How to Convert a Knitting Chart to Text

By Jenny Parker
Convert a chart into written instructions.

Although many knitters prefer the visual aspect of knitting from a charted pattern, others would rather read written instructions. If you fall into the latter category, it’s probably frustrating to find a pattern you want to knit that is only available in a chart format. Fortunately, it is a relatively simple process to convert a charted pattern to written instructions on your own.

Look over the charted pattern’s legend to familiarize yourself with the stitches used and their corresponding symbols in the chart. If you are not well-versed in written abbreviations for common stitches, they include “k1” for knit one, “p1” for purl one, “sl 1” for slip one, “m1” for make one, “yo” for yarn over and “k2tog” for knit two together.

Read the first row of the chart, which is the bottom row. Charts are generally read from right to left, so you will begin at the bottom right corner. Write down each stitch as you come to it. If you encounter more than one of the same stitch in a series you can group the stitches together. For instance, if you have three knit stitches, instead of writing out “k1, k1, k1,” you can write “k3” to save time.

Notice whether the chart only covers right-side rows; this is the case if the rows are numbered 1, 3, 5, 7, etc. with no even numbers in between. If no even-numbered rows are charted, it should tell you somewhere on the chart page how to work them. Typically, even or wrong-side rows are simply purled. You will want to make note of this in your written pattern by either writing “purl across” for every even-numbered row or by making a note on the page that unless otherwise specified, all even-numbered rows should be purled.

Continue to translate each row of the pattern to written instructions until you’ve converted the entire chart.

Tip

Although you will be reading the chart from the bottom up, written instructions are traditionally written from left to right and from the top of the page down, so you will be reading and writing in opposite directions. Take your time and pay close attention to your work to avoid becoming confused and writing the pattern backward.

Look out for pattern repeats. If an area of the chart is surrounded by a thickly outlined box, it means that the stitches within the box are to be repeated. The chart page should specify the number of repeats required. In written instructions, stitch pattern repeats are usually noted with asterisks. For example, “k5, p1, k2, p1; rep 3 times from , k5” means that the “k2, p1” portion of the pattern should be repeated three times.

About the Author

Jenny Parker is a New England-based entrepreneur who has been writing since 1995. Parker writes extensively on creative self-employment and genealogy; her work has appeared on Etsy.com and Ancestry.com. She also has self-published several short story collections and is currently working on her first non-fiction book chronicling the history of her ancestors in America.