Creating Knitting Patterns, Day 3: Pattern Category & Yarn Selection

Welcome to Day 3 of the Complete Guide to Creating Knitting Patterns series! Today, we are going to talk about how to select yarn and a pattern category for your new knitting pattern.

How To Choose a Pattern Category

When it comes to pattern category selection, I don’t run into much problems usually: I like to knit shawls and socks too, so I focus on creating patterns for shawls and socks. (I’m working on moving on towards sweater and cardigan patterns, too – but this is another story and shall be told another time).

What do you enjoy knitting?

Sweaters, hats, scarves, shawls, or items for your beloved pet?

If in doubt, choose the pattern category you feel most comfortable within. It does not make sense to start creating a knitting pattern involving a technique or construction method you do not feel familiar with.

You are about to learn something new: how to create a knitting pattern. This alone is a challenge! Trying to master two different hings at a time might feel overwhelming and be disappointing in the end.

How To Select Yarn For Your New Knitting Pattern

Decided on a pattern category? Awesome! Now it’s time to talk about yarn selection.

The first thing to be considered when it comes to yarn selection for your knitting pattern to be created is whether a chosen yarn can be used with the selected pattern category at all. Are we talking about a summer scarf? Or a sweater for these cold mid-winter days to keep you warm?

Rule #1: Form Follows Function

There’s a rule, actually THE rule, in design generally: form follows function.

This should be your number one objective when it comes to creating knitting patterns, too. Always select yarn base and weight for your patterns according to this rule first. I cannot emphasize this enough.

Choosing that lovely shiny pure silk yarn for your pattern project might be tempting, but there’s no way of using it in cold weather garments. Always obey Rule #1.

Rule #2: Availability

After deciding on yarn weight and fiber content, detailed yarn choices are to be made. Is the yarn you plan to use readily available? People tend to become confused when knitting patterns call for discontinued yarns, or yarns only available locally.

If in doubt, use yarns which are available to YOUR target audience. It makes a difference if you are publishing French patterns for French knitters – in this case, you could of course choose to use a French yarn company selling their yarns in France only. If you aim for a broader audience, choosing a yarn that is available either at local yarn stores or easily to be ordered via the internet might be the better choice.

Rule #3: Price

When it comes to knitting yarns, we all know how that our hobby is not on the cheap side of the spectrum at all. Being able to use expensive yarns is a nice thing, but there might be people out there who cannot afford them.

Addressing yarn substitutes is an option if you really want to show off that special single skein of yarn you were happy to find at our local yarn shop, for like $50 per 50 yards.

Let’s sum up

  • Form follows function!
  • Prefer yarns readily available for a broad range of people over local, not easily available yarns.
  • Select yarns that are affordable. Alternatively, provide yarn substitutes.

Exercise: Pattern Category & Yarn Selection

Now, go on and take the exercise: choose on a pattern category and select at least three yarn options for it. Let me know how it goes by leaving a comment below!


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