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Knitting Symbol Font


So, over the weekend, as I was thinking about lace charts and browsing through the early treasuries of Barbara Walker's stitch patterns, I realized that my life would be made a lot easier if I could convert these patterns (which are all written out in words, line by line) into a visual representation, which tends to help me understand and memorize the chart better. I'm not sure what it is, maybe my inner programmer is showing, but when I can see a lace pattern in symbol form, memorizing it is a breeze.

Initiallly, I thought I would create my own symbols in Visio and over time add to that template as I needed to convert more charts. As I started to look at Barbara Walker's abbreviations (found in the 4th treatsury of her work) I thought that some of them were a little non-standard from what I was used to working with, and I decided that I needed to search and refresh my memory about symbols and their standard meanings.

As happens so often when I do this sort of thing, I realize that someone else has done something far better and much more handy than what I am embarking on that can save me a lot of time. In this case it turns out to be the Aire River Design Knitting Font a True Type font which can be downloaded for free for personal and professional use and thus is at your finger tips when you open up your favorite word processing program.

How cool is that?

Note, added after receiving some comments... Anne provided a link to another knitting font, the one used by Knitter's magazine. Although I haven't looked at it myself yet, Ariel comments that it's a fixed width font and may be easier to use for those of you who don't like to deal with setting up tables in Word or Excel. I'll definitely have to take a look at the Knitter's font sometime soon.

When I used the Aire River font, I created a table in Word with as many columns as were required for the number of stitches in the pattern repeat and set the column widths to be determined by the cell contents. Then I configured the columns so that all the symbols were horizontally and vertically centered, which overcame my need for a fixed-width font. It looks like the Knitter's font may create a grid automatically.

Very very cool. I just downloaded it. Maybe I'll actually be able to remember the symbols if I play with them a bit.

thanks for the link

I was impressed with all the supplementary documentation the font came with -- a key map, a usage guide and a quick reference card. I'm thinking of taping the keymaps to the bottom of my monitor!

The symbol font that Knitter's magazine uses in their publications is also available free to download at:


I have both, but have not played with them enough yet to know which one I like better.

I like the Knitter's magazine fonts better for lace because they are fixed width-you can just type with them, and everything lines up nicely. The Aire River version pretty much requires you to use a spreadsheet.

On the other hand, the Knitter's magazine fonts does not have much in the way of support for open cables-that is, cables which pass a column of knit stitches over a background of reverse stockinette. So I tend to use the Aire River symbols more for cabling.

Awesome. I can't wait to use these. Thanks for sharing!


Nice tip! I am with you on charts. It is much easier for me to understand WHY I'm doing something when I have the picture mapped in front of me like that. I need the big picture in order to understand the little pictures.

Theresa, thank you so much for posting that link!

Oooh...it looks nice and easy to use, a big consideration for dumb musician me. I really like using charts, especially for lace. Thanks so much for the link!

I am the same way: I can't follow a written-out pattern to save my life, but give me a chart and I'm good to go. Isn't it interesting how different brains process information?

I downloaded both, but I can't get the knitter's charting tool to work at all. Oh well.

Thank you so much for pointing us to the font, brilliant. I had just been thinking that I needed to chart something, because just like you I need to be able to see it in a visual format. Maybe it is the geologist in me, but I need maps.

Thanks so much for these font links - I am ready to try charting now! They're good links for the explanations provided (so far, have just glanced at the two).

Thanks so much for this link! I have been struggling along trying to use a cross stitch program to chart:-)

I was thinking the exact same thing last night when I was looking at the 2nd Treasury! I was going to use some graph paper and a pencil, but I'll have to play around with the fonts instead! Thanks so much for the links!

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