This seems to come up a lot on Ravelry, so I thought I’d give you a tutorial – cos I’m nice like that!
These instructions are for the majority of charts and I’m assuming that you know a little bit of knitting here!
A chart is made up of lots of little squares and looks totally daunting, but it’s not really. Honest.
First thing you want to do is find the key that explains what all those little symbols mean. One square represents one stitch. A plain square usually means that stitch is to be worked in stocking stitch (knit on the right side, purl on the wrong side), it might be shaded if you’re to work it in reverse stocking stitch. A circle usually means to yarn over, a backslash usually means SSK and a forward slash is K2tog. But check the key.
Now a chart is read from the bottom right. Row 1 is the right side of your work and you start at the bottom right stitch and work left. Why? Because that’s how most garments are knit (excluding top down stuff)! When you knit a (standard) sweater pattern, you start at the bottom and work upwards to the collar. A chart is just a pictorial representation of what your finished piece will look like!
So, you work along that row until you get to the end. Now turn your work so that the wrong side is facing you (unless you’re working in the round, but we’ll talk about that in a minute), now work row 2 from left to right.
So the RS of your work is read right to left and the WS is read left to right.
If you are working in the round; work ALL rounds from right to left!