Design And Knit The Look!

You’re perusing the latest fashion magazine, and you stumble upon the cutest wrap, or you see something in the store that speaks “I can make it”. If you are a diehard knitter like me, I’m sure this has happened to you. The question becomes “How do you interpret fashion looks and make them come to life?”.

I’m not going to make this post a comprehensive design lesson, but will give you some pointers to creating those “looks”. I will also make the assumption that you have the skills to create and knit them.


  • Keep a small sketch book or journal with you at all times. A camera or mobile device will work, but you might be looked at in a skeptical manner when shopping, people wondering what you are up to. Ideas come anytime, and no they don’t fall from the sky. Having paper or whatever device works for you, will help you collect and record your ideas. Collect fashion magazine images as well.
  • Carry a measuring tape for quick measurements of items with simple construction in the dressing room! I’ve done this many times, and you just need to measure the key spots including the width, length, and other areas depending on the type of project. As soon as possible make notes of the details to remind you.
  • Do a little research to determine fiber content, and yarn type/weight – is it a textured or fuzzy yarn; is it a fine, medium, or bulky look? Depending on where you obtained the “look”, this information may not be easy to ascertain, so take a best guess. Because you aren’t the original designer, it won’t be exactly the same, but it can certainly be a close resemblance. Who knows, you may enjoy the process so much, you come up with an original by you!
  • Determine the specifics, including collecting the measurements, pattern stitches, shaping, sleeve style, type of neckline, pockets, and any other details you want to incorporate.
  • With garments, I like to begin with graph paper, and draw a schematic of the pieces, a line drawing showing the finished measurements. For a scarf or hat, draw an illustration and note the measurements, pattern stitches and other details. I’m a terrible illustrator, so graph paper works great for me.
  • Choose your yarn. In other posts, I’ve stressed the importance of buying all the yarn at once when following instructions. For this type of project, it’s fine to purchase 1 or 2 balls, because you are experimenting to get the “look”. When you’ve decided on the final yarn, you can purchase more.
  • Test Swatch and Gauge – the most important aspect to designing any project. The gauge provides the knitter with all the information to calculate the number of stitches and rows required for the item. I’ve talked about gauge many times, so I won’t discuss it here. This process will likely require some experimentation to get the “look”.
  • Once you’ve determined the appropriate gauge with your yarn choice you can dive into knitting the project. If you are more of a knitter that enjoys designing on the needle, go for it. Or if you are like me, I write out instructions as I knit; this doesn’t mean there won’t be bugs to address, but writing provides me a guide, similar to an outline when writing an article. At the end I have instructions I can file away for future use. Without some structure, it is less likely to work.
  • Finishing – the all important step in my mind – the difference between handmade and homemade.

Enjoy Your “Look”!

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