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.