The Editor Wants to Know- Charts or Written Pattern?
Combining knitting and crochet-- From your perspective, do you believe this to be a total faux pas, or do you absolutely relish in the thought of using both crafts together? Please share your thoughts!

Charts or Written Pattern. Which do you prefer?

More and more knitting patterns are converting to charts over written instructions. In Creative Knitting magazine, we always provide both. However, the question remains: do we really need both? I’d like to ask you all to weigh in on this discussion.

Are you a “visual” knitter and rely upon the chart only, or do you feel it is necessary to have that chart nearby as a way to double-check the pattern?

Here’s the burning question:

Do you like to have both the written pattern and chart when referring to a knitting pattern or do you prefer one over the other?

Do you find it comforting to know that the written pattern is there with a tip or two just in case you run into some confusion?

Let’s start the conversation by leaving your comment below, or visit the Creative Knitting Facebook page, but clicking here.

146 Responses to The Editor Wants to Know- Charts or Written Pattern?

  1. Margaret says:

    Personally I prefer charts over written instruction. However, having both would really help, if something on the chart is not working out, I could double check the written instruction.

  2. JoAnn says:

    Written out please!!

  3. Ann-Marie Galipeau says:

    written- that is the way my mother and aunt taught me.

  4. elizabeth Fahey says:

    Written! I end up having to write out the charts…time consuming!

  5. Dottie says:

    I use both but rely more on the written instructions than the chart.

  6. Norah Ledermann says:

    I like both. Having a cross reference if you run into difficulty is great and it often clarifies a problem without having to wait to find someone else to help.

  7. Sue Jackson says:

    Absolutely, I need the directions written out. I’m knitting Christmas ornaments from Sweden by chart only and it seems more time consuming as I check and recheck the pattern. These are small; I can’t imagine following a chart only for a larger knitted piece. The chart, however, is a good addition to the written directions so I can see the direction of the pattern. Thanks for asking!

  8. Carol S says:

    I’d really prefer to have both, but if I had to pick one over the other, I’d rather have a chart. I HATE when there are long, involved written-out instructions without a chart to provide visual clues!

  9. Judy Menzel says:

    Written. Without a doubt!

  10. Elaine Roulston says:

    I prefer just the pattern i have used the charts as well but i can do without.


  11. Millie says:

    I prefer both!

  12. Gretchen X says:

    I prefer the written pattern.

  13. Jill says:

    I prefer written over charts.i think it’s much easier

  14. Dorothy says:

    I prefer written patterns, with a chart for backup, I find it hard to follow just a chart

  15. Savannagal says:

    Definitely written out.

    By the way, it’s hard to read the CAPTCHA sometimes. So when I’ve typed the wrong letters/numbers, I have to try again. No problem there. Problem is your system wipes away my comments. Sometimes I don’t even bother to leave a comment because I have to retype everything I just typed the first time. You might want to fix it so the comments remain there and the person just has to retype the CAPTCHA instead of the whole comment, their name and email.

    • Kara says:

      Sorry about the CAPTCHA, but that’s part of the security to make sure you are real person. LOL! Thanks for your patience, and I hope you’ll keep reading.

      Take care!

  16. Shirley Clark says:

    I prefer written directions but I’m trying to learn how to read charts. Instructions on reading charts would be helpful.

  17. Jane says:

    I prefer the written instructions. However, the chart comes in handy when I have a problem. So, I vote for BOTH!

  18. Sherry Akers says:

    Written instruction please.

  19. Anita M Endeman says:

    Both. Written is great for step by step. Charts help me visualize the whole pattern.

  20. Eileen says:

    Written and chart if not both than written

  21. Catherine Cordeiro says:

    Written, the charts are to hard on my old eyes!

  22. Patricia M. says:

    I much prefer the written pattern. If the charted pattern large, I have trouble following it. I most times won’t make something if it only has charted instructions.

  23. Patricia M. says:

    I prefer the written pattern. If the charted pattern is large with a lot of detail I have trouble following it. It reminds me of cross-stitching which I don’t do anymore because of the charts. If a pattern has only charts I’m not likely to make it.

  24. bona says:

    I prefer charts

  25. Terry says:

    Written please!!!!!

  26. Irene says:

    Written! You can INCLUDE a chart if you prefer.
    There are too many designers/publishers who use charts exclusively beyond the scope of lace and picture knitting. I ignore such patterns and designers when it has become such laziness to write it out and use a computer program to “design”.

  27. Ginette Stakou says:


    I use both, but I prefer charts. Please keep them both. Love your magazines.

