If you’re like me, you can spend hours scouring through websites such as Ravelry or YouTube. These resources provide endless inspiration for beautiful stitch patterns and scrumptious yarns in wonderful colours. You may find yourself wanting to experiment with a new stitch pattern but can’t find a project that you like. It may be time to create your own pattern!
1. Choose your yarn and stitch pattern
Once you have selected the yarn that you are going to use, the yarn label will indicate the needle size and approximate number of stitches and rows required to create 4” (10cm) square swatch.
Keep in mind that the suggested number of stitches and rows are calculated based on stocking stitch (knitting on the front – purling on the back). If you are using a different stitch pattern, this could change the tension to such a degree that the size of the project changes greatly i.e. it won’t fit!
2. Make a tension swatch
This is the most important step in the process. Everyone’s knitting tension is different. It is crucial to create the tension swatch in the stitch pattern you have chosen. If you find that your tension swatch is smaller than it should be, you can increase the number of stitches or increase the size of your needles. Redo the swatch until you are getting the size required for your stitch pattern.
Helpful Tip: Don’t worry about wasting yarn creating tension swatches. Just be sure not to cut the yarn so that you can simply unravel your swatch once you have done the measurements and calculations required.
3. Figure out the dimensions of the pieces you require for your pattern
For the purposes of this article, let’s look at two simple examples:
Example 1: A long straight scarf. We will need one piece 6” wide (15cm) by 5’ (150cm) long
Example 2: A 16” square pillow. We will need two 16” (40cm) square pieces.
4. Convert project dimensions into number of stitches and rows
If, after we have worked our tension swatch, we find that 4” (10cm) equals 22st, then we can calculate the number of stitches we need to cast on.
Example 1: If our scarf is 6” wide, here is our calculation:
6” divided by 4” multiplied by 22 stitches = 33 stitches
Example 2: If each of our pillow pieces is 16” wide, here are is our calculation:
16” divided by 4” multiplied by 22 stitches = 88 stitches
For this example, because we are going to be sewing the pieces together after they are knit, we need to add two stitches for the seam allownances (one each for left and right seams):
88 stitches + 2 stitches (two seam allowances) = 90 stitches
If, after we have worked our tension swatch, we find that 4” (10cm) equals 30 rows, we can then calculate the number of rows required to create our project pieces.
Example 1: If our scarf is 60” long, here is our calculation:
60” divided by 4” multiplied by 30 rows = 450 rows
Example 2: If each of our pillow pieces is 16” long, here is our calculation:
16” divided by 4” multiplied by 30 rows = 120 rows
For this example, because we are going to be sewing the piece together after they are knit, we need to add two extra rows for the seam allowances (one each for top and bottom):
120 rows + 2 rows (two seam allowances) = 122 rows
The examples provided are very simple but there are many other very simple projects for which you could make your own patterns such as hats, tablet cozies, coffee cozies, baby blankets and many more. Will you let your creativity soar and give creating your own patterns a try?