Charting the No Stitch

Why are “no stitches” charted? The answer to this, basically, is that if you are reading from a chart and you are also “reading” your knitting as you go, you want things to line up properly. Ok, so why doesn’t the chart reduce in size from the outside like my knitting does? The answer is that your knitting is not really decreasing from the outside edges. But, rather, it is reducing from where there is a decrease without a corresponding increase. Let me try to demonstrate. Below are two sample charts. The first is a chart drawn without the “no stitches” charted.


The knitting chart above is drawn without the “no stitch” squares. If you were to knit this sample, (please feel free to do so) this is an accurate depiction of how your finished knitted sample would “look”. However, if you were to try to knit from this chart, when you got to row 7 you would knit 2, knit 2 together, and yarn over exactly in the same place you had been before. These four stitches and the yarn over on your knitted piece do not actually move one stitch toward the center. So why do the rows get smaller and smaller toward the point of the sample?

Beginning with row seven, do you see the decrease symbols toward the center? These decreases do not have increases that go along with them. Therefore, this is actually where your pattern is “coming together” or decreasing toward the center.

Now take a look at the chart below.


This chart is drawn with the decreasing of stitches where they actually occur. In this chart, the beginning four stitches we discussed above all line up, as they should, on every row. They should also “line up” on your knitted piece. The decreases are happening within the knitted piece itself. To accommodate for the reduced number of stitches on each row as you move up the chart the stitches are charted as “no stitches”. Each row as you go up the chart has two less stitches in it, therefore the “no stitch” space gets larger toward the top of the chart.

So the conclusion to all of this is that a “no stitch” on a knitting chart means exactly what it sounds like. Where you see a No Stitch charted, skip over it and move on down the row, knitting only the stitches that are actually there.

Try it on the sample above. Cast on 25 stitches. Knit three rows of garter stitch and then begin the chart. On the even rows knit 5, purl 15, knit 5. Follow the charts and see if you can “read” what is happening in your knitted piece as you progress.



8 thoughts on “Charting the No Stitch

  1. Thanks for the great explanation! I believe you’ve made it very clear and your example was a big help.

    Just out of curiosity, though, is there a reason you charted it this way rather than the more traditional way?

    Thanks again. Wouldn’t life be boring if we never learned anything new?!


  2. Thanks for such an awesome explanation, it makes perfect sense now. I’m really looking forward to the Jan KAL. SOTSI has been such fun and so enjoyable. Thanks for all you do.

  3. Initially I said “Huh?” But after reading your tutorial here, I know it will work – I just have to trust you and my needles. (Gotta get there first though. It’s been one of those weeks: work on Stole, frog 12 rows, repeat 3 times, let it rest on row 427. Work on sweater front, frog all 6 inches of it and decide to let it rest. Look at sock with 4 DPN’s and say out loud “No freaking way”. Make stitch markers and call it a productive afternoon. LOL at myself!)

  4. Thanks for the explanation, now I fully understand. I especially like the two charts and the comparison of how and why you chart it that way… it is like a light bulb.

    Can’t wait to begin clue 7..

    thanks again!

  5. Thanks for the explanation. That really helps to explain those charts that put those no stitch spaces in there (like example 2). sometimes they can be so confusing. Having the 2 charts to compare really clears things up!!

  6. Oooohhh…. I think I get it. 🙂

    I also joined the KAL in January–my “first time” with both a mystery project and a KAL. Can’t wait!

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