Colorwork charts and a free pattern

I’m gonna start this post off with a free coffee sleeve pattern (click the link just before this or the picture above to get the PDF). Coffee sleeve patterns for everyone! I’m like Oprah. Right? Our names both start with the same letter. Coffee sleeves aren’t just for hot coffee, they are great for the Slurpees to keep your fingertips from freezing off. Or for the soon to be re-released Mocha Coconut Frappucino which I am pretty excited about. Anyways, this post is all about how to make sense of the charts in this and other patterns, so keep reading.

Charts are so basic. They are a graphic representation of what you are knitting. Each square represents a stitch. Each row represents a row. Unlike written out instructions, which would be something like one green, two blue, one green ect, they are read from left to right (from the bottom up). Which might seem strange, but makes sense when you are knitting if it doesn’t right now. Usually there are numbers along the bottom which point this out. In the case of colorwork not done in the round,  you knit one row from either the left or right depending on the pattern, and then start the next row at the same side you ended at, kind of like an S formation.

Above you’ll see the chart for the most basic of the three sleeves, a 3 color snowflake design. When you look at it you’ll see what I mean about the numbers and going from left to right. You might also notice that the numbers only go up to 10, whereas the pattern has you cast on 60 stitches. And there are some grey squares in there. What’s the deal with that? 10 stitches is what’s called the pattern repeat. Instead of charting out the whole 60 stitches, in this case I just charted out the pattern repeats. This means you repeat these 10 stitches across the row until you get the end and have worked all 60 stitches. But what about those grey squares? If you look closely, you’ll see that there is a square around the first three stitches. If you see a square like that around a section in a chart, that is the pattern repeat. In this case, the arrows repeat every three rows, but the snowflake every 10, so while the chart is 10 stitches wide, the pattern repeat for the arrows doesn’t go into that nicely.  But they both go into 60 well. Does that make sense?

Along with the charts for the patterns, I’ve included a symbol chart. They are kind of hard to read as is, but that’s because I’ve intended them to be colored in. Sometimes when I am knitting, I choose colors that make the chart confusing. Like using orange where the purple is and vice versa. So it’s nice to have a chart like this to color in with whatever colors are being used. And usually somewhere in a pattern you’ll find a key like the one below that tells you what color is what. Some charts have symbols for things like decreases and increases, so always look for a key to tell you what all those squiggles mean.

In the bird chart, there is an extra chart with red with a note saying that the red stitches are marked so you can add them in with duplicate stitch. This is done AFTER you are finished knitting so that three colors don’t need to be carried all at once. Especially since the red is just focused in one smaller area, those would be some long floats. This is a great link if you don’t know how to duplicate stitch. You also might notice in this chart that there is a whole lot of long stretches of blue. That means that this chart is a bit trickier as you will have to deal with longer floats, which I will talk about tomorrow.

So that’s my primer on charts. Check back tomorrow for a post on how to get started knitting with all those colors and don’t forget about the contest where you can win this pattern in cute booklet form with some yarn to get going and some patterns..

  • The bird chart is so cute. I’m thinking about what else I could put it on.

    • Anonymous


  • most awesome coffee sleeves i’ve seen! thanks for all the explanation for the charts too, maybe one day i’ll be able to make that (i don’t really know how to knit). will be linking, if you don’t mind! 😀

    • Anonymous

      Thanks so much! And of course 🙂

  • What a lovely post! I have featured these coffee sleeves on our blog – which is all about tea, tea cosies and mug cosies.

    Thank you for sharing it!

  • Julie

    I love the chart explanation. Very helpful! I’ll be linking to this post as a resource for our Summer Colorwork Challenge. Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful patterns!

  • Jess

    Thanks so much for the pattern – I’ve only just started knitting but with your simple instructions was able to make a hat with the lovebird pattern with (relative) ease! Fantastic site x