Frequently asked questions

On stitch maps

For some stitch patterns, stitch maps can be clearer and more illuminating that grid-based charts. This is particularly true for lace or any other stitch pattern composed of increases and decreases.

Why is this so? Because a traditional grid-based chart implies that the stitches stack on top of each other in straight, neat columns, like a marching band standing at attention. But, in reality, an increase will nudge two existing stitch columns apart to create a new stitch column. A decrease will draw two or more stitch columns together. Overall, the stitch columns can bend and sway, showing movement like a marching band in a raucous Mardi Gras parade.

This movement is apparent in a stitch map, making stitch maps a truer representation of some kinds of knitted fabric. That's why stitch maps are so handy for understanding a stitch pattern and how its parts fit together.

Now, hang on a minute. Grid-based charts still have their place. For stitch patterns where the stitches really do stack in neat, straight columns (colorwork, anyone?), a grid-based chart can be perfectly adequate.

What’s more: because a grid-based chart can use an empty square to represent the predominant, “background” stitch pattern, the actual patterning – the stitches that differ from the background – can show up clearly. Stitch maps suffer from the need to display each stitch with an explicit symbol, making stitch maps a bit more cluttered than most grid-based charts.

A stitch pattern is a series of knitting instructions that result in a particular fabric – the waves of Feather and Fan, or the pebbly surface of Seed stitch.

A stitch map is a visual representation of a stitch pattern – specifically, it’s a chart composed only of stitch symbols, without any grid lines.

It’s different when the rows bend, isn’t it? If you have a basic subscription or premium subscription, you can highlight your current row by checking the “Current row” checkbox on the stitch pattern’s detail page. Here’s what it looks like for Half-drop Horseshoe:

Half-drop Horseshoe stitch map

You’ll notice that two rows in the stitch map are highlighted. That’s because two vertical repeats of the pattern are on display. Both of the highlighted rows are row 1 of the Half-drop Horseshoe. No surprise here: clicking the up-arrow button moves the highlighting up one row; clicking the down-arrow button moves it down one row.

Other options for following along a row include:

  • Click the “Row guides” checkbox to see light gray lines tracing along every row.
  • Click on a stitch map to view it in full-screen mode, then print it using your browser’s print function. As you work each row, trace it with a highlighter pen. Or use a chart keeper composed of a metal board and a magnetic strip: even if some symbols from adjacent rows peek out from under the magnetic strip, it should still help you keep track of your current row.

On knitspeak

Stop saying “frobgate”!

Seriously, you need to stick with the abbreviations that Stitch-Maps.com recognizes. You can find the full list on the Abbreviations page, though it might be easier to use the convenience buttons on the Contribute page. You might also want to review the knitspeak guide.

Sorry! We do take suggestions for additional kinds of stitches we ought to support. In the meantime, perhaps you could substitute a different stitch – say, an all-knit 4/4 RC instead of a ribbed 4/4 RC.

It means Stitch-Maps.com can’t figure out where to adjust the width of the row. Should it add in more repeats of “k2tog, yo”? Or – since “knit” can mean any number of knit stitches – should it add in more plain knit stitches?

To avoid this sort of ambiguity, include just one of the following on each row:

  • *do this, do that, repeat from *
  • knit
  • purl
  • BO

Want more info on this topic? Review the Horizontal repeats section of the knitspeak guide.

That’s because it’s not possible. The number of stitches required to work this row (7 * 6 + 1 = 43) doesn’t jive with the number of stitches produced by working the previous row (49). Most likely, you have a typo somewhere. Which row is at fault? You’ll have to figure that out for yourself.

Remember that each row has to “use up” all the stitches produced by the previous row, taking both the repeated stitches and the non-repeated stitches into account. Consider this example:

  • Rows 1 and 9 (RS): *K1, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, repeat from *, k1.
  • Rows 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12: Purl.
  • Rows 3, 5, and 7: *K2, yo, sl2-k1-p2sso, yo, k1, repeat from *, k1.
  • Row 11: *K3, yo, k2tog, k1, repeat from *.

