Knitting Help – Decreasing in a Charted Pattern


In this video, I’m going to cover decreasing
in a charted pattern, and that’s kind of a general title for what I’m actually gonna
talk about. I have been on a Fair Isle hat kick. I’ve been knitting Fair Isle hats kind of
non-stop for over a year. I love them because it’s kind of a little
piece of kind of complicated work that’s really fun to do, and you get a lot of bang for your
buck, and it looks really good when you’re done. And this is what I’m talking about. This is a hat in progress, and it is Fair
Isle, meaning that it’s knit in two different colors, two different colors in each round,
so that I can get this pattern out of it. And it ends up making a double-thick hat that’s
extra warm because there are two strands of yarn running through it. Anyway, since I’ve been knitting a lot of
these hats and posting a lot of pictures to social media, people have been asking me a
lot of questions about charted hat patterns, especially with Fair Isle. But what I’m going to demonstrate, what I’m
gonna show you, actually works for charted stitch patterns as well, but the chart I’m
gonna show you is a Fair Isle chart. But it can get confusing because you understand
that each stitch is one square, but then it starts to get crazy when you get towards the
crown of the hat and stitches start disappearing. And I think people overthink it a little bit,
but I’m gonna explain it here to make it really clear for everyone who’s on a Fair Isle hat
knitting kick with me, maybe. Let’s go and take a look. Okay. What I have here is a totally made-up chart. I made this up. I don’t what it would look like if it was
knitted up, but it shows everything I wanna show, and it is really typical of a Fair Isle
hat pattern. Now, this isn’t the whole chart. This would be just the top part of the chart. There’d actually be more down here, of solid
rows, all the way down here, but what we’re concerning ourselves with is just the decreasing. So, because this is a hat knit in the round,
every round is going to be read from right to left, and each square is one stitch, and
the color is represented in the square. You can see all this. So, this one is blue, white, blue, blue, blue,
white, white, white. Everything’s in knit stitch. Okay. So, you can see how that goes. We have all the stitches here, and there are
just 22 stitches. And again, I just completely made this up,
but this much of the chart, this whole chart, is repeated several times around to make a
hat, so after you get to stitch 22, you start over here at stitch 1 again. Okay? So, that’s the basics of chart reading. So, you’ve been working along for lots of
rows, doing your repeats, going onto the next row, and then, suddenly, you get to row three
here, and you have a white stitch and then a gray stitch, and like, “Wait a minute. What is this?” And sometimes, in the key, it will say, “No
stitch.” And you’re like, “How do I work a no-stitch?” This is the real question that I get. This is people saying, “What is a gray stitch? What is a no-stitch? How do I do a no-stitch?” Okay. It’s because this stitch right here, and we
have it in the key, is an SSK. It’s a single-stitch-decrease, left-leaning. And if you are unfamiliar with SSK and you
wanna see it, I’ll give you a link right here to my SSK. It stands for slip-slip-knit. And when we work this slip-slip-knit, we’re
going to decrease out one stitch, and so, boop, this stitch is gone. So, when you’re reading the chart, you’re
gonna knit a white one, let your eyes glaze over this, and then in white, do an SSK, and
then work across your row until you get to this stitch that has a mark in it, and this
one is a knit-two-together. And after you work the knit-two-together,
you won’t have any stitches left, so your eyes can just, again, glaze over this gray
stitch. And then, round four, that stitch is still
grayed out. It did not grow back. So, you’re just going to read the chart all
the way across, just ignoring the gray stitches. Then, we get to round five, and we have a
blue stitch and then two gray stitches. Just ignore them. And then, an SSK. And the reason we have two is because we still
have…this stitch is still decreased out, and then we have another one. Work your way across, and then we have a knit-two-together,
which leaves us with, now, two stitches decreased. And then, you’ll repeat this all the way around
the hat, and that’s how it’s gonna go. As you’re shaping the crown of the hat and
you’re getting to the top of it, there are fewer and fewer stitches, and that’s represented
here. You can see fewer and fewer stitches until
you get to the tippy top. And then, right here, at the very top of the
crown, we have a different symbol, and this is a double decrease. And there are different ways of working double
decreases. The one that I have here is one that I like,
which is slip one, knit two together, pass, slip, stitch over, which is kind of a bind-off,
and you bind off that last stitch over the knit-two-together you just worked. But it’s a double decrease, which gives us
two empty squares. So, we went from three stitches to one stitch
because this is a double decrease and it’s worked in blue. You always work the decrease in the color
that the symbol is in. And then, after you do that as many times
as this is repeated around the hat, let’s say it’s repeated five times around the hat,
you’ll have five stitches left, and you break the yarn, cut it, and take a tapestry needle,
and just run that yarn through the last few stitches. So, really, as we’re looking at this, the
gray stitches are no-stitches, and don’t overthink it. There’s just no stitch there. Just ignore them. Jump from the first colored stitch to the
next colored stitch, ignoring the grayed out ones. I know charted patterns can be a bit intimidating
for people. I’m gonna say, “Give it a try. Give it a try with a simple pattern.” I’ll give you a link to my “Learn to Knit
a Fair Isle Hat” here, which is pretty simple. It’s really simple, actually. It’s your first Fair Isle project, so I have
kept it pretty simple. But I’ve had people ask me, also, “Do you
know where I can find Fair Isle patterns that are written out and not charted?” And I think you’re gonna have a really tough
time finding those instructions because it’s really unlikely that a designer is going to
say, “Knit four blue, knit two red, knit four blue, knit three red.” You know, it’s much much easier to put it
in chart. So, if you like knitting Fair Isle and you’re
intimidated by charts, I say, “Give it a try.” These are the sort of things that you can
just keep working on and getting better at. The more you do them, the more comfortable
you are, the better you are at them. Anyway, I hope that answers your questions
about decreases in charted patterns. Good luck. [00:07:01]
[music] [00:07:20]

