Knitting Pattern Templates: Which Elements to Include?

Working on my idea of perfect knitting pattern templates, it came to my mind it could be a good idea to deconstruct knitting patterns into their elements and find out what good patterns have in common.

Besides properly written instructions, of course. What makes up a knitting pattern? Can there be an universal template for all knitted items? Is there fundamental differences in say, a template for socks and a sweater that counterpoints the possibility for such an all-in-one template?

About Knitting Pattern Templates: Elements

My thoughts led to the idea of the existence of atoms, like pieces all of them have in common and ones that exist only for certain sub-types, say socks.

One atom could an Abbreviations Atom (all knitting patterns use them, so all should have a section explaining their usage) or a Materials Atom (every pattern should tell you what yarn & needles you should use to achieve the desired shape and size).

So what makes up a good knitting pattern template?

What do Have All Knitting Patterns in Common?

What are the elements each and every knitting pattern contains? They all contain…

  • An introduction
  • Pictures
  • List of Abbreviations
  • Materials (yarn, and additional material like stitch markers)
  • Gauge
  • Instructions, and
  • An “About the Author” section.

Let’s take a closer look.

The Introduction

Every pattern has one. It serves as a place to tell about the inspiration, construction methods, intended wear, personal history and finished size of the knitted item the pattern has been written for.


How will the finished item look like? We want to know in advance what we are knitting, except for mystery patterns, eventually.


When we talk ktbl or p2tog, we would like to know what we are talking about at first hand.


What yarn would we use, what needle size and do we need any additional materials like stitch markers? Or maybe waste yarn for a provisional cast on? A darning needle to weave in ends?


Oh yes, we like to work a swatch first. Or maybe we don’t like to, but we actually should. Trust me.


Obviously, we are talking about knitting patterns, so there should be some sort of instructions at least. How to knit the whole thing?

** I use to divide mine up into sections that are typical for the item in question: all of my sock patterns have a section about heels, toes, the foot, … etc.

About the Author

Usually, there’s a little “About Me” section in patterns, too. Who wrote the pattern? How can he or she be reached? Via email, on Twitter, is there a Facebook page? An instagram account?

Wrapping it Up

Which elements should a good knitting pattern template include?

Let’s sum up: all the elements we just talked about should be included in a pattern template. But there is more: a good pattern is not just written in a proper way, it also should be visually appealing. That’s when the second question is being asked: how to present this information?

Presenting Your Pattern

Even if your pattern is perfectly written and consists all necessary information, the presentation is still a factor that can make or break your design. The information you are presenting should be readable and visually appealing – it does not only just look nice and pretty, it also makes it easier for the reader to understand.

So if we come up with a template, it should be pretty, visually clear and – ideally – customizable.

Read more about Knitting Pattern Templates here tomorrow.

There’s more, I’m sure

Have I forgotten something? Yes? Feel free to leave a comment and tell me, I’d be happy to hear your suggestions!

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