Knitting Graph Paper: Learn More about Knitting Graph Paper and Its Uses

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A pink yarn bullet skein next to a knitting graph book with heart shapes graphed on it and a text overlay which says Knitting Graph Paper: Learn More about Knitting Graph Paper and Its Uses, learnknittingonline.com" followed by the LKO lettermark

Are you frustrated with charting knitting patterns or drawing knitting designs only to find that when you knit up your project, the proportions are all wrong? Well, then knitting graph paper is for you!

As a matter of fact, graph papers can be useful for knitters in many different ways, here a just a few uses:

  • Converting knitting patterns for left-handed people
  • Designing your own patterns
  • Designing intarsia patterns
  • Designing colorwork or fair isle patterns
  • Converting written patterns to charts
  • Converting crochet patterns to knitting

What is Knitting Graph Paper?

Knitting Graph Paper is designed specifically for knitting and features a rectangular rather than a square grid pattern.  

Traditional graph paper typically consists of squares. However, a single knit stitch is not square, it is rectangular. In other words, it is wider than it is tall.

Therefore, when using ordinary graph paper, your designs will be out of proportion.

Dog design graphed on a knitting graphing paper
A puppy design on a Knitting Graph Paper
Dog design graphed on a normal graphing paper
The same puppy design on an Ordinary Graphing Paper

Many graph papers have a heavier line, every 5 stitches. This makes it much easier to count when you are following a pattern.

In addition, it makes it easier to ensure that your pattern is centered/balanced properly when you are designing your own.

Which Size Should I Use for My Knitting Graph Paper?

Knitting graph paper can come in many different sizes. Which size you decide to use will depend on your knitting gauge.

 However, typically you will only need 2 sizes to accommodate most knitting situations:

  • A graph paper that has a ratio of 4:5, and
  • a graph paper that has a ratio of 2:3.

So, which one should you choose?

When to Use a 4:5 Knitting Graph Paper

A book with knitting graph pages in 4:5 ratio.

The most common-sized graph paper for knitters is one with a ratio of 4:5. In fact, this ratio means that when you measure your gauge, 4 stitches are the same length as 5 rows. In other words, 4 stitches over 5 rows should give you a square.

Actually, this ratio size is probably suitable for most knitting projects for most knitters.

However, as with all projects, you should knit a swatch and measure it. If your gauge shows that approx. 40 stitches = 50 rows, then this graph paper is for you.

When to Use a 2:3 Knitting Graph Paper

A book with knitting graph pages in 2:3 ratio.

For projects where you are knitting double or using a more bulky yarn, you will probably find that a graph paper that has a ratio of 2:3 is more suitable.

As a matter of fact, the 2:3 ratio means that 2 stitches have the same length as 3 rows. In other words, if you measure 20 stitches, they should approximately be the same length as 30 rows. In effect, you should have a square.

When Should You Use Knitting Graph Paper?

There is an array of different uses for graph paper designed especially for knitters. We can only mention a few here.

Converting knitting patterns for left-handed people

It can be confusing for left-handed people to read “normal” written knitting patterns. However, if you chart it out, you can use the chart to convert your pattern for left-handed knitting.

Start by charting out the pattern exactly as written. Once completed, it will probably look something like this simple example:

Knitting chart graphed on a knitting graph paper
Moss Stitch Diamonds Knitting Chart

A right-handed knitter will knit row 1 from right to left and row 2 from left to right.

However, a left-handed knitter can use the same chart, but instead, read row 1 from left to right and row 2 from right to left.

Moreover, when left-handed knitters come across an increase or a decrease, all they have to do is make the corresponding stitch match the symbols direction.

Designing your own patterns

Designing a complicated knitting pattern can be virtually impossible unless you are using knitting graph paper.

By using a graph paper, you can chart out the pattern as you go. Furthermore, it is also a great way to record which stitches you have used where, making it easier to recreate the pattern again.

Designing intarsia patterns

Intarsia is a colorwork technique where you knit in blocks of color and it is often referred to as picture knitting. Each color is worked with separate balls of yarn.

Like most colorwork, it is often easier to knit if you have a visual representation of the colors. Hence, the use of graph paper is very common when designing intarsia motifs.

If you design your intarsia motif on a normal graph paper, you will find that your proportions will not be correct when the pattern is knit. As a matter of fact, the pattern will probably look “squashed” from top to bottom when knitted.

Bee intarsia pattern using a knitting graph paper
Intarsia pattern using a Knitting Graph Paper

Bee intarsia pattern using an ordinary graph paper
The same intarsia pattern using an Ordinary Graphing Paper

Most intarsia work is done in the flat. That means that when you knit a right-side row, you read the chart from right to left. Conversely, on the wrong-side row, you read the chart from left to right.

Designing colorwork or Fair Isle patterns

Fair Isle, Icelandic or Nordic knits are popular colorwork patterns. More often than not, these patterns will contain charts that make it really easy to follow the pattern and the color changes.

When you design colorwork patterns, you most likely will design your charts using colors.

However, if you would like to give the knitters the choice to put together the colors themselves, you can avoid assigning specific yarn colors in the chart’s legend.

Instead, the colors on the chart are designated with letters and numbers. Actually, the main color, which is usually the most used color in the project, is usually labeled MC.

As for the other colors, you label them as contrasting colors (CC) and a number.

Graphed fair isle knitting pattern using colored shadings.
Fair Isle pattern using Color-coded Shading
Graphed fair isle knitting pattern using abbreviations.
The same Fair Isle pattern using letters

Converting written patterns to charts

If you are a visual person that finds it hard to read rows upon rows of abbreviations, then knitting charts might be for you.

In fact, it is quite easy to convert the written patterns into charts that are easy to read.

Start from the bottom of your graph paper and work your way up. If you are knitting in the flat, the right-side stitches should be charted from right to left.

Moreover, your wrong-side stitches should be charted from left to right.

Conversely, if you are knitting in the round, all your stitches should be chartered from the right to the left.

Finally, do not forget to number each row or round. If you are knitting in the round, all the numbers should go on the right-hand side of the chart.

On the other hand, if you are knitting flat, the numbers should alternate between the right-hand side and the left-hand side.

Which side you start the numbering on, will depend on whether your first row is a RS or a WS. If it is a RS, start the numbers on the right side, and if it is a WS, start the numbers from the left side.

Converting crochet patterns to knitting

There are many amazing crochet patterns out there. Interestingly, many of them lend themselves well to being converted into knitting patterns.

Having said that, converted crochet patterns will never look the same when knitted. However, you can make your knitted item, so it looks quite similar to the original crocheted item.

Unfortunately, it can be tricky to make the conversion as you will most likely need more knitted rows than crocheted rows. For example, one row of single crochet usually equals one knit and one purl row.

So, unless you use a knitting graph paper to chart out the pattern, you can see that the conversion will be tricky.

Where to get Knitting Graph Paper

There is no doubt that Knitting Graph Paper is useful for many different types of knitting projects. Therefore, here at LKO, we have developed and published a Knitting Graph Book that you can find on Amazon.

Included with the book is an e-supplement that, among other things, shows you a few more uses for the Knitting Graph Paper. In addition, it also contains 10+ design motifs that will get you started using your Knitting Graph Paper Book – Happy Knitting!

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