51 thoughts on “Knitting Help – Decreasing in a Charted Pattern

  • I was wondering if you could clear something up for me, perhaps on the podcast: the term "Fair Isle" seems to be used interchangeably with or instead of "stranded" knitting by a lot of well-known knitters. I thought Fair Isle was a specific type of stranded knitting, but not all stranded knitting is Fair Isle. Thanks for all the help!

  • The way you easily explain things, especially with chart patterns, has made me more and more enamored with them! I do have a question about today's video. I understood the direction in the one stitch '' meant to SSK. I know how to work the SSK, but my question is the very next stitch on the chart. That stitch is NOT one of the stitches included in the SSK, correct? In other words, that stitch is the very next stitch you work once you've completed the SSK? Sometimes it's these little things that completely flummox me! Thank you for this great video and all of the videos you've produce that have taught me so much!!

  • This is an excellent explanation of how to read a charted pattern, Staci! I loom knit and have been double knitting with 2 colors for almost a year now. I have a needle knit Star Wars color charted hat pattern that I want to do for my husband that incorporates 3 colors with decreases. I'll be able to decrease on the loom I'm going to use (kisslooms.com) and am very anxious to get started on it 🙂

    I love getting notifications of new videos from you! It's like seeing that a new episode of a favorite t.v. series has been released 🙂 Thank you so much for all the time you put into making these for us. You have contributed greatly to making better knitters out of us all 🙂

  • Actually, a few patterns from the early 1940s have written out colorwork, and especially Victorian patterns (when working colorwork) also have the instructions written out instead of charted.

    I love your videos and your Podcast!

  • Oh my gosh, i think I get It! I made multiple plain hats this winter and have avoided fair isle simply because it seemed too confusing. Thank you; despite heading into summer, I’m going to try this. Hi hi, hi ho, it’s off to knit I go 😀

  • I understand what you are describing, however my question is the actual decreases. I know how to do an SSK and a knit 2 tog. So…Does the square take into account that knit 2 tog takes 2 stitches? but it's represented as one square? Is that correct?

  • I love fair isle. I'm looking for a fair isle pattern for an adult poncho that's in the round. I'm not having any luck.

  • Oooo I wonder if you could almost encorperate German short rows. I'm obsessed with GSRs, I might have to try with mittens 💖. Finger up GSR fair isle mitts? Lol

  • I feel like you're reading my mind! I've been making the Mitten Garland Advent calendar by Kathy Lewinski on Ravelry and I hadn't done charted decreases like that before but once I figured it out I flew right through it.

