Japanese Notation for Machine Knitters

Japanese Notation (Garment Notation) displays abbreviated knitting instructions on a visual diagram of your garment piece. It can be used for increases, decreases or short row shaping.

An instruction of 1-2-9 means (decrease, increase or hold) 1 stitch every 2 rows 9 times.

If the drawing doesn’t say increase, decrease or hold, how do you know what to do?

Study the schematic.

Notice in this example this pattern includes 3 sizes and is showing the shaping instructions for all the sizes on one schematic.

Start by highlighting the numbers for your size

  1. The first armhole bind off starts at Row 100
  2. There are 44 needles in work
  3. Bind off 5 stitches
    (notice that there is only 1 number – bind off 5 stitches for all sizes)
  4. Armhole shaping:
    • Decrease 1 stitch every row 4 times
    • Decrease 1 stitch every 2 rows 2 times
    • Decrease 1 stitch every 3 rows 1 time
    Notice there is only 1 set of decreases for all sizes
  5. Knit with no shaping to Row 138
  6. On Row 138 begin the neckline shaping: Bind off 4 stitches
  7. Neckline Decreases:
    • skip the first instruction for the smallest size
    • Decrease 3 stitches every 2 rows, 1 time
    • Decrease 2 stitches every 2 rows, 1 time
    • Decrease 1 stitch every 3 rows, 1 time
    If there is a 0, skip that instruction for that size
  8. Knit with no shaping to Row 150
  9. Starting on Row 150 work shoulder shaping:
    • Decrease or short row 4 stitches every other row 3 times
    • Decrease or short row 5 stitches every other row 2 times
    • Skip the last instruction for the smallest size

The schematic will indicate where to decrease and increase to create your shape.

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