How to Create Knitting Patterns

Written by heidi a. reeves
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If you're ready for a knitting and designing challenge, try creating your own knitting patterns. Seeing a knitted item from concept to completion is a worthwhile and rewarding endeavour that every knitter should attempt at least once. When you create your own knitting pattern, you'll not only finish a unique knitted item. You'll also learn how to construct knitted items, a skill that will improve your knitting, even when you're working with a pattern that's not your own.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Yarn
  • Knitting needles

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  1. 1

    Find inspiration for your knitted design. Maybe you want to create a knitting pattern that highlights a particular yarn's characteristics, or you may want to take cues from runway fashion. Regardless of your source, inspiration is essential to creating your own knitting pattern.

  2. 2

    Sketch a design. If you're creating a sweater pattern, make notes about shaping, length, stitch pattern and any other pertinent design features.

  3. 3

    Knit swatches. If you begin with a yarn, knit a few swatches in different stitch patterns to see how the yarn will work with your design. If you begin with a sketch, try several different yarns to determine which will best suit your garment.

  4. 4

    Measure yourself. The easiest way to create a pattern for a knitted garment is to fit it to your own measurements. Use a dressmaker's measuring tape to figure out your bust, shoulder, waist and hip measurements, as well as arm length, arm depth and back waist length.

  5. 5

    Knit a 6-inch by 6-inch square gauge swatch in the yarn you have chosen for your pattern. Wash it in no-rinse wool wash and block before measuring the swatch to determine how many stitches and rows fit into a 4-inch square.

  6. 6

    Draft a pattern using your measurements and the numbers derived from your gauge swatch. Figure out how many stitches you need to equal your measurements at different points.

  7. 7

    Determine how much ease you want to incorporate when determining the number of stitches you need at certain points in the garment. If you're making a relaxed fit garment, add 2 or 3 inches to your measurements.

  8. 8

    Place increases and decreases in strategic spots. If you want to create a pattern with waist shaping, place decreases starting about 2 inches below the bust.

  9. 9

    Space decreases an even number of rows apart, and plan for the final decrease row to hit just above your natural waist. Start incorporating increase rows about 2 inches below the natural waist.

Tips and warnings

  • If you've never created a knitting pattern, try using a percentage system to figure out shaping.

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