Reading a knitting chart is a serious skill that takes some practice to master.
We know charts aren't for everyone, but for a variety of reasons (mostly centered around not creating 10-page long patterns that eat up printer ink), we are still very depending on knitting charts for patterns.
This week's free pattern, Eastman, uses a very basic, beginner friendly knitting chart—making it the perfect practice chart for a swatch (or even the whole sweater if you're feeling so inclined). To begin, let's take a look at the chart as a whole.
Let's look at this in stages. First, in the upper right, we have the Key to the Chart. This tells us what each of the squares means. A white square means that when we're working the right side row, we knit those stitches; when we're working the wrong side row, we purl those stitches. This creates a stockinette fabric.
A square with a dot in the center means that on the right side of the row, we purl those stitches, and on the wrong side of the row, we'll knit them. The red box for "pattern repeat" just shows the ten stitches that make up most of the pattern.
Also look at the chart notes—because the pieces of this sweater are knit flat, the notes are telling you to work from right to left on right side rows. You can also tell that you're supposed to start from the right edge of the chart by the placement of the number 1. The chart notes go on to say to read the chart from left to right on wrong side rows. So if you find the number 2, you'll see it's at the left edge of the chart—that indicates that row 2 should be read from left to right.
You can see that following the chart gives you a fabric with textured polka dot stitches. The pattern is worked all over the body and the sleeves of Eastman for a really neat fabric in a sweet summer tee.