Knitting Machine Patterns – 6 methods

What machine knitting patterns do you use? Even though we don’t have many publications dedicated to machine knitting these days, we do have options.

Hand knitting patterns, vintage patterns, Knit it Now patterns … which type is best for you?

Explore 6 machine knitting pattern methods and discover your favorite.

6 methods of creating custom machine knitting patterns

Where do you get patterns for your machine knitting? Once upon a time, there were beautiful glossy magazines and hardbound books written just for machine knitters. Sadly, that’s not the case any longer, but there are options that we can use to get beautiful knitting patterns. Let’s take a look at some of those options and make some choices as to what method works best for you.

First, there are vintage patterns. There’s a ton of vintage patterns available for us to use. The problem with these vintage patterns is that they’re written for yarn that no longer exists. Often they’re very small sizes. Um, the designs are pretty dated. The good news with these patterns is they have some really unusual stitch patterns.

And innovative techniques. So there’s a lot to be gained by at least exploring and examining these vintage patterns. Can you use these patterns? Well, of course, you’ll need to do some math to convert the stitch gauge, and you might want to update the styles just a little bit, but these are definitely an option for us to use.

Another choice is to use hand knitting patterns. Now we’ve got updated styles and a wealth of beautiful designs by modern designers. These also come in larger sizes. Again, though, you’re going to have to match the designer’s gauge, and if you choose not to use the yarn that the designer used, you’ll need to do some math to convert your gauge and your yarn to their design.

Another issue with hand knitting patterns to keep in mind is many stitch patterns that are designed for hand knitting are not appropriate for our machines. You know, think of terms of knit and purl stitches. So you will need to substitute stitch patterns. Another thing with the hand knitting patterns, (the modern hand knitting patterns)

So many of them are written to be knit from the top down or be knit in the round. Now on our flatbed knitting machines, that really is impossible. Can you take a top-down pattern and just knit a front and a back and knit it from the bottom up or from the top down? Either way, knit flat in other words, absolutely.

Again, there’s some math involved. And you’ll need to match the gauge. I’m going to throw in a little commercial here for Knit it Now patterns. With our dynamic patterns, there no software to install. You don’t have to do any math. Three steps. You choose a size, you enter your gauge and your stitch pattern and just get knitting.

So check out knititnow.com/Patterns for our dynamic, perfect fit patterns. And I’ll talk more about them in just a minute. Now another way to get knitting patterns for machine knitters is to use a pencil and paper. You could chart your own patterns. You know, once upon a time you could go down to the local yarn store and someone in the local yard store would chart a pattern for you.

Those days are over. I think, and many of us don’t know how to chart it is. Something that is a skill that as a machine knitter you should have. You should know the basics of charting. If nothing else, you’re not going to sit down with a blank piece of paper and charter a sweater for yourself, but you might want to adjust the sleeve length or make a minor change to a pattern.

Knowing how to chart is really going to help you in that area. Speaking of charting, using software is much more common today. There are quite a few software packages out there that you can use to learn how to chart, to chart your own sweaters. One of the issues with any software is the cost. You have to purchase the thing.

You have to install the thing. You have to maintain the thing. You have to learn the thing, and the learning curve on some of these software packages is pretty big. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be knitting then. Sitting at my computer playing with software. But if software and original design are in your future, you might want to consider some of these software packages.

The nice thing about software is you can come up with a design that you can use over and over, change the gauge and make minor changes to it and have really a lot of control over your knitting pattern. Now, something to consider when you’re considering software is the output of that software. What’s the written pattern

look like? Whether you print it out on paper or you view it on the computer, you need to be comfortable with how the output of that pattern is. So something to consider when you’re shopping for software. Another way of getting knitting patterns for machine knitting is to use a charting device. Now, what’s a charting device?

It’s something that looks like, well, this is one style. They came in a lot of different styles. Some of the charting devices are built right into the machine. Others are a separate device like this, and they are a visual way of knitting. You draw the shape of your garment piece, whether it’s a sleeve or a front or a back.

You draw it on a piece of paper or a card – a specific piece of paper. And then as you knit. And as you push the carriage back and forth, that design, that drawing advances, you follow the line and do your increases and decreases to shape your garment piece based on the visual little image that you’re looking at.

Now, if you’re lucky enough to have a charting device for your knitting machine and you haven’t tried it, I really encourage you to try it. This method is very popular with a lot of knitters. 

Okay? I’m biased, but using knit now, dynamic patterns is the best way to get knitting patterns. You don’t have to match my gauge.

You can use your gauge, your stitch pattern, any machine. We also have a perfect fit feature so that you can fine-tune the fit and the size of your knitting. The patterns have no abbreviations, so none of that cryptic abbreviation stuff like in the old vintage patterns. We also include tips and tricks and instruction right in the pattern.

Videos are embedded in many of the patterns as well. I invite you to go to knititnow.com/Patterns and take a look at our perfect fit dynamic blueprints. 

No matter what method you choose, I really suggest that you pick one of the methods and use it. Don’t spend your precious knitting time learning software and translating vintage patterns and doing a bunch of math with hand knitting patterns.

Pick one method and stick with it. You’ll find you’ll have much more success. Until next time, thanks for watching and happy knitting.

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