FI101 - Charts

Charts for colour knitting come in many forms - look at the fair isle charts you have on hand.

When knitting Fair Isle IN THE ROUND, charts are read right to left, bottom to top.

When knitting Fair Isle back and forth, in flat pieces, you will follow your chart, bottom up, reading the right side rows from the right, and the "back side" rows from the left.  (Note:  If your piece is totally symmetrical, this actually won't matter....and you will be able to read the "back side" rows right to left if that makes more sense to you!)

Charts may have the stitch numbers and row numbers running along the bottom and up the side of the chart.

Here is the same simple chart - presented in 3 different formats.

Some charts are done in full colour -
it's easy to visualize the design, but I find that
sometimes it's hard to decide exactly which yarn
is to be used where - especially if the design
uses many shades of one colour.

Some charts use symbols for each shade used.

Usually darker emblems are used for pattern stitches,
and lighter symbols are used for background stitch (or vice versa!)
(If you are having trouble visualizing the pattern in a
chart like this - squint at it, or look at it from the side, and
the pattern will sometimes jump out at you!)

These charts come with a Legend showing which
symbol refers to which yarn shade.

This is actually the most common form of Fair Isle chart - and if 
it is a complicated design, it can be intimidating at first
 - but you can enlarge it to make it easier to read.....
or convert it to pure black and white chart like the one below.

A pure black and white chart is the easiest to  read.
Books of motifs for stranded/Fair Isle knitting are usually
in black and white - because they are presented for you
to do your own colour choices.

If a chart like this is used in a pattern - it will have notations
as to which shade of yarn to use on which rows.

You need to make your chart user friendly for you - to define "background" vs "pattern" stitches!


  1. personally, I prefer the bottom chart, then the top, and lastly, the middle. that said, the middle chart really makes you pay attention when you want to change some of the colors in a pattern. I still prefer the bottom chart, tho.


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