Messing around with every variable

My friends get exasperated with me. They knit the right size jumper, with the wool stated on the pattern. Comes out lovely, but its BORING:passedout:

I knitted a jumper from a 1960s pattern, using the wrong wool, different size needles, did the patterned bit only where I felt like it, and based the size on a fleece I like.
Turned out OK-ish.

Mates think I mess around too much, but that seems to be the way to get the jumper I want with the wool I fell in love with. Xcept it doesn’t always work out :doh:

What does anyone think?


There are no knitting police. You s hould do what gets you the results you want. I bet you are learning a lot the way you do it. Of course if you change things up a lot and it doesn’t work out then you can’t blame the pattern though. :teehee:

I’ve always done this. Used whatever yarn I liked and since I prefer larger needles than used in patterns, learned how to adjust them to fit. As long as you’re happy with the results, that’s all that matters.

Have you got any tips for adjusting needle size etc to get things to work out?

I do the same thing, but I tend to do this more on non-wearables … since I haven’t dived headfirst into that area. Personally, I think that’s one of the aspects of knitting that makes it fun - putting your own spin onto a pattern. As in a recipe, usually it’s a starting point for me but I usually customize a bit in some way.

As far as finding the right needle size, swatching is the only way I know to figure that out.

That’s something I have been doing too, messing around with the patterns to make it my own. I have now decided to learn how the stitches look with different needles and yarns by making swatches, then write down what each one was. I can also learn a new stitch this way. By the time I’ve done 4 or 5 repeats I have a good idea of that stitch’s manners. It may wind up boring, but I’m determined to really learn knitting. Being self taught long years ago, I never really learned the basics of pattern design as applied to knitting. I make my own sewing patterns, but that doesn’t quite translate into knitting patterns.

If you don’t or can’t use the same size needle in a pattern (which is only a suggestion, not an absolute) you do need to knit up a sample to see how many sts/inch you get with the size you do use. Then multiply that by the width measurement you need to see how many sts that will take. For a sweater, you may be lucky and one of the other sizes will be close to that number of stitches so you can follow the instructions for that size, adjusting the length to the length you need.

I start with the best intentions of following the pattern but I always end up changing something. I’m holding myself in more with my current project, a pulldown sweater, because its my first real knitting project and I don’t feel I know enough about knitting to screw around. I did put in some additional increase rows and now with the sleeves,I’m making more frequent decreases but I didn’t decrease for the waist which I think I’m going to regret.

But in crochet, forget about it, I never follow the pattern.

Yeah, I start knitting a pattern and think, ‘hey, I could do this, or try that’ then rip it out and start over with my mods.

If everyone knitted a pattern the same as the original designer there would be no variety and therefore no new patterns/designs. I look at patterns as a guide of what things COULD be, not what they MUST be

Hi! :waving:

As a professional artist, I can give you a tried and true method that’s worked for me over many years and many learned art forms.

First, I want to get the basics down on whatever it is I’m trying to learn how to do. I want to learn and practice until I can grasp the principles and turn out a really professional result. That doesn’t have to take forever, it’s just a matter of putting the time and energy into it.

Then, once I’ve learned the rules and can get the product I start branching out from there trying my own version or variation to experiment. And experimenting with whatever you’re creating is really where it’s at. But first get comfortable with the basics.

There are basics to simply knitting stitches and manipulating the thread so that you can create certain effects. Then there are the basics perhaps for knitting a garment, or knitting hats or socks or whatever. Get those basics down, follow a pattern or instruction manual at least to that point and then your experiments will turn out much better than taking shots in the dark and trying to re-invent the wheel.

When I was first learning landscape painting I was trying to paint a tree, one of those elegant ones that have the delicate leaf forms and look so beautiful in a landscape. I painted for WEEKS and just couldn’t get it right. No matter what I did, no matter how many thousands of tiny little leaves I painted the doggone thing always looked heavy and contrived. Then one day I was cruising the artist’s brushes at a Michaels and lo and behold I picked up this weird looking brush that resembled a huge stencil brush only with a bit of rounding at the tips. Written on the handle were the words “Tree Brush”. The lightbulb went on - I suddenly knew how to get my trees to look exactly the way I wanted. And it worked - dabbing that brush into the oils and lightly tapping the canvas created the most beautiful, airy foliage you’d ever want to see.

Now I can achieve that effect with any number of tools, but I’ve long since learned the basic techniques of painting. Learn those basics and the world is your oyster.

Hope this helps!

Happy knitting (and experimenting!)

Ruthie :hug:

I think the tough part of branching out on your own with garments is that its hard to tell which part of the pattern is there to make the garment structurally sound. I’m always seeing things I’d like to change but not at the expense of the garment actually being wearable.

I read your post right after you had posted it and I nearly answered that I always follow the pattern, to the letter, blah blah blah, but I knew that wasn’t necessarily true. Let me preface the following by saying that I normally follow patterns to the letter because I am not confident in my knitting ability to begin with.

As I read this post again this morning, I was loading up my media player with a wide selection of the most eclectic music known to man. I have varied tastes and today I was not at all sure what I wanted to listen to. This usually happens when I am at a creative point. Today I was working on decreasing the toe and grafting… I use yarn remnants to practice techniques I’m unsure about.

As I was working my tube, I listened to the music and just kept knitting. I got to thinking I’d like to try a neat little cable pattern in the next project for my husband and found I’d done it without thinking a lot about it… it caused me to giggle and think about this post.

So, while I try to walk the straight and narrow path, I can gather wool just as well as anyone else and let my creative imp take the wheel. Like the OP, sometimes the imp is wonderful and other days I wonder what on earth gets into its brain.