gosh, I'd love to read the Ann Budd article, but can't access it.  If the author had identified the issue and year of publication of the magazine, I probably would have had a better chance of reading it.  If anyone can give me the correct citation I would be appreciative.