Knitter's Symbols Fonts

by David Xenakis

Knitter's Symbols Fonts (download links listed below) are a pair of what are called Pi fonts—fonts that allow you to type alphanumeric characters but substitute graphic shapes for the letters and numbers. (The ubiquitous Zapf Dingbats is one example of a pi font.) The characters in these fonts are rectangular and are generally in the proportion of 7 wide to 5 tall. You can type your proposed chart into any word-processing program using any font that you please, then change to either of the Knitter's Symbols fonts and have a perfectly-drawn chart for your knitting.

The fonts are available as Windows TrueType, Macintosh TrueType, and as OpenType fonts that can be used on either platform. Note that not all software supports the use of the full capabilities of OpenType fonts—Adobe InDesign 2, Adobe Illustrator 10, and Adobe Photos hop 7 are among them—but most word-processors will allow you to use these fonts as if they were normal TrueType fonts. To read more about OpenType fonts, you can refer to the explanation on this page on the Adobe web site. It should be noted that the Knitter's Symbols fonts use only the traditional character set of 256 possible characters. At some point, it should be possible to combine both of the Knitter’s Symbol fonts into a single OpenType font (along with as many other characters as anyone could wish to include).

To use these fonts, download them from this page, and install them as you would any font.

Next, open the accompanying key chart (in Adobe PDF format for which you will need to download a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader) and print it. Note that this key chart is written for the Macintosh platform but that it contains the ASCII values of all the characters: this should allow Windows users to access any of the characters—though probably without the ease with which the Macintosh character set can be typed directly from the keyboard. I apologize that I cannot give much assistance to the users of Windows-platform software. Known widely as a Macintosh über-geek, to do so would irretrievably damage my reputation. <g>

Once you have the printed copy of your key chart, use any word-processor that will allow you to change fonts at will and that will allow you to set the leading (the space between the lines of type). All you need to do is to set the leading so that it is the same measurement in points as the size of the type you wish to use for the knitting symbols. For example, you might wish for your symbols to be in eight-point type. If that is so, set the leading also to be eight points. The following screen shot from Micros oft Word—the Paragraph dialog box—shows how the setting might look, assuming that your font was already set to appear at 8-pt size:

Then, go ahead and type. You can use the fonts directly, or you can type them in another font and then change them to either of the Knitter's Symbols fonts. For example:

When you are finished, you can simply print your chart and use it however you wish. You could, if you wish to do so, Copy your chart, Paste it as text into the body of an E-mail message, and send it to a friend. Your friend only needs to Copy & Paste your text into another word-processor, change to the Knitter's Symbols font, and have a perfect copy of your own chart.

A few points:

1) Since you are going to be typing your charts, it is obvious that you will need to begin at the top of the chart and type down instead of the way the chart will be knitted. This, unfortunately, cannot be helped. Once, a few years ago, a local programmer came up with a word-processor that would type from the bottom up. This proved to be useful when using these fonts, but oddly disconcerting in nearly every other circumstance. <g>

2) Because you might find that you need to leave spaces to accommodate different numbers of characters in the lines (the graphic at the top of this page is one example), you can use the spacebar to insert a rectangular blank space wherever that is needed.

3) There are two fonts. KSymbolsW contains characters drawn from several sources that indicate knitting maneuvers. You will find, in this font, several characters that mean the same thing. This allows you to choose your own favorite from, say, the several ways that the modern literature has indicated k2tog. The other font, KSymbolsCP, is designed to give you a range of characters that are not traditionally used to indicate a knitting instruction. You might use these characters to indicate color changes. You might also use these in places where none of the characters in the other font is quite right and you wish to simply define your own symbol. If you do either of these, please keep in mind that mixing the fonts within one chart will take away the ease of sharing your work mentioned above.

4) These fonts are Freeware. You may give them to your friends as you wish. If you do distribute them, please include the key chart because the bottom of the key chart contains a request from me: basically, use these fonts how and where you wish, but if you do use them for professional purposes, please include the words Knitter’ Symbols fonts used courtesy Knitter’s Magazine—Copyright © 1998 XRX, Inc. Otherwise, there are no restrictions on using them.

5) Please e-mail me ( if you have any questions. Otherwise, enjoy! To download, click on one of the links below.

Knitter’s Symbols TypeOne font for Macintosh (440 KB)

Knitter’s Symbols TrueType font for Macintosh (372 KB)

Knitter’s Symbols TrueType font for Windows (376 KB)

Knitter’s Symbols OpenType font for Macintosh (360 KB)

Good looking lace sample file (45 KB)