How to Design With Knitting Graph Paper

Written by susan brockett
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How to Design With Knitting Graph Paper
Sharpen your pencils to create an intarsia pattern. (colour pencil image by sumos from

Knitters who make sweaters with images such as teddy bears, fire engines or Christmas trees use a knitting technique called intarsia to create the image with yarn. Intarsia designs can be elaborate or simple, but they all begin with a chart on knitting graph paper. Commercial intarsia patterns are widely available, but with a few tools, you can turn any image into an intarsia design.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Knitting graph paper, 8.5 by 11 inches
  • Image on 8.5 by 11-inch paper
  • Paper clips or tape
  • Coloured pencils, one for each colour on the image

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  1. 1

    Fold the piece of paper with the image on it in half. Fold it again into quarters. Unfold the paper. This gives you the centre point of the image.

  2. 2

    Repeat Step 1 with the knitting graph paper.

  3. 3

    Line up the sheets of paper at the centre points, with the graph paper on top of the image. Use paper clips or tape to secure the pieces together.

  4. 4

    Colour in the rectangles on the graph paper with the appropriate pencils. Start at the centre of the image. If you cannot see the image clearly, tape the sheets to a window for a makeshift light box. You can leave out some of the image's detail, such as subtle shading.

  5. 5

    Remove the paper clips or tape when you're finished colouring. Use the graph paper to create your design in yarn, with each rectangle equalling one stitch in the appropriate colour.

Tips and warnings

  • The squares on knitting graph paper are rectangular because it mimics the basic stockinet stitch. You can use standard graph paper, but the knitted image will have different dimensions.
  • To create larger charts, use a copy machine to enlarge the image, and paste sheets of graph paper together.

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