Writing a Pattern from a Schematic

  • By using this technique, you can use any machine you have and any yarn you have
  • Draw your own design or use any hand knitting schematic you desire – read through this one is to learn this technique

1.Experiment with the gauge of machine you want to use and your yarn

  • Choose a machine, stitch pattern and tension; knit several inches changing stitch patterns or tensions until you are happy with the look and feel of the fabric
  • Experiment to see how many rows it takes to make one inch of the kind of ribbing you desire
  • If you are short on yarn you can unknit and rewind your experimenting
  1. Make a tension swatch
  • Yeah…it’s necessary – not an option; they take 10 minutes to knit 🙂
  • If you need a refresher course look under Techniques in drop down menus above
  • If you have more than one stitch pattern on your design, you must make a swatch for each one
  • All your calculations to knit will be taken from an accurately knit tension swatch
  • At a minimum, let the swatch rest; at best, wash and dry as garment will be cared for
  • Measure your swatch with the appropriate ruler; green for standard gauge, yellow for mid gauge, blue for bulky. They can be ordered here: http://store.dknits.com/pd-gauge-ruler.cfm
  • Jot down the numbers you get for stitches and rows using the correct side of ruler for each
  • Divide that number by 4 and that is the number of stitches or rows per inch
  1. Calculate the number of stitches to cast on for the BACK by referring to a schematic like the one below
  • This schematic is 22” wide so say for example the stitches you calculated from your swatch is 6.26 sts per inch
  • 22” X 6.26 = 137.5 – so round up to 138 needles to cast on
  • Begin with your choice of ribbing or other hem
  • This schematic has 1 ¼” of ribbing – so according to my experiment it took 15 rows of my yarn to make 1 ¼”
  • This left 25 ¾” left out of the 27” for the length of the back
  • 75” X 15 (the number of rows in an inch from my tension swatch) = 386.25 or 387 rounded up rows to knit
  • The schematic has 8” for the back neck (8” X 6.25 = 50 sts)
  • Each shoulder is 7” (7 X 6.25 = 43.76 or 44 sts)
  • Remove 2 shoulders sections of 44 sts; Remove center 50 sts
  1. Calculate the number of stitches to cast on for the FRONTS
  • This schematic is 11” wide for the fronts 6.25 X 11” = 68.75 or 69 sts to cast on
  • The inches to knit straight, after ribbing, before decreasing for neckline is 11 ¾” 11.75 X 15 (rows per inch) = 176.25 or 177 rows
  • Calculate the number of decreases you will need based on the beginning number of sts (69 in this case) minus the ending number of sts (44 sts for shoulder) = 25 decreases needed
  • Calculate how many rows are in the V – 14” on this schematic (14” X 15 (rows per inch) = 210 rows
  • Calculate where the decreases are by dividing the rows by the number of decreases (210 ÷ 25 = 8.4).
  • http://www.annbuddknits.com/Magic_Increase_Decrease_Formula.pdf   Use this formula for calculating exactly where your decreases will go. Since you cannot decrease on such an odd number you know you need to decrease every 8 rows and then every 9 rows. This pattern required decreasing every 8 rows 15 times – then every 9 rows 10 times
  • Remember a V neck cardi front you must begin decreasing at RC 0 (if you are doing a sleeve or hem you can begin decreases at later RC)
  • If needed you can knit a few rows straight at the end before removing knitting
  • Repeat for other front doing decreases on opposite side of your work
  1. Calculate number of sts to cast on for SLEEVE
  • Top of sleeve: 21” X 6.25 = 131.25 or 132 sts
  • Use the Magic Formula to calculate the decreases on the sleeve: http://www.getknitting.com/ak_0603mfcalc.aspx
  • Enter the maximum number of sts – 132; the minimum number (15” X 6.25 = 93.75) or 94; the number of rows before cuff (10” X 15 (rows per inch) = 150 rows)
  • Knit sleeve using the decreases suggested in the Magic Formula
  • For this sample pattern, the last 30 rows are knit after the work is turned on a garter bar
  • After work is turned, begin patterning again and finish the last 30 rows (2” X 15 = 30 rows)
  • Bind off and make second sleeve
  1. Figure and refigure your calculations.
  • When you are confident they are right, write your pattern to take to your machine.
  • From your worksheet, write down in an orderly way for each piece – your sts to cast on, rows to knit, how you are going to decrease/increase and how you are going to bind off.
  • There are lots of resources to complete your garment if you need some instruction for steps such as blocking, sewing your pieces together and adding borders or bands to your garments – some are in the techniques section of this blog or there are many resources such as Diana Sullivan that you can do an internet search on.
  1. Congratulations – you are a pattern designer! 🙂


Cuffed Short Sleeved V Neck Cardi

Enlarge schematic as needed



You may copy, print and use any of the info on my blog. Please do not copy and repost anywhere on the internet without contacting me to get my permission.  Please do not sell this pattern as your own.  Thank you, Ann