What Is An Action Chart?

An Action chart is a What You See Is What You Do (WYSIWYD) chart.  Over the years I have refined the Action chart to make them even easier to follow.  If you have no trouble with Standard charts, you may not see the value in the Action chart system of charting.

However, if you have ever been confused by what stitch you are supposed to execute on the wrong side, this might be a charting system that works for you.  Even if you like Standard charts you might find that an Action chart adds ease to your knitting.

Basket RibAction Chart
Multiple of 4 sts + 1

Row 1 [RS]:  P1, *[p1, k1) 2 times; repeat from *
Row 2:  *K2, p1, k1; repeat from * to last st, end k1
Row 3:  P1, *p1, k1, p2; repeat from *
Row 4:  *(P1, k1) 2 times; repeat from * to last st, end k1
Row 5:  K1, *P3, k1; repeat from *
Row 6:  *P1, k3; repeat from * to last st, end p1
Repeat Rows 1 through 6.


Features of An Action Chart

  • A stitch symbol is the same no matter which side of the fabric is being worked: a knit is a knit and a purl is a purl.Action Chart: Key
  • Whenever possible Right side row numbers are odd numbers so there is consistency between charts.
  • When more than three consecutive knit or purl stitches appear (see below about repeats and extra stitches) the run of stitches is filled with a colored box (purple for knit, green for purl) on top of which is a smaller white box, on top of which is text such as “k4”, “p3”, etc.
  • Written stitch patterns accompany charts and are the same.
  • Charts and written stitch patterns have the pattern repeat stacked from row to row so that the repeat covers the same stitches when on the needles.
  • The smallest repeat is always used.
  • Extra stitches appear in the same quantity in the same place from row to row: if there are three extra stitches at the end of a row, then the next row must begin with three extra stitches.
  • The repeat is framed in an orange box for easy visual clarity.
  • When there are extra stitches that are knits and purls adjacent to repeat stitches that are knits or purls, they are not included in the run of stitches.

Example 5×3 Rib:

Row 1 [RS]:  K2, *k3, p3, k2; repeat from * to last 3 sts, end k3
Row 2:  P3, *p2, k3, p3; repeat from * to last 2 sts, end p2

Action Chart: showing runs of knits and purls

In this case the k2 is not shown as k5 at the beginning, because the k2 represents extra stitches and is not part of the repeat.  The k3 at the end balances the pattern so the work begins and ends with a k5.

Action Charts and Standard Charts, Plus StitchMaps.com, a Comparison

I’ve created a downloadable pdf called Chart-Comparisons to compare a Standard Chart to an Action chart, and also showing how each works in StitchMaps.com.

Action Chart: DecreasesThere are examples and discussion of each type of chart in Chart Comparisons.  At the end is an explanation and example of how I use shaping decreases in an Action chart.

Please contact me with any questions or concerns!