On Flat Charts for Round Shapes

Two Strands Christmas Ball Free PatternIt’s gratifying to see so many knitters stopping by to check out my patterns. Many of you are new to charted knitting and, as you’ve gotten your feet wet with some of my Christmas Ball patterns, a few of you have posed essentially the same question that a knitter just asked me this afternoon:

I found your Two Strands Christmas Ball on line and loved it! So, I printed out the pattern with the intention of making it.  At this point, I came to a screeching halt! I have never, in all my years (30+) of knitting etc, knitted from a chart.  I am confused by the first row, the chart shows 1 stitch, then white space, then 2 stitches. Are there any knitted stitches in the white space?  Any insight you could give me would certainly be appreciated.  Look forward to hearing from you soon.😃

So, here’s my reply:

Have you ever seen this type of map of the world?
If you were to cut it out and bring the edges together, you’d come up with something approximating a sphere, whereas if you cut out this rectangular map, below, and brought the edges together, you’d only get a cylinder:


The first map, above, is sort of like my Two Strands Christmas Ball knitting chart.

free pattern for a christmas ornament

Two Strands Christmas Ball FREE knitting pattern

If you cut out my knitting chart (well, four attached repeats of my knitting chart) and put them together, like the map at the top…

Two Strands Christmas Ball Free Pattern

they’d form something close to a sphere. Just as with that first map, the white space in the background is meaningless – it’s not part of the map at all, it’s just the background of the flattened sphere. Same thing with my chart.

So, to knit from my chart, as the pattern indicates, you start by casting on 3 chart stitches x 4 repeats = 12 stitches total. Stitches #1, 2 & 3 look like they’re far apart on the chart, but they’re right next to each other on your needles (just as parts of Antarctica look as though they’re thousands of miles apart, but we know that they’re really contiguous.) As you follow the pattern and make the increases in the lower half, where indicated (and, in the upper half, the decreases, where indicated) you’ll see the sphere taking shape and your stitches will remain right next to each other throughout, bottom to top (or South Pole to …North Pole. Ho! Ho! Ho!)


About twostrands

Knitting designer, retailer and instructor specializing in Fair Isle and Nordic design. Website = kidsknits.com Blog = twostrands.com.
This entry was posted in Fair Isle Knitting, Free Charts, Free Knitting Patterns, Knitting, Mary Ann's Designs, Norwegian Knitting, Technique and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to On Flat Charts for Round Shapes

  1. Jackie says:

    This is a great explanation of graph knitting for round shapes!

  2. georges says:

    As an earth science teacher, I love the world map analogy. Great comparison… Georges

  3. Pingback: Free Knitting Pattern – Two Strands Christmas Ball | Two Strands

  4. Pingback: Christmas Balls – a free knitting pattern PDF | Two Strands

  5. Gladys Dittmer says:

    Thank you so much. Yes, I understand it now, and can start. I was so impressed that you answered so quickly, when you are a very busy person. I hope you have time for your own knitting and creating. 😊. Please keep me on your email/mailing list.

    And … Happy Thanksgiving!

    Gladys Dittmer

  6. Pingback: Christmas Ball FAQs | Two Strands

  7. Toni Hobbs says:

    🙂 Thanks for the pattern! I’m somewhat of a n00b when it comes to knitting, but I assume if you were using 4 double pointed needles, you would basically just repeat this on each needle?

    • twostrands says:

      Well, yes, as long as you understand that you’re repeating each row on each panel before progressing to the next row and that you’re knitting consistently in one clockwise direction.

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