Are you looking to take up knitting as a hobby? Or want to try your hand in this traditional art?
Well, there might be numerous things running through your mind about the best course of action you can take to tackle the task without facing any hassle. And we all know knitting patterns are pretty complicated.
So, if you do want things to be easier, then you have come to the right place. We will provide all the knowledge you need about how to read knitting patterns and how you can accomplish the greatest results with your work.
For more information, keep reading!
How to Read Knitting Patterns Step by Step
For a beginner, reading knitting patterns is not easy; you will have to follow a few steps in order to accomplish your goal. The process is simple as long as you are able to follow along and understand what you are required to do.
Step 1: Make a Decision on What You Want to Knit
Right off the bat, you have to be clear on what item of clothing you would like to knit. That is an essential step in your journey as if you do not have a clear idea of what you want, then you will not be able to find the required pattern, and your work is going to be far more difficult.
And the knitting pattern of a scarf and a sweater will not be the same, so you cant look up the pattern of a scarf and intend to make a sweater with it. Also, as you are just starting out, it would we a better option for you to lead towards something simpler, like a scarf.
However, you might be knitting to present a gift to someone. Well, in that case, you should take their opinion into account and then start your work.
Step 2: Look for Knitting Patterns Online
The internet really is your best friend, especially when you are looking for something specific, like a knitting pattern! You will find them from different yarn store websites or several different ‘Do It Yourself’ websites. They should provide you will all the patterns you might need in order to make the item of clothing of your choice.
Now you can refer to the online pictures of the pattern, or you could even print them out so you will have them at hand whenever you need it for your little project.
Keep in mind that there are different types of patterns available on the internet, some might be on the more easy side, while there are many which have higher difficulty levels. As we are just starting out, it is better for us to stick to the basics.
Step 3: Buy the Suggested Knitting Supplies
By now, you have already selected the pattern you want to follow along with for your knitting job. Whichever pattern you select should also come with information detailing the supplies you will need to complete the task.
Now, based on the needle and yarn, they suggested you should go to the store and buy the things that are necessary. You should try to get the things recommended to you by the website as they will give you the effect, finish, and texture that your knitting should have according to the pattern you are following.
Some needles are made of wood, aluminum, and plastic, which come in a range of different sizes. So, if you want the pattern to look exactly as it is supposed to be, you should buy what you are told to, or you could go for the next neat option. And the same goes for the yarn.
However, if you want to follow the given pattern, but you do not want the end result to look exactly like the one you see with the pattern, you could opt for making alterations.
You are going to have to run some tests to see what kind of output you will get when you add different elements to the pattern.
As you are a beginner, it would be wise if you follow the instructions the first time. Once you get the hang of the pattern, you could try and change up the needle as well as the yarn.
Step 4: Understand the Size of the Item You’re Making
If you are going to start your knitting journey by making a scarf, then you shouldn’t be too worried about this step. However, if you plan on making a sweater or gloves, then size is an important factor. As the pattern you are going to knit will heavily depend on how big the clothing is going to be.
Even if this is your second or third time knitting, you should make sure the knitting pattern you selected is appropriate with the size you are looking to make. The sizes will range from S (small) to XL (extra large).
You might not think this is a big issue, and sizes don’t really matter when it comes to sweaters. But that isn’t the case in real life. You will see a great difference when you put on a sweater that fits you just right. Also, you’ll feel the same about a pair of gloves that fit you well.
Therefore, know your size or the size of the person for whom you are making the sweater. And then look for knitting patterns and make adjustments according to the size.
