Do you find it as frustrating to find just the right pattern to knit as I do? I use an occasional written pattern, but for the most part I simply chart or design my own patterns. I know many of you have computer programs like DAK, but for those of us without, this works really well and it is not nearly as complicated as it sounds. Plus, it is an excellent skill for any knitter to know how to do. You might have a favorite garment you can take measurements from (tutorial above in drop down menus) or you can take your own measurements or ones of the person you want to knit for. You can also simply go by a standard measurement charts such as this: http://www.fiber-images.com/Free_Things/Reference_Charts/free_reference_charts_standard_measurements.html
If you want to peruse ideas for knitted items, this web site has hundreds of hand knitting patterns – most with schematics. http://www.garnstudio.com/ Find the garment you like and print out the schematics. Find the size you want to knit and follow the instructions I have written, “Writing a Pattern from a Schematic” under Misc Techniques above in the drop down menus. If you need to change centimeters to inches, you can also find an online calculator to do that for you. And if you want to make changes to the length, etc., then it is easy to do on the schematics. Perhaps to begin with, choose one with drop shoulders to avoid shaping armholes on your first try.
This way of knitting has given me so much freedom to knit things that I like and fit me, on the gauge of machine I choose to knit on. That is what makes machine knitting so much fun and so satisfying! This pink Cuffed Short Sleeved V-Neck Cardi was designed on paper and knit on the standard gauge machine, using a lightweight 2-ply, slubby, acrylic yarn. I used a tuck stitch with a loose tension that produced a highly textured, loosely woven fabric. It came out just the size I designed it to be and is perfect for spring wear. Happy knitting! 🙂