5 Tips on Creating Your Own Knits!
Are you a knitter just bursting with your own design ideas? Do you feel there are no knitting patterns that fit your own style? Are you looking to perhaps create some extra income by doing what you love? Maybe it’s time to start designing your own knitting patterns!
Writing your first pattern might feel like a huge undertaking. Sure, we might be able to adapt or knit accessories and garments to fit our own style, but translating our ideas into standardised patterns can be more challenging. But, if you have a passion for knitting, a strong vision and a willingness to do the work, you can absolutely share your knitting ideas with the world.
“The first pattern I designed was a colourwork sweater that I submitted for a design competition,” says Joona Höri, a knitwear designer and fashion student based in Helsinki, Finland. “By then I had only about two years of knitting experience, but I felt a strong desire to create my own designs so I decided to give it a go.”
Joona started by creating a mood board, looking for inspirational photos online. He tested colourwork swatches, and when he finally got to making the actual garment, it still took a lot of knitting and frogging to get the result he was happy with.
“I didn’t have any knowledge on how time-consuming creating a knitting pattern would be, but doing the leg work, with all of its trials and errors, helped me to understand and appreciate the steps that go into the process,” Joona explains. “Oh, and I happened to win that design competition!”
If you are itching to get started, there is no better time than now. For some extra reassurance, we reached out to a few established knitwear designers to share their top tips for creating your first pattern.
1. Know your ‘why’
“Are you interested in designing a pattern to fill a void in your wardrobe, or maybe to express yourself, or a bit of both? Whatever the reason, I think it's important to know what is driving you. The design process is not easy, but it is so enjoyable when you have a clear end goal in mind.”
–Tif Neilan, Tif Handknits
2. Do the work
“Make sure to have enough time for research and testing. Make swatches, test different kinds of yarns and think about the measures and dimensions of the knit. Thorough preparations will help you with the actual knitted piece. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to unravel: no amount of research will prevent you from having to knit and frog.”
3. Make notes
“Keep a notebook at hand while designing and write down every step as you're doing it. If you wait until after you've finished the piece to write the pattern, you will inevitably forget to include something, and it is a much bigger headache to have to go back and try to remember everything after the fact.”
–Alexi Tavel, Two of Wands
4. Focus on readability
“Having a great idea for a design is important, but it’s also good to think about the experience knitters will have with your pattern. How easily does your design translate into written and charted instructions, and how can it be graded into different sizes? Think about this early on and adjust your design accordingly. Work with tech editors and test knitters to improve your pattern and develop your skills.”
–Pauliina Kuunsola, Lina Knits
5. Have fun!
“Remember to enjoy the process. Try out new stitches together and use different yarns in swatches. Don’t let yourself get bored or else this new endeavour will become old very quickly. Work on designs that exhilarate you and that you can’t wait to get off your needles to wear!”
–Olga Putano, Olga Putano Designs
Text: Päivi Kankaro
Illustration: Pauliina Holma
This feature was first published in Laine Magazine issue 17.