  28. Toni says:

    Written please cannot read a chart. Trying to learn.

  29. Anita says:

    Written as I do not know how to read a chart yet. I am learning though and still think both would be beneficial once I feel comfortable with the charts.

  30. Lee Ann says:

    I prefer both. When I first learned to knit, I used instructions. I now use both instructions and chart. I like to learn new things and I actually learned about charts and how to use them thru your magazine. thanks.

  31. Fran Tanner says:

    Loving CHARTS in our Block-A-MONTH (cable) KAL…….; don’t need written patterns for a good chart

  32. Allison says:

    I prefer charts. You get more information in less space.

  33. Connie says:


    for non native-speakers charted instructions are much easier to read!!!!

    charted instructions help to keep orientation when knitting visually, how to find back to the actual “place” in a written instruction?

    written instructions with all these abbreviations are nearly unusable for non-english knitters

    99% of the knitting instructions are charted, why confuse the users with written instructions?

  34. Debbie says:

    Definitely written!

  35. Julie says:

    I prefer charts, with small amounts of written instructions on putting the item together, etc.

  36. Grace B says:

    Dear folks,
    I prefer writing, after a number of strokes I can’t recall the chart meanings.
    I host a fiber knitting group called EweKnitTea, all the gals voted for both writing and chart!
    Please remember those with limited eyesight and keep a readable font for us baby boomers , Please!
    Shalom, Grace

  37. Louise A Tracy says:

    Written please

  38. I much prefer charts; I get lost in lines of text. But as you can see from the comments there are a lot of knitters that prefer the written directions. I always include both in my patterns, in order to appeal to both chart readers and line by line knitters.

  39. June says:

    I use only the written instructions. I stopped cross stitch because of my eyesight. If a pattern has a chart only, I would not be able to follow it. I love the magazine providing both because there are others that feel they need a chart,

  40. Rlrcf says:

    Written instructions PLEASE! When the eye sight starts failing, reading charts is almost impossible.

  41. Rlrcf says:

    Written instructions PLEASE. When the eye sight starts failing, charts are almost impossible to read.

  42. Kathy Fraley says:

    I prefer both. I learned using written instructions, but am beginning to use charts. Having both gave me the courage to try using a chart the first time, so I could be sure I was reading it correctly.

  43. Henrietta says:

    At age 85 I only know the written word – charts are too complicated for me at this age. I prefer written instructions anytime – but, if it helps other people, then written and charts are fine.

  44. Surose312 says:

    I prefer both, written and charted. It depends on the pattern/chart as to which I use most but often times swap between the two.

  45. Michele D says:

    I prefer written instructions. I hope as I improve as a knitter that I will be able to use charts but I am not there yet.

  46. Anne Hurlburt says:

    Please continue to provide both! The written instructions help me understand the chart, and vice-versa. It has also helped me see how I can use a stitch pattern, such as a cable, in another project. For example, I just finished the First Lace Cowl from the spring issue and am getting ready to use the cable chart to substitute for the cable in another pattern to make a coordinating pair of mitts. I have only been knitting about a year, and enjoy your patterns partly because you provide such complete instructions.

  47. Anne Hurlburt says:

    And may I also add… I need to scan the charts and enlarge them a LOT so I can see them I do wish they were larger to start with but understand that space is an issue so I accept that I will need to continue to do that. Then when I print out the enlarged version I use colored pencil or highlighter to color code stitches for even better visibility.

  48. Jodi DeGeorge says:

    Charts! So much easier to find your place. Written for beginners, then once you learn how to read your knitting charts are where it’s AT!

  49. Chemical Mum says:

    Charts! I always need to convert text in chart!

  50. Teresa says:

    I prefer both the written instructions AND a chart. The instructions help the “self-taught” side of me whereas the chart helps the “visual” side of me.

    Thank you for asking and keep up the great work on the magazine!Ijust renewed for another year in the digital world.

  51. KayDee says:

    I now prefer charts because I can “see” the row below and it helps me catch mistakes – using stitch markers to show repeats, of course. Written instructions help as well, because I am relatively new at this chart business, but I love them now – even for cables which used to look so hard now look like a self-describing picture!

  52. Betty Dietz says:

    I’m just learning to read and follow a chart. I refer back to the written part to make sure I following the pattern correctly. I would say both.

  53. Rhea says:

    I like to have both, especially for lace knitting. If it’s not lace, written out is usually fine.

  54. Paula says:

    I like to have both written and chart info, but if I can only have one it would be written.

