View Full Version : I want to start designing but...

11-20-2007, 01:24 PM
Not sure where to begin! Are there any books I should be looking at?

11-20-2007, 03:21 PM
I have the same question! I've been knitting for almost 40 years and have never tried to design anything... I've been itching to try but don't know where to start. Excellent question!:cheering:

11-20-2007, 04:45 PM
:knitting: lala, howdy,
If you would like to start designing just take copious notes about everything, from casting on to color changes, shaping, needle size, yarn weight (or the specific yarn you used) etc. You can edit and rewrite whatever you've done (so it'll make sense the next time you read it or have someone else read it). Refer to patterns you already have for how many to cast on basic shaping, abbreviations, etc. Mix and match stitch patterns. If you've knitted for a while you know the basics you need to design your own stuff. Afterall a sock needs a toe and a heel with some stuff inbetween and a leg or cuff of some sort. Cardigans need two fronts, two sleeves..... etc. etc.
You aren't gonna be reinventing the wheel here but putting your own spin on special garments for your loved ones or to show off and share with the rest of us.
It's totally fun and rewarding to say to someone, " I designed that myself, and it's one of a kind!!" It's also way kewl when you see pics of people making or wearing YOUR creation.
So have fun with it. I'm always tweaking patterns to better suit me. I can't remember the last time I actually made something exactly as the pattern showed. But that's just me and I like a challenge..... :wink: :cool: One other thing I find helpful is to sketch out what I think the finished product should look like. And then after you've knitted all the pieces make a rough sketch of each piece, so that whomever you are sharing your joy with will be able to see what it's sposed to look like after they've followed your directions.
Blogs are wonderful places to show off your wares. Myspace, yahoo360* (they aren't gonna have that anymore after the first of the year), windowslivespaces, google's blogspot, etc. etc. Lots of places to write about your adventures.
If you have anymore questions just let me know and I'll do the best I can to answer em or I'll find someone who can (I'll hunt them down like Elmer does Bugs :twisted: )
knitting right along, Let's get knotty :mrgreen:

11-21-2007, 01:58 PM
I was hoping that someone with some knowledge of these books would post, but it's been a while, so I'll go ahead and post what I've got. I too have been wanting to break free of patterns, and have been researching some books on Amazon. Here's what I've gleaned:

- a lot of knitting designers say they started with the Elizabeth Zimmerman books, almost any of them.

- here's a book that looks interesting if you want to start from scratch with an inspiration from your imagination: Designing Knitwear, by Deborah Newton.

- there are a few books that seem to provide master patterns that you can alter: (a) Teach Yourself Visually Knitting Design: Working from a Master Pattern to Fashion Your Own Knits (Teach Yourself Visually) by Sharon Turner, (b) The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns: Basic Designs in Multiple Sizes & Gauges by Ann Budd, and (c) The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns: Basic Designs in Multiple Sizes & Gauges by Ann Budd.

- I've just ordered Sweater Design in Plain English by Maggie Righetti for its emphasis on creating flattering designs for various body types.

The decision on which book seems to depend on how much of the work you are willing or ready to do on your own. With Newton's book, you do your own sketch on paper and then calculate the stitch math for yourself. With Zimmerman, I believe you start with an existing finished sweater that fits and go from that. With the master pattern books, you tweak a pattern that someone else has calculated.

Good luck! I'm right there with you!

11-21-2007, 02:18 PM
Thanks janettle! This is the type of information I've been looking for. Now I know what to put on my Christmas wish list.:happydance:

11-21-2007, 02:28 PM
I was just looking through the Holiday issue of Vogue Magazine and noticing all the unusual designs esp by British designers. I think it's important to keep looking at these new designs and just figuring out what you like an don't like. And having a notebook to make sketches in yes, I love to do that. I'm going to try and design a dress although I already saw a pattern I like, but it's for a child... I just really want that in my size and I think I'll have to design it as I go.

Taking a particular sleeve from there and a neckline from somewhere else... and what you personally like to wear, I'm sure you'll come up with something. Creativity is so much fun!

11-22-2007, 11:08 AM
I, too, enjoy designing my own knitwear. I have to say, it helps to be really good at math.

Typically, I start with measurements, (usually my own, but often, a grandchild.) Add a certain amount of ease, depending on the intended garment's fit - you don't want your garment to be vacuum sealed to your body. That gives you a finished measurement for the garment.

Now, you must knit a swatch with your intended yarn using your intended needles. I usually start with about 20 stitches, and 4-6 rows - check how it's going so far, and if I like it, keep knitting to about 20 rows. I frog and reknit until I can come up with a 4"X4" square. This is also a good oportunity to see if you like the needle/yarn combo. Play with needles sizes until you get a nice looking stitch (or stitch pattern.) From the swatch, I can then calculate how many stitches to an inch I am getting, both vertically and horizontally.

If I need, for example, 4 stitches to an inch, and I am knitting a sweater that is 40 inches finished measure, I will have to cast on 160 stitches. If you are knitting in the round, or in one piece up to the armholes, you can start knitting right away. If you are knitting 2 fronts and a back, you'll have to divided the stitches among the pieces involved. (You will be eventually anyway, because you'll hit the arm holes.) So that would be 40 stitches for each front and 80 stitches across the back for a total of 160 stitches.

Of course there are increases and decreases involved depending upon the shaping of the garment. For a beginner, it's obviously best to start with boxy, square, loose garments, learn the basic math involved, and then "grow into" more shapely garments as you practice.

I hope that's a good starting place for your knitwear designing ambitions.
E38 (http://www.bmw-tech.org/wiki/BMW_E38)