Creating Knitting Patterns, Day 4: Design Elements: Lace, Cables, … Or Plain Stockinette?

Welcome to Day 4 of the Complete Guide to Creating Knitting Patterns series! Today, we are going to talk about how to select stitch patterns for your new knitting pattern – the design elements.

It’s All About Texture

Remember Rule #1? Form follows function! This rule is to obey when it comes to the selection of the stitch pattern of your choice, too. Do you want to keep your knitters busy with lots of charts, or shall your knitting pattern be suitable for easy, mindless TV knitting? Are you creating garments for cold winter days or an airy summer scarf?

Your stitch pattern should reflect the items’ purpose.

  • Cables tend to result in thicker knitted fabric
  • Open lace stitch patterns make lightweight, airy fabric
  • Lace stitch patterns come in easy (suitable for TV knitting) and complicated versions, occupying lots of concentration
  • Do your recipients like charts? If not, very complicated stitch patterns might not be the first choice
  • Is the item designed to be reversible? Take that into account by selecting reversible stitch patterns in that case (a currently hyped reversible stitch pattern is the Brioche stitch)
  • Will the item get heavy wear? No intricate lace stitch patterns for those!
  • Finally: how well does your yarn selection play together with the stitch pattern? Go swatch! (No wait, swatches are our topic for tomorrow)

Where To Find Stitch Patterns

My number one resource for stitch patterns are, in this order,

  • stitch dictionaries (real books, actually) and
  • the internet, obviously.

Stitch dictionaries come in various shapes and prices. My all time favorites are volumes I-VI of Barbara Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns, followed by gems I collected over the years, like the famous Estonian stitch pattern collection Pitsilised Koekirjad by Leili Reimann, Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys, and Arans by Gladys Thompson and Sata Kansanomaista Kuviokudinmallia by Eeva Haavisto, a comprehensive book about stitch patterns for mittens. Besides that, I own some lovely books on traditional Alpine Knitting from Austria and Germany, preventing the art & beauty of this old knitting tradition.

When it comes to online search, I tend to visit Pinterest for inspiration first. I pin interesting patterns to my Board Stitch Patterns – have a look to get you started!

Exercise: Find Suitable Stitch Patterns For Your Project

Find at least three suitable stitch patterns to use in your new knitting pattern.

Go and get some practice now! Creating knitting patterns in easier than you think. You can do it, too!


3 thoughts on “Creating Knitting Patterns, Day 4: Design Elements: Lace, Cables, … Or Plain Stockinette?

  • Rosalinda

    Hi Julia and thank you for your wonderful guide!
    I have a question about stitch patterns: what should I do if I want to use a stitch pattern found in a book into one of my paid knitting patterns? I’m talking especially about stitch patterns created by other designers, such as the Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible by Hitomi Shida, not about stitch patterns found in those big collection of popular stitch patterns. Do you think that -as well as obviously mention the author- I will need a special permission from her/him or her/his editor? (Anyway, I already wrote to Hitomi Shida’s distributor but not received any answer).

    Thank you very much!

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