  55. Beate Gravel says:

    I also Prefer the pattern to be written
    Rather then following the chart it seems like a whole new language for me. Trying to learn and apply the chart not my cup of tea.

  56. Ute says:

    Charts are the way to go. Written instructions are wrong, more often than charts. I also find it easy to lose my place in written instructions, much easier than on a chart. And last but not least, often the chart is what allows me to take a project with me when I travel. I just need to copy the chart and I am ready to go. Written instructions often take more than a single page, and that’s hard to deal with while knitting on the go. Sure, written instructions can be helpful, but for me charts are the way to go!

  57. Alicia Grayson says:

    I prefer written instructions but like to have the chart as a backup.

  58. Andrea Gabel says:

    Written, positively! Sorry, but I would switch subscriptions if you offered charts only! Love your Mag…it is the best overall on market!!!!

  59. Eleanor says:

    I really like using the charts, as I have found that sometimes the lines of the written pattern have very little space between them, which makes them hard to follow. That being said, it’s nice having both to be able to double check between the two.

    Please don’t get rid of either if it isn’t necessary, but if it is, maybe make the version not included in the print copy available online using a code or something inside in the magazine so people can access/print what they need.

  60. I like having both, I’m quite happy working from a chart and use them most of the time but it’s nice to have it written out as well just to be able to double check instructions

  61. Denise says:

    I prefer charts because I get lost in the text but I can see that many others like the written instructions.

    I just downloaded the new Winter issue and saw the article about Stitch Maps. I hope it is not the way that charting is going for knitters to follow in a pattern. It may be a good tool for designing a pattern but the wavy lines are confusing and it would be difficult to mark which row you are on. Give me a nice rectangular, straight line chart and I can “see” what the knitting is doing just fine.

  62. Gini says:

    Charts please

  63. Reena Bino says:

    Written instructions are the best and I think that I can knit faster with the written instructions but at the same time charts can be used as a reference.

  64. Anne Martin says:

    Definitely written

  65. Linda Badcock says:

    Charts, please! I have sometimes had to create my own chart when only written instructions are provided. I find that it’s much easier to get lost in a string of K2tog, ssk, YO etc. than in the diagram that lays out the pattern as it is to be created.

  66. Diane O'Connell says:

    Written please

  67. Bhavana Stephen says:


  68. Theresa says:

    Written please! Periodically I like to look at a chart to get a mental image of where”things”are going, but I prefer written. Thank you.

  69. Peggy Droddy says:

    Knitting for years still don’t always understand charts,
    please give both for those that need them.

  70. Peggy Droddy says:

    Been knitting for years still don’t always understand charts, please keep giving both for those who need them.

  71. Doreen Bulleman says:

    I definitely prefer the written instructions. I find it too easy to get lost on the chart. It looks like you’re going to have to do both, from all the comments.

  72. Doreen Bulleman says:

    i definitely prefer the written instructions. I sometimes get lost using the chart.

  73. Judith says:

    I have always used written instructions and the charts dumbfound me. I am trying to learn off and on, as I’m afraid someone will make the decision to use charts as primary. Hopefully not while I am still an avid knitter/crocheter.

  74. Melissa says:

    Please continue to do both. I started teaching myself how to knit, and don’t know how to read a chart yet. If a magazine doesn’t have written instructions, I don’t even look at it. After reading some of the other comments, I’m sure some of them feel the same way. Thank you for a beautiful magazine!

  75. Linda says:

    Charts!! A picture is worth a thousand words 🙂

  76. Debra McMillan says:

    I like to have both. I learned to knit using written and a few years ago learned to knit by charts which I enjoy. Sometimes it helps to have both for reference. What I find most helpful is to have a glossary of abbreviations and symbols since not all authors use the same ones.

  77. Susan U says:

    I prefer both. I’m learning how to read charts but if I get confused with the written instructions or I think I’m stuck, the chart is a handy reference.

  78. Ilehlia says:

    I’m visual so I prefer a chart. As long as there is a complete legend explaining the symbols, that’s all I need. I get confused trying to keep my place in a row of abbreviations, even though that’s how I originally learned.

  79. Carol Sorsdahl says:

    Since I started using Knit Companion I like having both the chart and the written instructions. With Knit Companion I can have the chart and a pop up key with line by line written instructions. It is the best of both worlds.

  80. Cathy Schinler says:

    I prefer the written instructions always, however I am trying to learn the charts. Its a bit confusing when everyone doesn’t use the same symbols. Some are close but not exact. Since I’m a gmail user I also like to put the written instructions in a task list so I can access on my phone or tablet when I leave my printed copy behind. Just makes life a bit easier. Plus on my task list when I finish the row I can check it off and not lose my place and with it syncing with all devices I can access any where, any device. My little trick 🙂

  81. Dorothy Bonner (DottieGB2) says:

    I was taught to read instructions. I have no idea how to read a chart.

