Do you have that ultimate fear I hear about from so many new knitters, that you don’t understand or know how to read a knitting pattern! It may seem like Greek, but it really is not that bad. I promise. So, I hope to clear up the mystery of reading patterns by breaking it down for you.

How to Read a Knitting Patternhow to read a knitting pattern

Some knitters like patterns, while other’s prefer charts. I lean toward patterns. I have less trouble with written patterns, when it comes to losing my place. I do like to switch it up some, but for now we will talk about written patterns.

I’d like to start with our next KAL pattern. It is a lap blanket or baby blanket which ever you prefer. The pattern reads as written below. I will then translate for you to give an example.

CO-Cast On 140 st (stitches)

Row 1: K4, K2 tog, K3, YO, K1, YO, K3, * K2 tog twice, K3, YO, K1, YO,K3; repeat from * across to last 6 stitches, K2 tog, K4.

Let’s break this down, it is some mostly common sense K means knit, P means purl and so on. You can use my abbreviation guide page for decoding any abbreviations you’re not sure of when reading a pattern.


Row 1: Knit 4, Knit 2 together, Knit 3, Yarn Over, Knit 1, Yarn Over, Knit 3, * Knit 2 together twice, Knit 3, Yarn Over, Knit , Yarn Over, Knit 3; Repeat from * across to last 6 stitches, Knit 2 together, Knit 4. In the pattern will be working there are 4 Rows. After the 4th row the instructions ask us to Repeat Rows 2-4 until the afghan measures 41″ from cast on edge and ending by working.

Now, follow along, take it slow and repeat from the point of * (star) across stitches until the last 6 stitches on your needle and finish with k2 tog, k4. A lot of patterns will have parenthesis ( ) and brackets [ ] as well.  These are meant for repeating that section of the row, same as the star (*).

I recommend that when you are learning how to read a knitting pattern, you read the row all the way through. Then go back to the beginning of the row and go slowly. On the first read through if you see any stitches you are not familiar with look them up in my abbreviation guide page. If you are not sure how to make the stitch you can look up how to videos on YouTube.

A few tips on how to read a knitting pattern, you can mark off the row after you finish it or put a ruler under the row to keep your eye on the correct line. It’s easy to glance back and read the wrong line so be careful here. This is really important once you start adding colors and need an exact count.

Learning to read patterns is a matter of practice until it becomes second nature. As you continue to knit you will run across new abbreviations that are new to you . Just look it up, learn to do the new stitches and repeat. Most importantly, take it one step at a time. Please go to Craft Yarn Council for a more detailed explanation if you are still in need of help with learning to read patterns. I like their in depth explanation.

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Happy Knitting!


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