Crochet · Knitting

Learning to Read Your Knitting

When I started this blog it was with the intention of tracking my progress in becoming a better knitter – or, back at that time, a knitter at all. I found the biggest hurdle in the early stages is learning to read your knitting.

What do I mean by that?

Back when I started knitting and crocheting I had real problems if I made a mistake. I would stare down at the scrap of fabric and have no idea what I’d done or why there weren’t the right amount of stitches in place.

It was infuriating. For a long time I didn’t like knitting at all, preferring instead to stick to my hooks. A big part of that is the fact it was much easier to see the difference in the stitches with crochet, at least for me.

Now when I make a mistake in my knitting I can see where I went wrong by reading the stitches along the row. I don’t think there’s a trick to it – it’s something that comes with making a whole bunch of mistakes! I have seen plenty of images on Pinterest showing different types of stitches and what they look like but unless you’re checking them throughout the process, they’re not as useful as experience. I don’t know about you but I struggle to remember what I saw in an image some time a few months ago!

I guess what I’m saying here is that it’s heartening after all this time to realise how far I’ve come. I don’t look at my lace knitting and burst into tears (most days). I don’t want to throw my crochet out of the moving bus (usually). It’s satisfying to realise that I can read the stitches on my needle or hook.

Can you read your knitting? How did you get to that point? Sheer luck like me or did you study hard to get all that knowledge together?

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22 thoughts on “Learning to Read Your Knitting

  1. I’d say it was mostly experience and paying attention to what I was doing, but I think one thing that really helped was when I did a lace sampler scarf. I had only done a little lace, so I decided to get some yarn, cast on a number of stitches, then find a stitch pattern in a stitch dictionary that suited my fancy and do that for a few rows. Once I felt like I’d grasped it or got bored with it, I knit a couple rows in garter stitch then picked another pattern. It really helped me see how the different decreases worked and learn to spot where I’d messed up in previous rows and how to fix it.

    Well, sometimes how to fix it. I also made the newbie mistake of doing this in mohair yarn, so it wasn’t entirely a genius idea. 😉

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    1. HAHAH! Mohair! Yes, that would be, um… difficult. 😉 But that’s a really good idea, a nice little hack to get better at reading your stitches for sure. I might have to try something like that once the mad giftmas season is over.

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      1. Once you’ve found the centre of the canvas it’s just the same stitch counted over & over again. It means I have time to appreciate the shades and blends more than with knitting where I constantly find myself checking my last stitch.

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  2. From time to time this comes back to me. I’m making a leftie shawl right now and at first I though I would never be able to remember the pattern but now I can ‘tell’ where I am in it. The same with a hat I’m making now. I forgot to decrease on the lace row. When I first started knitting I image I’d have had to rip back to work out where I’d been and what I’d done and it probably would have meant another ufo. Now I just do a quick fix however I feel like it.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your process!! I tried crochet about a year before I tried knitting and found crochet infuriating! I would look down at my work there and see how my “scarf” would grow steadily wider or skinnier depending on the weather I think. I then tried knitting and found it easier to track my stitches since they stayed on a needle. I did struggle to see what was going on in my fabric, especially in garter stitch. I thought reading stockinette was easier. Definitely experience is the best teacher for me 🙂

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    1. Crochet can be fiddly but I always found it easier to see where I’d gone wrong. Knitting I can now understand too and I prefer knitting about 80% of the time. Stockinette is definitely easier to read, you’re right. 🙂

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  4. I’d say it comes with experience but perhaps more easily to some than others. I love charts for lace, cable or other textured patterns and some people really struggle with them. I assume they have more trouble reading their knitting, too.

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    1. I assume so too. I do love charts for cables and lace now. At first they were inscrutable. I suppose everyone’s brains are built differently that way.

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  5. It was definitely a learning process for me too. I find that working a swatch of a pattern stitch before a project can be really helpful. It’s a trial run, you get to ‘learn’ the stitches and it’s a great reference point if things go wrong!

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  6. I think you’ve reached a level of expertise and understanding that lets you stand back from your work and analyze it better! When I get to this stage with a craft or skill, I feel like I’ve accomplished a great deal!

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