Making patterns

I have a dream of some day publishing a book of patterns. BUT, I don’t have the slightest idea how to make my own patterns. Does anybody have any tips on where to start? Is it sort of a trial and error thing like making your own cooking recipes, or is there a specific mathematics involved? I’d love any sort of feedback! Thanks!

You may want to read other technical books so you have a thorough understanding of construction. There’s Knitting from the Top Down by Barbara Walker, and another one (whose name I can’t remember) by Maria Righetti. The Elizabeth Zimmerman books would be good to read through too.

and another one (whose name I can’t remember) by Maria Righetti.

Are you thinking of [I]Knitting In Plain English[/I], by Maggie Righetti?

Yes, thanks, that’s it.

Awesome! This should be fun!

If you’re looking to do sweaters, read Righetti’s book [I]‘Sweater Design in Plain English.’ [/I] Learning stitch properties, how knit fabric acts/reacts, drapes, shapes, etc. How the diff fibers behave. In this book, perhaps one of the best pieces of info: learning how to find the proper marriage of yarn and pattern. If you have a background in sewing, many of her insights in this book are even more enlightening as she draws comparisons, contrasts.

Jess, I think it’s a combination of trial and error and a basic grasp of the mathematics involved. I would recommend Elizabeth Zimmerman’s “Knitting without tears”, and to start out with small things. Design a sock, using the basic rules involved (a good recipe is the one that Stephanie Pearl-McPhee gives in Knitting Rules!). Design a baby sweater. Play around with cables (that is really so much easier than it looks!). And read, read, read. Good luck, and keep us posted!

Iris has the right idea. I’ve come up with a number of my own patterns through the years, and here is one huge suggestion:

Find a very basics-only pattern, say for a pullover sweater. No frills. No unusual styling - just st st, ribbing, regular sleeves and cuffs, round neckline.

Now you can add your own variations - a squared-off neckline; bell sleeves or leg-o’-mutton sleeves, longer or shorter on the waist-ribbing, cables or lacy patterns, etc. Adjust the gauge for larger or smaller needles to accommodate different weights of yarn.

I’ve done this many different ways for many patterns. Just find a great base that you can make your own styles from. This is great for Fair Isle, cables, bobbles, lace, whatever.

Works for socks, mittens, scarves, hats, sweaters, vests - you name it. And I think if you take someone else’s pattern and change it 20%, you can publish it as your own. But I much prefer the generic base-then vary as you will technique.

Hope this helps,