How to Read Knitting Pattern - Starting A New Knitting Project

by Jena
(Ephrata, PA)

I have made more scarfs than I can count. I want to work on something else (preferably a duster style coat), but I have no clue on how to read the pattern. Can you give me any tips on how to read a pattern. I'm so lost and the pattern I'm looking at says that it's an easy pattern. I just looks like a another language to me. Please help.


Hi Jena,
Reading knitting pattern sometimes can be very frustrated for many knitters. Don't worry, you're not alone. I think the abbreviations that make knitter confuse. Once you get acquire to all the knitting abbreviations and terms, you'll do just fine.

1. The most important thing to remember when knitting your garment is to check your gauge. Make a 4x4 swatch to check your yarn gauge. If your gauge is bigger that the given pattern, change to slightly smaller needles. If you gauge is too little, use bigger needles. Check and recheck until you have it right or the closest to the pattern as possible. You'll end up with a good fit garment this way.

2. Garment pattern usually comes in many sizes. You want to focus only on the size you knit and not to get loss in the others.

Here is an example of a tank top pattern I'll use to show you how to read its pattern. The dark letters are my explanation

Bust – 32(34-36-38-40)”.
Length – 18 1/2(18 1/2-19-19 1/2-20)”.
Note: This garment is designed to fit very close to the body. Please take that into consideration when selecting your size.

These are the finished measurements of the tank top. You can see it ranks from size 32 - size 40. In the length section has the number of inches that correspond to the bust size (32 and 181/2, 34 and 18 1/2, 36 and 19, and so forth) I think you've already figured this one out. Now let's move on to the next one.


BERROCO ECHO (50 grs), 5(5-6-7-8) balls #4528 Dungaree.
Straight knitting needles, size 8 OR SIZE TO

How much yarn you need to use is depend on your selected size. Let say your size is 36 (second number in the parenthesis), so you look for the number that stands in the same position as size 36. In this case, number 6 is the second number in the parenthesis. So you'll need to buy six ball of yarns for this pattern. In this case each ball weighs 50 gram.


18 sts = 4”; 26 rows = 4” in Reverse St st.
20 sts = 4”; 26 rows = 4” in k1, p1 ribbing.

These are gauges use in this pattern

With straight needles, cast on 75(78-83-88-93) sts.

Start knitting the back of tank top with straight needles - cast on 83 sts. for size 36. (I'm using size 36 for example all the way to the end).

3. Always have knitting terms and knitting abbreviations near by so that you use it for references when needed.

Row 1 (RS): K1, (p1, k1) 12(12-13-14-15) times, p25(28-29-30-31), k1, (p1, k1) 12(12-13-14-15) times.

This is the beginning of row 1 and it is the right side of the pattern. k1, then (p1, k1) 13 times. P 29 (remember 2nd number because I choose size 36 as an example), k1, (p1, k1) 13 more times.

Row 2: P1, (k1, p1) 12(12-13-14-15) times, k25(28-29-30-31), p1, (k1, p1) 12(12-13-14-15) times.

This is pretty much straight forward like row one. Just remember to focus on your number.

Repeat these 2 rows until piece measures 1 2/2 inches from beginning. End on wrong side.

4. Use row counter.

Row 1 (RS): P50(53-56-59-62), work in ribbing as established to end.

row 1 right side: purl 56, work in ribbing to end.

I think you get the picture. I know it's not that easy but you'll get it. Google YouTube for video instruction on different topics you're interested. Look like they have pretty much everything there. I hope this helps you little bit. Feel free to ask specific question on your pattern. I'll be happy to answer. Remember to take it step by step. Look up words you don't understand and make it fun.

Good luck on your project

Ratchadawan Chambers.

Comments for How to Read Knitting Pattern - Starting A New Knitting Project

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Sep 23, 2013
exelent explanation
by: rossy san

It's the most complete but simple way i found to learn how to read a knitting patt. thank you!

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