  82. Beverley Radloff says:

    I am just coming back to knitting after about 40 years. I learned to read the pattern, but haven’t yet taken the time to learn how to read a chart. Therefore, I prefer the written pattern! Thanks for asking!!

  83. Yvonne DeBeir says:

    I really find both helpful. And it also depends on the pattern.

  84. Nancy says:

    Unfortunately, we don’t all learn the same way – some are visual, others are fine with just words (and symbols). Please keep BOTH charts and written. Thank you.

  85. Nancy says:

    Unfortunately, not everyone learns the same way: some are visual (charts) and some learn better with written instructions. Please keep BOTH. Thank you.

  86. Mary Jane Cagle says:

    I really prefer written but having the chart also helps.

  87. Jane says:

    Pretty please written! Those charts don’t make sense to this old lady.

  88. Marlene says:

    I prefer written and love having both. I can see why people prefer different methods. As a retired person my method of learning is different from a younger person. We were taught by reading our text books. The younger generations learned by computers. So charts are more common for them.

  89. Shirley says:

    Some mention that well written charts are adequate for knitting anything. Others say they use written instructions for clarification of charts. Not all charts are well written. Not all knitters are at the same level of expertise at the time of publication of a pattern. Unless you want to cater exclusively to the visual and/or expert knitters, you need to continue publishing both written and charted instructions.

  90. Vanessa says:

    I find charts helpful for color work, but otherwise I prefer written instructions. I have translated color-work charts into stitch patterns.

  91. Jackie says:

    I’m so used to the written patterns. But I think a chart would also help when you get stuck in the written pattern. So I think both would be helpful.

  92. Donna Farrell says:

    I prefer the written instructions, because having to read from left to right then right to left is difficult. I learned to knit using the written patterns, so I find them easier to follow.

  93. Necia says:

    I personally skip over patterns that only have charts, they confuse me too much. Written patterns or both please.

  94. Shari White says:

    I like both, but if I could only have one, I would prefer the chart. Whenever I get just written directions, I often chart them out. This is very time consuming up front, but it makes the knitting go much faster for me.

  95. Ellisen says:

    I like written instructions the best. Knitting Charts are good, too. However, I cannot figure out how to read a crochet chart.

  96. Linda says:

    I prefer written instructions. I’m just beginning to get the hang of reading a chart.

  97. Sue Horowitz says:

    I like both forms.

  98. Millie says:

    Both for me please!

  99. Eileen S. says:

    Please have the pattern written out. Charts take too long to study and are mostly too small to keep track of.
    A written pattern can be followed stitch by stitch.

  100. Marianne Inman says:

    I am learning charts, so I am always thankful to have the written to refer to as I work the pattern. It is still confusing for me to read right to left and if I have to leave the work for a bit, when I return I am back to the left to right reading.. so thank you for the written as I use your magazine for patterns so often!

  101. Catherine Smyth says:

    I like using both, charted and written. If one is unclear then I compare to the other. Have caught mistakes by using both before I get to far.

  102. Meliney says:

    I prefer written, and if a pattern is only charted, I write it out before I start to knit it. I think written patterns are much faster and easier on the eyes.

  103. Faye says:

    I prefer written row by row or round by round instructions.

  104. Regina K says:

    for me it’s charts all the way. i can follow a pattern from anywhere in the world with no problems with a GOOD chart.

  105. Susan D says:

    I prefer to knit from the written instructions; however, the chart helps to get a visual on how the different types of stitches fit together. So, both for me!

    Love your publication!!

  106. Beverly Lawler says:

    I like both, especially if I’m knitting a complicated pattern like a triangular shawl.

  107. KScott says:

    I can use both, but I strongly prefer charts – unless it’s a very simple 2-4 row repeat of 4 stitches or less (i.e. easily memorized).

  108. Betty Goldberg says:

    I prefer written ones because I have never worked from charts. Is there an easy charts learning book or pattern that I would be able to learn from

  109. Ronnie Gosnell says:

    It is SO wonderful to get both- but if I have to chose one, then written for sure~!

  110. Donna says:

    I generally use charts when knitting a pattern but like to have the written available as a reference.

  111. Marlene Del Vecchio says:

    Definitely written

  112. Marlene Del Vecchio says:

    Written for sure

  113. Beverly Hart says:

    I prefer both. On shawls I use the charts but I like to have the written as well to double check the accuracy and in case I have trouble starting or following the chart.

