Demystifying German Knitting Charts

Orient - Puntasam

Orient – Puntasam

With half of my ancestry being Norwegian, I own quite a few printed-in-English books with Norwegian patterns and even one book in Norwegian. The books really do not have “recipe” based instructions which we knitters in the US seem to rely on. I’ve notice the German sock patterns I’ve been translating have the same type of instructions; example for a sock cuff, K1, P1 until length you want.  Or for the heel: Knit the heel the way you like on 30 stitches. I don’t remember every seeing my mom use a knitting pattern. She just measured us and knit-to-fit. Elizabeth Zimmerman’s books are a good example of using math in order to make knits fit the way mom did.

Another noticeable feature in the German sock patterns, is that each pattern developer seems to use her own special symbols to represent stitches on the knitting charts. Each chart did come with a key which is easily translated into US knitting terms. If you read yesterday’s blog you can probably figure this out for yourself. All the sock patterns came from Sockenmusterthread der Zweite

This is the English translation for the above key for the Orient socks chart by Puntasam.

rechte Masche = Knit stitch (K)

Umschlag = Yarn over (YO)

zwei Maschen rechts zusammen stricken = Knit two stitches together (K2tog)


Froschkoenig key

Froschkoenig key

Rechts verschränkt = Knit through back loop

linke Masche = Purl

einfache Abnahme = Slip slip knit (ssk)

rechte Masche = Knit

Zopf 3 Maschen hinter die Arbeit legen = Cable 3 stitches held behind the work

Zopf 3 Maschen vor die Arbeit legen = Cable 3 stitches held in front of the work

Umschlag = yarn over

zwei Maschen rechts zusammen stricken = knit 2 together

Sunshine by Puntasam


Sunshine by Puntasam

linke Masche = Purl

Umschlag = Yarn over (YO)

zwei Maschen rechts zusammen stricken = knit 2 together (Note the different symbols in Sunshine and Froschkoenig for this stitch)

Treibgutwellen by Puntasam

Remember I mentioned that there are lots of compound words in German? The title of these socks intrigued me so I pasted it into Google translate and came up with “Treigutwellen”. Hum….. I could see three distinct words in the title so I added spaces and did these words: Trieb gut wellen which literally translate to “waves drive good”.  The socks have a wave pattern so this name fits.

Triebgutwellen by Puntasam

Triebgutwellen by Puntasam

1 Masche rechts 1 Umschlag wobei bei den geraden Runden die Umschläge rechts ver- schränkt gestrickt werden, damit keine Löcher entstehen. = YO, Knit 1 through back loop. Good video here it’s in German but the video is easy to follow.

rechte Masche = Knit

zwei Maschen rechts zusammen stricken = knit 2 together

1 überzogene Abnahme (1 Masche rechts abheben 1 Masche rechts stricken und die abgehobene Masche darüber ziehen) = skp (slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over)

linke Masche = Purl

These are just four of the sock chart keys. For any of the charts in German, just print them out and add the English translation by the key. If your more comfortable with our traditional symbols, re-write the chart. I’ve also found another German – English Dictionary of Knitting which I really like since it is on one page and translates  400 German knitting words and phrases. Do not be intimidated by the language!

I’ve been lusting after a pattern written in Finnish, land of my pre-1600, maternal ancestors. That will be a task to translate, because the language is not familiar to those of us whose language is of Indo-European origin: English, German, French, Spanish, etc. Finnish is a member of the Uralic language family, along with Estonian. At least when I saw the German word  “gut” I knew it was translated as “good”.  In Finnish good is “hyvä”, not at all familiar. Wish me luck!

QThanks for stopping by. Now go have a crafty day.

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