Japanese Pattern Charts

Several people have asked for charting lessons. Many want specific help on learning to read Japanese pattern charts, and many want to learn to draft their own patterns. We will need to address this in several different lessons, because there is far too much information to fit into just one. Copyright violations are something we want to avoid, so only the instructions for the tank top itself are included here; Snoopy is a copyrighted character. I am using a scan from a 1978 issue. This particular pattern was chosen because it includes the most common knitting symbols.

charting example

Since it is a tank top, the pattern outline should be easily understood by all knitters. If you are not familiar with Japanese charted patterns, please take a moment to study this page. I think you will find it interesting. We will talk more about this chart in lesson 1.
original Japanese pattern

I learned to chart machine knitting patterns in 1974, using Studio’s Silver Knitting Book. The method in this book is very similar to that used by current Japanese publishing companies (probably because it was written and printed in Japan!) It uses the shaping formula of stitches-rows-times, which I prefer; it is the formula used in most, but not all, American charted patterns. Japanese patterns, on the other hand, almost always use the formula of rows-stitches-times. It is very important to know which method is used in the pattern, and we will cover it in future lessons.

Written patterns for the Dolman Sweater, and Men’s Tuck Stitch Sweater, including schematics are already available in the Archives section, so they will not be repeated here. Download them and print them out, along with these charts. The Dolman schematic shows both sizes, but the Men’s Tuck Stitch Pullover shows only the smallest size because there was too much information to fit on one chart. I usually chart each size separately to keep the confusion down.

In addition to the written patterns and schematics, you will need clean paper, a pencil or mechanical pencil, and a good eraser (just in case!) You will also find a calculator, a ruler and french curve (available in office supply stores) helpful.

When you have collected all your supplies, and printed out the pattern(s), go on to Lesson 1

Japanese Charting Lesson 1  General information and preparing to draft knitting patterns using the Japanese method.

Japanese Charting Lesson 2  What does all of this mean? Interpreting Japanese symbols and drafting formulas.

Dolman Sweater Chart  What a charted version of the Ladies Dolman Pullover looks like

Tuck Stitch Pullover  What a charted version of the Mens Tuck Stitch Pullover looks like

Original version of this tutorial was copyrighted and uploaded to the old Clearwater Knits website in 1998.