Knitting charts and written instructions are equally useful for gaining your mastery and having more pleasure from knitting. Very many knitting instruction provide both versions of the pattern - graphical charts and written descriptions.
As usually, in arguing about "what is BETTER", truth is located somewhere in between. Your best tool is that one which you feel confidence and comfort working with. This page will show you how to read charts for knitting presented in graphic symbols. Needles to say, it is not that difficult as it seams. Let's see how it works.
All designers describing their knit patterns in charts follow the same logic. This logic is based....right, on the common sense and a natural way of knitting.
It makes our life much easier if we read graphical charts instead of the word descriptions. At the same time we have to say, that knitting symbols for charts are not standardized. Different sources of knitting patterns use different (slightly... :) symbols describing their patterns. Fortunately, each chart has a stitch key, which explains what kind of stitches has to be used, to knit a pattern.
Let's analyze the way we usually knit. 1-st row. In the flat knitting the first stitch to knit is the very right one on the needle. Direction
of knitting is from right to left. Once we reached the end of the
row, we turn our knitting over and begin second row facing the back
of the work. At the end of the second row we turn our knitting over once
again and facing the face of the work, and so on.
The boxes of
the knitting charts "behave" just like the stitches do on the
needles. Here is a classical pattern
"Horseshoes". Lets look at its graphical chart .
Here is a written description for the same pattern. Compare it
to the chart above. (For the list of knitting
abbreviations consult the Craft Yarn Council).
You can see that all even rows of the CHART A) above have to be purled. To make knitting charts more compact, very often charts are printed with Wrong Side rows left off the chart. (see chart B). In this case the pattern tell you what should be done on those "missing" rows. For our example, it would be written: "Purl all even rows." For other patterns it could be written: "Knit the knits and purl the purls", for example.