How To Read A Pattern
How To Read A Pattern
Expert knitter Lucy Bennett shows you how to read a knitting pattern. Learn the basics of reading knitting patterns, and then you can make that extra special woolly jumper!
Step 1: Size
The size of the finished item will be clearly stated. Sometimes it states the size after 'blocking' which means after you have washed the finished garment for the first time.
Step 2: Gauge
Gauge is given as the number of stitches and rows, on the recommended-size needles, over a 4inch patch.
It is a good idea to make a gauge before you start knitting your garment to ensure the size needles and the number of rows and stitches in the pattern will produce the size and shape garment you need.
Step 3: Yarn
Most knitting patterns recommend the most appropriate yarn to use for the best results.
It is important to buy the yarn specified. Another yarn, however similar, may not behave in the same way.
Always buy enough yarn. It is a good idea to buy an extra ball just in case.
Step 4: Needles
Needle sizes vary and your pattern will tell you the best size needle to use but should be treated as a guide only.
Your knitted gauge will tell you if you need to use a different size needle to the one your pattern recommends.
Step 5: Instructions
Instructions are set out as row by row written instructions.
The letter P stands for Purl and the letter K, for Knit so if your pattern says Row One: P5, K5 you should purl five stitches and then knit five stitches on your first row.
To learn more about purl and knit stitches see our videos 'How To Stitch a Purl Stitch' and How to Stitch a Knit Stitch'.
Astericks are used to tell you to repeat an instruction. For example, an asterisk followed by P1, K1 tells you to purl one stitch, knit one stitch, and again purl one stitch and knit one stitch.
Sometimes brackets are used instead of asterisks.
Instructions are also set out as charts. They will have a corresponding key that tells you what each symbol in the chart means.
These symbols differ from pattern to pattern but don`t worry as nearly every knitting pattern will provide you with a glossary of symbols and abbreviations to help you read them easily.