If you're ready for a knitting and designing challenge, try creating your own knitting patterns. Seeing a knitted item from concept to completion is a worthwhile and rewarding endeavor that every knitter should attempt at least once. When you create your own knitting pattern, you'll not only finish a unique knitted item. You'll also learn how to construct knitted items, a skill that will improve your knitting, even when you're working with a pattern that's not your own.
Find inspiration for your knitted design. Maybe you want to create a knitting pattern that highlights a particular yarn's characteristics, or you may want to take cues from runway fashion. Regardless of your source, inspiration is essential to creating your own knitting pattern.
Sketch a design. If you're creating a sweater pattern, make notes about shaping, length, stitch pattern and any other pertinent design features.
Knit swatches. If you begin with a yarn, knit a few swatches in different stitch patterns to see how the yarn will work with your design. If you begin with a sketch, try several different yarns to determine which will best suit your garment.
Measure yourself. The easiest way to create a pattern for a knitted garment is to fit it to your own measurements. Use a dressmaker's measuring tape to figure out your bust, shoulder, waist and hip measurements, as well as arm length, arm depth and back waist length.
Knit a 6-inch by 6-inch square gauge swatch in the yarn you have chosen for your pattern. Wash it in no-rinse wool wash and block before measuring the swatch to determine how many stitches and rows fit into a 4-inch square.
Draft a pattern using your measurements and the numbers derived from your gauge swatch. Figure out how many stitches you need to equal your measurements at different points.
Determine how much ease you want to incorporate when determining the number of stitches you need at certain points in the garment. If you're making a relaxed fit garment, add 2 or 3 inches to your measurements.
Place increases and decreases in strategic spots. If you want to create a pattern with waist shaping, place decreases starting about 2 inches below the bust.
Space decreases an even number of rows apart, and plan for the final decrease row to hit just above your natural waist. Start incorporating increase rows about 2 inches below the natural waist.
If you've never created a knitting pattern, try using a percentage system to figure out shaping.