Making your own charts from photos


Recently I am playing with the idea of creating animal patterns from photos. I would only need the outline and the whole pattern would be in one colour.

Have you tried something like that? And if so, what is the percentage/ratio for stretching the chart so that it comes out right? I have a book where an intarsia circle looks like an oval. I used this approximate proportion but it still came out a bit flattened.

There is a free software suggestion in a different thread but it seems that the patterns turn out too pixelated (like a very low resolution picture) and it would need more tweaking at the end.

Can anyone suggest commercial software?


It’s been a while since I’ve used a photo enhancement program. I used Jasc software, which is similar to Photoshop. I’m sorry that I can’t be more specific, these are general instructions. In both programs, you open the photo and apply a filter to the photo which is called Pixelate or something like that. It turns the photo into pixels. You could then change the size of the photo by either percentage or a size (like 5 by 7 inches). You can customize the size to your specifications. You can change the resolution to be more clear. If you don’t like the result on either process, you can always undo your work and start over. This can then be printed out into a usable graph. Hope this helps.

I would check for freeware before you buy anything. You can type “freeware photo editors like Photoshop” in the search box. The description should have something about filters, layers, or special effects. One of my fav places for freeware and shareware is

Thanks, I do the same, use free Artweaver and Excel for making graph paper. But you know how the gauge numbers are usually different in rows and stitches? So simply pixelated picture that has the same number of pixels horizontally and vertically would be distorted, woudn’t it?

I assume there is no magic number and it depends on the gauge and tension, just curious if anyone has any experience in turning pictures into patterns.

Yes, they could be distorted depending on the gauge and pattern so you’ll need to account for that. I don’t know of a program that does that unfortunately. :shrug:

You’re probably going to have to go the old fashioned route with pencil, paper, a calculator and math skills. It shouldn’t be too bad if it’s a simple shape. My son is an artist. He reproduces cartoons or designs to paint on his jacket. He splits the entire picture up into tiny grids on graph paper and copies it in small areas at a time until he’s got the entire thing done. He starts by charting the top, bottom, and sides of the design first (the main shape), then adds the details.

You can test your designs by making them small at first and knitting potholders with fair isle or intarsia. You would then have to figure out via math how to enlarge them onto something like a sweater and have it centered correctly. You would center it by the widest width of the pattern and the tallest height of it.

You would use the gauge listed for the pattern to figure out the exact placement. Look at the row gauge and figure out how many rows per inch. Look at the pattern to determine how many rows to knit between the ribbing and neckline. Divide this by the number of rows per inch. This should give you inches.

Example: My pattern tells me to knit 12 rows. My row gauge says that I should have 5 rows per inch. That’s 2 1/2 inches of knitting. Half of this would be 1 1/4. This is my vertical center point. My stitch gauge says that I’m supposed to have 5 stitches per inch. I have 20 stitches total across. That’s 4 inches total across. My horizontal center point would be 2 inches across. I would mark this center point where the vertical and horizontal lines cross. The center point of my design would go here. I then figure out by measuring from the center point which row the bottom and side edges of my design would start on. It would be easier to sketch this placement all out on graph paper, one square equaling one square inch. Hope this makes sense to you.

This should be easy to do on graph paper if you’ve ever done counted cross stitch. Find the center point. Count the number of stitches to the left and right of center point. This is how many inches across you want the design to be. Graph the lines above and below this center line.

I think this site will do exactly what you require (and its free!). It is a website which allows a user to convert any image to a knitting pattern. The image is split into squares to knit with presets for cushions of various sizes, a cot blanket or a large throw / blanket. It even calculates how much wool of each colour will be required for the completed pattern.

upload image
crop as required
change colours
produce a knitting pattern

You have a list of the colours used in the image which you can change, maybe to match the wool that you have handy or create a new artistic feel.

It will automatically take care not to stretch the pattern and is aware that stitches are not square!

Try it at

You can print graph paper here that is especially set up for knitting.

Two things I’ve done and have had excellent results:

  1. Print up graph paper and then load it in the printer and put your picture directly on the graph paper and then fill in the edges with pencil to correct for any half-filled stitches.

  2. If you have a copy machine available, print the graph onto a transparency and lay it over the picture.

Have you tried or