Each right-side row has a 6-stitch repeated section; so far, so good. But take a look at the non-repeated bits. Most of the right-side rows end with a non-repeated k1 – in other words, they require a multiple of 6 stitches plus 1, such as 7, 13, or 19. In contrast, row 11 doesn’t end in k1. It requires just a multiple of 6 stitches, such as 6, 12, or 18. That mismatch is the problem.

On subscriptions

You can read the full answer on our account options page, but in short: Basic subscriptions let you track your current row for any stitch pattern, set a variety of preferences, maintain a list of favorite stitch patterns, and mark the stitch patterns you’ve contributed as private. Premium subscriptions let you export publication-quality stitch maps, mark stitch patterns as hidden, specify custom links, and participate in our affiliate program.

A private stitch pattern is one only you can see. This is just the ticket when you have the right to copy a stitch pattern “for personal use only,” and you’d like to view its stitch map.

A hidden stitch pattern is one that others can see only if you provide them with a direct link to the stitch pattern – it can’t be found by browsing the collection. This is ideal when you’re publishing a garment pattern, and you’d like to let your customers view its stitch patterns online as stitch maps.

After logging in, you can manage your subscription via the “Manage subscription” page. When you subscribe, you’ll need to enter credit card data. This credit card will be charged automatically at the start of each subscription term, unless you cancel the subscription.

If you cancel your subscription, you won’t be able to view a stitch map with your current row highlighted. You won’t be able to make use of your preferences, or view your favorites list. You won’t be able to access your private patterns at all, and – just like anyone else – you’ll only be able to view a hidden pattern if you use its direct link.

But this site will continue to store your current row information, your preferences, your favorites list, and your private and hidden patterns. Re-subscribing would restore all your usual features and privileges.

Many stitch patterns have been around for generations, and appear in a multitude of stitch dictionaries. So it’s easy to imagine that these stitch patterns belong to the entire knitting community, are in the public domain, and can’t be copyrighted by any one person.

But the instructions for knitting a stitch pattern – the combination of words in a series of written instructions, or the placement of symbols in a chart – can be copyrighted by whoever took the time and effort to put those instructions together. Specifically, Stitch-Maps.com holds the copyright to the stitch map images that appear on this site.

Sure! As stated in our terms of use, you may print or copy a stitch map for your personal, non-commercial use.

Get a premium subscription. Then you’ll be able to export stitch maps as vector images that can be viewed clearly at any scale. And you’ll have our permission to use those stitch maps as you wish. You don’t even have to credit Stitch-Maps.com with the creation of the images – but we’d appreciate it if you did!

Yup. Remember: without a premium subscription, the stitch maps you download from this site are for your personal use only.

Nope. The copyright to content contributed to the site – written instructions, stitch pattern descriptions, and swatch photos – remains with the original copyright holder, if any.

Stated another way: If you contribute content for which you hold the copyright, you still hold the copyright. It’s just that you agree to let Stitch-Maps.com store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works from, and display that content.

If you don’t own the copyright to a set of written instructions, the description of a stitch pattern, or a swatch photo, and they aren’t in the public domain, then you shouldn’t contribute them to the public collection at Stitch-Maps.com. That would be a violation of copyright.

Want to see the details of this arrangement? Review our terms of use.

Then get a basic subscription and mark the stitch pattern as private. This is essentially making a copy of the pattern “for personal use only,” which most copyrighted patterns allow.

Let us know. In line with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, Stitch-Maps.com follows notice and take-down procedures for material that allegedly infringes on copyright.

A fresh take on charts

Stitch maps are a new form of knitting chart that use traditional symbols in a novel way: without a grid.

The symbols within a stitch map clearly show what stitches to work. And – not being confined within grid squares – they also show which stitches of the previous row should be worked.

The end result? Charts with unparalleled fluidity, authenticity, and beauty.