How to knit using main shade only

As most of you will know I'm not a big company I'm just one person who likes making charts. I currently have 3 patterns (check bottom of post for links) and they are intended for uses with my charts - as these are what I make and put the most effort into. I say i'm a professional colourin'er.

I commissioned my knitting writer friend Danielle to write the sweater patterns for me and follow them myself. I publish the patterns as a way for people with my charts to be able to knit them on any size they like.

But if you jumped head first into knitting the sweater without a chart and you are confused by all the extra instructions I'm hear to explain how you can follow the pattern using the main shade only to knit a plain round necked sweater.

So lets look at the front of my 4ply sweater

"1st Row. K12 [16:19:23:26]M, work next 39 sts as given for 1st row of Instarsia chart, reading chart from right to left, k12 [16:19:23:26] M.

2nd Row. P12 [16:19:23:26]M, work next 39 sts as given for 2nd row of chart, reading chart from left to right, p12 [16:19:23:26]M."

So using the first size as my example (throughout this post) and using main shade only

1st row. k12, k39, k12.

2nd row. p12, p39, p12.

If you break down the instructions like this it is that simple. But let's get more into it if your still struggling.


Work as given for Back to **. Change to 3¼mm needles the work 10 rows"

Try putting a stitch marker here this way you know where the chart should have started, you can count up from the marker to see how many rows of the chart you should have knitted. If you ever lose count of which row of the chart you would be on, count up from the stitch marker that you placed.

Next you can see there are the 1st and 2nd rows of how to knit with the chart in the middle. If you read a little on from these two rows you can see it says

"Keeping continuity of st-st and 39 sts of chart, work from 3rd to 32nd row "

So you know you have the 10 rows you have already worked, plus 32 rows more. This is 42 which is the same as the back instructions up to the armholes!

"Shape armhole"

The next section is your armholes which should be the same as the back of the sweater. There are 2 rows of instructions are to explain how to decrease either side of the chart follow these decreases and continue with your main shade for the 39 rows of chart.

"Work 2 [2:3:3:4] rows more dec 1 st at each end of every row."

Now you have a total of 4 decreases rows (1st size remember)

"For 1st, 2nd and 5th sizes only"

There 2 rows are here to explaining how to knit and purl with the chart up to the 38th row of chart. Which ever size you are knitting if you don't have 38 rows from your stitch marker after this point work in st-st until you do. you probably lost count somewhere so check you have the same number of decrease rows as the Back of sweater to be sure.

"For all 5 sizes

Keeping continuity of st-st work from 39th to 44th row"

39 to 44 is total 5 so work 5 more rows in your M shade.

"Using M only, work 6 [10:14:12:16] rows."

Now if you're following with me you should have the first 10 rows plus 44 rows of chart (including armhole decreases), followed by these 6 rows. This is 60 rows total which takes you up the Neck Shaping.

At this point, you are all caught up and everyone following the pattern is using main shade only. If you are getting confused about the neck band instructions however that a whole other issue not related to knitting charts or the intarsia technique. You will have this problem knitting every single set in sleeve (and most other style) sweater, it is not an issue with the INSTARSIA patterns. Until I get round to explaining how to knit neckbands and armholes etc, I suggest looking on Youtube for now.

Best of luck!

General info & links below


24" to 34" DK SWEATER - Patreon exclusive download


All my charts are for sale through

My charts come with knitting instructions for either a round neck 4ply sweater for ages 0 - 5 years (The example shown knitted is the first size). Or a round neck chunky sweater in 7 sizes from 28/30" to 52/54"(The example shown knitted is the 2nd size).

All charts can also be knitted on my 2 -13 year (24" to 34") DK Sweater which is available through patreon. Check out for all exclusive rewards.


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Instarsia, Manchester, England, UK

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