Step 5: Understand the Knitting Lingo
The knitting patterns are usually written using abbreviations. And in order for you to be able to follow along and read the patterns, you have to know what all of them mean. Here you will get all the different short forms you will encounter when you look up a knitting pattern.
|CO or Cast On
|This is the starting point of the knitting pattern with a certain number of stitches.
|BO or Bind Off/ Cast Off
|It is basically the opposite of Cast-On; it is the finishing or the end of your knitting pattern. As established, this phrase is used when the instruction is telling you to continue knitting the pattern which you have already established or pieced together. In some cases, the pattern might require you to make additional or lesser stitches at the end of the centerpiece.
|Dec or Decrease
|The inclusion of this short form in your knitting pattern means that you have to decrease one or more stitches. It could, at times, also mean to combine the stitches together into one.
|Inc or Increase
|When you see inc on your knitting pattern, you should know that now is the time for you to include or increase a few stitches into your work. You can do this by working on the back and the front of your pattern. The one you’re using might tell you to follow some other method, so you have to work accordingly.
|Rep or Repeat
|This means you have to make the same stitches for a given number of times. The pattern you’re following will tell you how many times you have to do it.
|SL or Slip
|If you come across this word, then that means you will have to slip stitches from one needle to the other.
|YO or Yarn Over
|This means you have to put the yarn over your needle to create a different form or shape in the pattern.
|Tog or Together
|In order to make the process shorter, join a few of the stitches together.
|This basically means that you do not have to increase or decrease, just continue doing what you have been doing.
|RS or Right Side
|It refers to the side people will be able to see, or you could even call it the outside.
|WS or Wrong Side
|This is the exact opposite. It refers to the inside of the item you will be stitching, the side people will not be able to see.
Now, these are all the terms you will find when you are reading knitting patterns. If you do not know how to perform a few of the things you could ask for help from someone who has knit before.
Sometimes real-life demonstrations can help you a lot more than anything else because you can ask questions and have all your problems solved.
Step 6: Reading the Meaning of the Symbols
Along with the short forms and the abbreviations, you will come across a few symbols. They have meaning behind them, and therefore you will need to understand what they are in order to complete the task in hand.
|Brackets or parentheses'( )’
|You will find them in the instruction when you will be told to repeat the same stitches for a given number of times. The brackets are put in front of, and at the end of the section of instruction, you will have to repeat.
|It works as a brief pause in the normal English language. However, here, it signifies the ending of one step and then the beginning of the next.
|You will find this beside any instruction that you will have to do more than once.
And with that, we are done learning the meaning behind the symbols you will see when you go to read a knitting pattern.
Step 7: Follow along with the Instruction
It is essential for you to follow the written and the symbolic instructions you find on the knitting pattern. Without it, you will easily get lost, and you will soon realize your patterns are not coming off the way you imagined them to be.
The instructions are provided row by row, and therefore, you have to go over each row at a time to make sure the pattern is complete. So, for example, the pattern you are following gives a command that says CO 12 sts.
At first, let us break down the short forms, as we know CO means cast on, so it is the starting point. Sts means stitches.
Overall, we can tell that we have to start off by making a slip knot and then make 11 additional stitches. The slip knot, along with the 11 stitches combined, is 12 sts. Hopefully, they gave you some reference to work with.
These are basically all the steps you are likely you go through when you are knitting. Once you know what the words mean and how to follow the instructions, you should not have a difficult time getting around it. Some people find it to be too complex and, therefore, are quickly frustrated by the whole process.
But there are also many who find it to be relaxing and see it as a good utilization of time. You can also check this book “Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Knitting” for details knitting info.
For Advanced Knitters
If you happen to know how to read knitting patterns, then there is really no need for you to print out written instructions. The charts should be enough to give the right directions.
Step 1: Select the Chart of the Knitting Pattern You Want
Rather than looking for detailed instruction, you can opt for finding a chart that tells you what to do. You will especially prefer this method of reading patterns if you enjoy and understand better through visual representation rather than words.
Step 2: Read the Chart Correctly
Just as it is important for you to understand and read the words of the instruction right, the same way you have to make sure you read the chart right. Otherwise, you will be in a bit of a mess.
You have to read the symbols as they are presented to you and make sure you don’t go off course.
The chart is likely to come with keys. The keys are basically what you will be following, so you have to be clear on what each of it means. Now, the rest of it is pretty much the same for both the methods of reading knitting patterns.
You will have to make sure you go along row by row without skipping or missing out on anything because your mistakes will be very clear and visible on your project. All the rows need to be completed in order for the pattern to show on the item you made.
At first, it might seem like there is no way for you to understand what the pattern or instructions mean. However, you require practice to perfect everything. And to master this art, you will need to perfect reading the patterns too.
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