How to Design Your Own Knitting Charts

Updated July 20, 2017

Knitting charts are used for intarsia, fair isle knitting, or even for lace and cable patterns. Knitting charts are basically a visual knitting pattern. Designing your own knitting chart is not difficult and is actually fun. Whether you want to reinvent a traditional Fair Isle pattern or knit a sweater with a skull and crossbones, the possibilities are endless when you can design your own knitting chart.

Knit a 4-inch by 4-inch gauge swatch with the main colour yarn and needles you plan to use to knit the chart.

Count the number of stitches across and rows down in the gauge swatch. Write these numbers down for later use.

Go online to find, download and print knitting graph paper. Creating a chart on knitting graph paper is easier because it uses rectangles to depict stitches. Some web sites provide a custom knitting graph paper generator. Simply enter the stitch and row numbers from your gauge swatch and it will create a sheet of graph paper for customised to your chart. Other sites give a less custom, however, equally adequate version of knitting graph paper.

Draw your design onto the graph paper. Every rectangle on the graph paper represents a stitch. Use a pencil to outline your design.

Using coloured pencils, fill in the rectangles with the coloured pencil that matches the colour of the yarn you will be using for that stitch. If you are designing a cable chart or lace chart, fill in the square with the symbol of the type of stitch used.

Cast on the number of stitches your chart calls for and begin knitting your chart design.


You can use regular graph paper to make your knitting chart. However, because of the size of the boxes, your knitted version of the chart may come out a different size than originally anticipated. Beginning knitting chart designers should start out with an easy project, such as a blanket or a washcloth.


Check your gauge before attempting to design a knitting chart.

Things You'll Need

  • Printer
  • Paper
  • Knitting graph paper
  • Eraser
  • Calculator
  • Coloured pencils or markers (optional)
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Yarn
  • Knitting needles
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About the Author

Emma Jansen has been a writer since 2005. Her work can be found regularly on and creative websites. Jansen studied English at San Jose State University.