  114. Sandra says:

    written all the way. Charts are too small and can be confusing.

  115. I never use charts.
    The written pattern is great.

  116. Vera Tannenbaum says:

    I prefer to have the written pattern and the chart together if possible. I have found it very helpful to refer to the other one if I have a question. Between both, my question is usually resolved.

  117. Bekah says:

    I primarily use charts, but like to have the written too as a reference. I was using one pattern that didn’t indicate the one column was a salvage stitch and wasn’t part of the pattern through the repeat across the row. Having the written was able to clarify that for me.

  118. Sue White says:

    Prefer written but sometimes it’s better to have both

  119. Nancy Anderson says:

    It used to be written instructions, but if the pattern has a chart all done, I will work that pattern before another without a chart.

  120. Bethanne says:

    Both for me. Although I follow the written instructions, if I find myself lost in the pattern (put it down for a length of time without marking where I’m at) then I’ll often refer to the chart to figure it out.

  121. Ellen Burns says:

    I prefer to use written instructions. I do not like trying to figure out a chart, but much prefer written instructions. That is the way I learned to knit, and I would not try a pattern that is only in chart form.

  122. Linda Tamburino says:

    I have knitted for decades without charts. I find them very confusing. If a pattern has only a chart, I will skip it in favor of one with written instructions.

  123. Kathleen Libbey says:

    Please continue printing the charts. I need them as i am a visual learner. I do use the written pattern to double-check my chart interpretation, though. I love having a chart so I can “see” my knitting before I dig in. If i have a written pattern, only, I often chart it manually for ease of use but that takes valuable time away from knitting.

  124. Sue says:

    Written for lace and cables, but chart for colour work.
    I find it too time consuming to translate the chart as it takes longer than reading the written instructions.
    I can see why charts are used in publications as it takes less room and therefore paper. However in this digital age (I subscribe to USA magazines not available in the UK), it makes sense to have both.

  125. Sharon Durant says:

    I prefer written instructions, since that is what I learned… but sometimes, I chart out my work to “visualize” what’s going on…. I recommend keeping both in Creative Knitting. It’s all about promoting our craft to others and ensuring that we are all successful and satisfied! IMHO, of course 🙂

  126. Donna R Hayes says:

    I like to knit from charts but when I am uncertain about something new in the chart I will refer to the written pattern.

  127. Deanna Fowler says:

    It really depends on the pattern, I use both chart and written instructions, I am more comfortable with the written because you need to have something to move along each row on the chart. I have tried the magnetic page things and ended up with sticky notes working best for me.

  128. R E Homola says:

    Keep both, we can double check that way.

  129. Barb says:

    I always use the written patt. It is the way I learned 60 years ago and charts are really confusing to me. I always lose my place. I don’t mind having both printed,as Creative Knitting is the only magazine I subscribe to that has both. Needless to say, I don’t bother with the others anymore!! C.K. is my favorite anyway!!

  130. Kathy says:

    Both! I find I follow the chart but want the written to confirm.

  131. Sandy Gantenbein says:

    I really find written much simpler and quicker.

  132. Sandy Gantenbein says:

    I like the written much better.

  133. It is so helpful to have both; it helps me develop my skills; I understand there may be constraints with printing/publishing expenses. Thank you for such a wonderful, informative magazine

  134. knitandsewjean says:

    I prefer charts, with written as a backup in case of questions.

  135. Written, please. I am a verbal learner and can’t encompass the charts. Have dropped subscriptions to magazines that started publishing the patterns as charts, as they are useless to me- especially the lace ones.

  136. Beth Walsh says:

    I usually read through the written instructions first before I even begin a knitted project if there is a chart I will look it over to get an idea of how the pattern should progress. I don’t usually use the chart alone as I too have eyes that are not as young as they used to be and I have a tendency to lose my place, not to mention that my grandchildren are a pleasant distraction that get’s me lost.

  137. Donna says:

    Written please! Although I can read and follow a chart it tends to take me much longer to get the project done.

  138. Kathleen Bazzinotti says:

    Both, I can follow the chart but also would like to read the pattern.

  139. Nancy Irvin says:

    Written please. I continue to be confused by charts.

  140. Sandy Dover says:

    I prefer written instructions. It just seems to be easier for me to follow.

  141. Carole Lake says:

    Written out. Please.

  142. Cindy says:

    I like both, it helps to refer to written directions if I don’t understand the chart and vice versa

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