How To Design Knitwear
Many of my knitting friends are fine with knitting the designs of others. But others seem to want to design. They often ask how to design knitwear.
QueerJoe’s Method of How To Design Knitwear
When I first started knitting, I was quite happy to just follow others’ patterns. Then I’d start to make minor changes to the pattern. Shaping, neckline, etc. But then I found I had a yearning inside of me to create new designs.
I started to gain an understanding of color theory that worked for me. Understanding gauge, and drape and fiber content started to become second-nature. I understood the basics of garment shaping. And also the limits of knitted fabric.
First Forays Into Design
I was first inspired by color. Yarns that were vibrant caught my eye. So, I started to be a collector. I also started to realize that some really talented yarn dyers really didn’t know how to best showcase their yarns.
I started with simple pattern stitches. Linen Stitch, Feather and Fan, Old Shale. It was interested to turn stitch patterns lengthwise. To combine multiple colorways of yarn in alternating stripes. My first written pattern was an Old Shale scarf made with two contrasting colorways of Koigu KPPPM. It certainly wasn’t a “new” pattern. But I loved I could blend very differing colorways of a variegated yarn in a very beautiful way.
Then I started making garments lengthwise instead of widthwise. Especially scarves.
How I Start Now
These days, a new design usually starts with an interesting stitch pattern. Stitch dictionaries (promotional link), Pinterest and Ravelry supply me with most of my design ideas. My yarn stash has plenty of different yarns with which to experiment.
Sometimes, I will be inspired by a great yarn. Finding just the right stitch pattern to show off the yarn without hiding it’s colors and beauty can be a challenge.
Suffice it to say, I don’t think I’ll be running out of design ideas anytime soon. A few ideas I have right now are:
- Notched collar pullover with an intricate placket colorwork
- Primordial sworls scarf
- Mesh and Blocks shawl/wrap
How do you design? What have you got coming up that new and fresh and hot?
The Subtle Striped Cowl is complete!
The completed cowl ended up being 79″ in circumference and 10.5″ wide. After light steam blocking, the drape of the fabric is luxurious, warm and soft. Though I think I will wash it to see if it will get even softer.
While I modeled this beauty to show scale, this garment is not for me. I will either sell it, or give it as a gift.
This is a really great, mindless project. I will refer people who want a pattern for this to Susan Lawrence’s Striate Cowl pattern. I used a different weight yarn (DK), different needles (US7 or 4.5 mm) and a different stitch count. But the design idea was this pattern.