I recently heard from Accord publishing, as they had someone knitting the LaMancha Watchcap (in the 2006 calendar they produce) who had a question on the chart. There was a knitter who was a bit confused by the “no stitch” part of the chart as she had not seen that before, so I thought I would put a brief explanation here in the advent that there are others. My response is as follows:
This is a common method in charting which is seen where there are not the same number of stitches in each row.
When looking at the chart for the pattern, you will notice that you see the squares where there is no stitch where decreases are worked. The stitch that used to be there is no longer there because it was decreased away (hence “no stitch”). It simply keeps the chart tidy so that stitches are lined up where they are worked. When you come to a “no stitch” square, skip over it to the next square. There is no action in your knitting, it just keeps the chart so that stitches in following rows line up as they do in the knitting.
This method of charting a stitch pattern is used in many major publications, such as Knitters by XRX. It is comparable to charts where you see squares that are simply not there when stitches have been decreased away. Sometimes, particularly if you are dealing with one square at a time, it can be difficult to tell that a square is not there, so making the space black (or gray) can make the chart easier to read.
So, when working across the chart, when you come to one of those “no stitch” squares, ignore it and move to the next square. That square is telling you there used to be a stitch there but not anymore. You don’t do anything with it.
When I did a google search, I had to type in “no stitch symbol on knitting chart” in order to find any results. Sarah Bradberryhas a wonderful site that has patterns from Home Work (published in 1891…this can also be accessed on the internet in the original form, you can view the table of contents hereand continue navigating). Please note that the content on Sarah Bradberry’s site is copyrighted (this would be her presentation of the antique patterns, not the antique patterns themselves).
For those of you who are new to reading knitting charts, it can be a little awkward when you first start just as anything new can be. I myself love charts, because I am used to reading my knitting. This is also a term that some knitters are not used to (some have not been taught this, either). It means simply looking at your knitting and recognizing what the stitches look like. For example, stockinette stitch appears as a knit stitch on the “right side” and a “purl” stitch on the wrong side. Garter stitch, which you can get by either knitting every row or purling every row (typically knitting every row) has the appearance that it does because both sides of the knitting have rows that alternate between the purl stitch rows (the back side of the knit stitch) with the knit stitch rows.
When I was working on a lace dresser scarf this past week while on vacation, I looked at the way the edging was attaching. I knew I would have a line of purl stitches on the right side by working the traditional knit 2 together when attaching the edging (because whenever you work a knit stitch, you have the appearance of a purl stitch on the opposite side of the fabric). I also knew that if I worked a purl two together, I would have a line of knit stitches across the bottom and top of the knitting, which would have created a line. I did not want that. What caused that to happen? By working the purl two together, the stitch that would lie under the other stitch as the decrease is worked while you are looking at it, would be the right hand stitch. In the case of attaching the edging, the stitch on the right hand side is the last stitch of the edging. When you then flip the work over and look at it from the right side, that stitch is now on top (from the back it was the stitch on the bottom, so it makes sense that from the front it would be the stitch on top). If I wanted a line of knit stitches where the edging joined, that would not be an issue. However for me, I like a more subtle effect. So the question then becomes how do I interrupt that line so it is not so obvious.
I have to work a decrease between the last edging stitch and the first stitch of the piece that the edging is attached to. How can I interupt the line of decreases so I don’t have a hard line? By not having the same stitch on top for every decrease. If the last edging stitch is always on top from the front of the work, I would have a line. By working a decrease that places the edging stitch on top while the decrease is worked, this would mean that from the front of the work, the edging stitch would be behind the other stitch in the decrease. Since the same stitch is not always on top, I would not have an unbroken line which would draw the eye to it.
By “reading” my knitting, I was able to choose a purl two together through the back loop as the method I wanted to use. It is all about looking at your knitting and thinking about how what you do looks. It means looking at your knitting, studying what you are doing and recognizing how that affects both sides of your knitting. It also means if you are not sure what will happen with certain things, being willing to try different ways and look to see what the outcome is. For example, I don’t always remember which way a purl two together versus a purl two together through the back loop is going to slant if I work a decrease on the wrong side of the fabric. Is it going to look like a k2tog or a ssk on the right side of the fabric? If I cannot remember, I try one and flip my knitting over and look at it. If I want the decrease to lean to the right, (and you knit in the typical manner), I would want it to look like a ssk. In which case, it needs to be a purl two together.
I could talk more about this but I don’t want to drag it out more. It really is about learning cause and effect with what we do, looking at what we do so that we can make choices based on what we like, not what we are told to do.
Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace