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Lace Knitting: How do I read a chart?

Interweave Press offers a superior collection of knitted lace patterns in the book Knitted Lace: A Collection of Favorite Designs from Interweave.

This book is available through Interweave Press offering 25 stunning designs that will have you longing for more.

Knitted Lace: A Collection of Favorite Designs from Interweave

Here's an excerpt from this book on how to read a lace chart.

Lace Lessons: A Primer on Knitted Lace

Instructions for knitted lace are often presented in chart form. Charts offer a graphic representation of the front or right side of the pattern.

Simple Lace Pattern:
With size 8 needles and fingering yarn (or any yarn and a pair of larger-than-usual needles), loosely cast on 27 stitches (or any multiple of 9 stitches, the stitch repeat). You may find it helpful to place markers between each 9-stitch repeat.

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Row 1: (RS) *K2, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k2; rep from * to end of row.
Rows 2, 4, 6: (WS) Purl.
Row 3: *K1, k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k1; rep from * to end of row.
Row 5: *K2tog, yo, k1, yo, sl 2 as if to k2tog, k1, pass sl sts over, yo, k1, yo, ssk; rep from * to end of row.
Repeat Rows 1-6 for pattern.

Each line of the chart at right represents a row of the stitch pattern, and each square represents a stitch.

The chart is read from bottom to top, and RS rows are read from right to left, in the same direction as one normally knits. The first stitch on the left-hand needle as you're ready to begin a row corresponds to the first square in the bottom right-hand corner of the chart.

Notice how wrong-side rows have no patterning; they are "rest rows" (meaning they're just straight knitting or purling).

The symbol key tells what to do for each stitch; for example, a plain square represents a knitted stitch and a circle represents a yarnover.

A right-slanting line represents k2tog and means that you knit the stitch that corresponds to the k2tog square with the stitch to the left of it. Note that in this lace pattern, the chart shows that the number of stitches stays the same in each rowófor every yarnover, there is a corresponding decrease, and vice versa.

On Row 1, the right-slanting k2tog decrease is paired with the yarnover that follows it, and the left-slanting ssk decrease is paired with the yarnover that precedes it. On Row 5, the center double decrease (sl 2 as if to k2tog, k1, pass sl sts over) decreases two stitches, and the yarnovers made on each side of the decrease add two stitches to compensate.

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