  • When patterns are only charted and not written out blind and other visually disabled knitters are shut out of using the pattern. More and more patterns are being written with charts only, because charts are easier for the designer while making it impossible for lots of knitters. Worst is when a pattern doesn't tell you that it is charted only.

  • This was a very good video as all your videos are, but I have problems with in a pattern stitch panel within say an armhole dec. Have you any suggestions for that? I've tried all over the place and there doesn't seem to be any hard and fast rule/way to do this. Tia

  • this is really great help!!!!Wow!!!! I have also been on a Fair Isle kick. I compile my own charts and am having a blast. I actually draw them from left to right and reverse them in my mind. Thanks again.

  • Correction: You would have 10 stitches left, if we were meant to follow the chart given. Remember that little white stitch on the right side! besides 10 stitches would make more sense for the top of a hat anyway 🙂

  • OMG!!!! I have been searching for a video to explain this right. I completely understand now and am ready for my first 2 color hat. Thank you..thank you…thank you so much.

  • have you ever thought about trying to do instruction for people who are interested in learning how to create patterns themselves? and what the steps are for that? or is that just something that comes with experience, observation and the innate desire to create that just propels you forward? I've really enjoyed picking up knitting again, and your videos have been so helpful! but I tend towards always wanting to figure out how to plan it, make it, understand it etc… and chart my own course! Tips?

  • This is best tutorial on chart reading i've seen! You are a wonderful educator. I had been very confused by charts' no-stitch boxes. Thank you very much.

  • Hi Staci, great video and explanation. Just curious, if the hat is knitted in the round, why are there left and right leaning decreases? Or this one is another thing?

  • Just a quick note to help people avoid confusion. You say that there will be only one stitch left in each repeat after completing the double decrease at the top of the (mythical) hat pattern. There will actually be two stitches left if you include the very first stitch in each repeat, which continues uninterrupted up the right side of the chart. So, to be clear, if this pattern were repeated 5 times around, you would have 10 stitches remaining on the needles, not 5.

  • Doing fair isle hats myself, check out Arne and Carlos website for written and charted fair isle patterns, and love the explanation of the chart you give, thank you!

  • I can't believe I just saw this immediately after I was going over this EXACT issue with a knitting buddy! Again, thank you for the wonderful, clear video that people can come back and review over and over again! Please do not stop! You are one of my favorites!

  • I wanted to ask if your knitting a pattern that you want knit extra rows but in pattern tell you you need 170 yards and you have 270 yards and wish to make use of most if not almost all the skein how do you approximate how many extra rows you can knit before binding off?
    I hope you get what I am saying 😕

  • Thank you! This was a fantastic video. I have never had a problem using fair isle charts for straight knitting but the decreases always confused me- it's all about over thinking it. Your explanation was JUST what I needed! THANK YOU!

  • Fabulous, thank you and so simple once it’s explained. The decrease on my charted lace pattern had me totally stumped, off to tame the beast! Thank you x

  • Thank you! You have taught me to knit and now just when I needed you again, you were here. (Mine was a decrease on the top of colorwork mittens). Thank you so much!

  • What about increases in a charted Fair Isle pattern? I am knitting sleeves in the round with increases with a 12 stitch pattern repeat. The increases are at the beginning and end of approx. every 6th row – and within the 12 stitch pattern.

  • I love your videos . I am working a graph which calls for decrease 6 in the middle of the work. I have practiced from the instruction I have, but it doesn’t look right. Can you help me ?
    .

  • the question I have is when you have two different color stitches on an ssk so the first one is black the second one is white and the decrease block is black so you knit with the black the two slipped stitches how do you keep the white from peeking thru after you knitted the two stitches together? I am working a mitten but I am sure this would happen with ta hat too.
    thanks.

  • Thank you SO much. After many years of knitting, I’ve recently embarked on knitting on the round and found the charts mind-boggling. 😱 What I thought was an easy little, semi-fairisle patterned bobble hat, has had me completely flummoxed on the decreases. You’ve made it all so simple and my TV has never had so many You Tube tutorials on it to assist.
    I can’t thank you enough!

  • I only wish everyone could be as concise as you A big thank you as I am a very visual learner Having said that I love your audio cast

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