Want to Design a Pattern?
Have you been toying with the idea of starting to design knitwear patterns? Our team member Pauliina is also a knitwear designer, and she wrote some basic tips for you on how to get started:
Want to design a pattern?
Have an idea for a knitted piece you’d like to design yourself? Thinking of starting to design your own knitting patterns, professionally or as an extension to your hobby? There are many roads you can take and many approaches that might work.
One of the first things you need to decide is whether you want to self-publish or to submit your idea to magazines or other publications. For the latter, take a look at the publication’s guidelines, as these vary a lot from company to company. But no matter where or how you publish, here are some tips that you could use to get started.
One thing to remember is that being a knitting designer is more than designing great pieces. You’ll also need to be able to write patterns that other people can follow. Therefore, it’s a good idea to read and knit a lot of knitting patterns from many different designers. You’ll get ideas for what you like and don’t like and see different ways of expressing the same thing.
You’ll also notice certain standards that are commonplace in knitting patterns. Using them will make it easier for the knitter to follow your instructions. That said, there’s no such thing as a knitting pattern that will please everyone, so you should find what you like, and develop your unique style and voice.
Another tip is to play with yarn a lot, to sketch and swatch. Even if you’re not good at drawing, get your ideas on paper. And even if swatching isn’t your favourite thing to do, try your ideas first on a smaller scale. The yarn you’ve chosen might not work with the idea you have, for example, and it’s good to catch that in the early stages.
Seeing how various yarns look like knitted up and what characteristics they have, can give you more ideas. And if you’re designing a sweater, or another item where you need to calculate your stitches and rows to get a good fit, a swatch is where you’ll get those numbers. So, getting comfortable knitting those squares, is going to help you a lot!
Some people like to design by writing the pattern first, others like to design by knitting. No matter what your approach is, keeping detailed notes while you’re knitting your design is highly recommended. You might think you’ll remember something later, but don’t take that chance! Jot down everything and writing the final version of your pattern will be a lot easier.
Once you’ve finished your pattern, do have it tech edited and test knitted, if possible. Other people will be able to spot things you’ve overlooked, and you’ll feel so much more confident when publishing.
If you’re self-publishing, do make the effort to get good photographs of your design to use on the pattern and on social media. It really does make a difference. Oh, and don’t forget to promote your pattern on all the channels available to you!
You should definitely also check out Clare Mountain-Manipon’s website – it’s a great source of helpful tips and insightful tutorials for beginning designers!