Posted in Dishcloth/Washcloth, Knitting, Scarves, Stitch Patterns, Tutorials

Stitch Pattern Saturday – Designing with Stitch Patterns

Stitch Patterns are such a fun way to change up your knitting a little. They add a bit of texture or interest to an otherwise ho-hum kind of knit. I’ve decided I want to start a new series called “Stitch Pattern Saturday”. I actually thought I might start this in January, after all the Holiday hub-bub is over. Why put off until tomorrow, what you can do today, right?

I’ve become convinced that there are some of us whose brains are wired a little bit differently from others. I say that because, with all the lovely knitting patterns out there, why on earth would one decide to sit down with a stitch pattern dictionary and a notepad to plot out the next project to go onto the needles? Wouldn’t you just scroll through the beautiful patterns already written and just choose a project? Don’t get me wrong…..I do that too. BUT. There’s also something very rewarding about taking something from concept to a finished project.

If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at designing your own project, I’m going to give you some tips to get you started (just don’t blame me if this becomes an addiction 😉 ).

Designing with Stitch Patterns –

In this tutorial, we’re only going to address using a flat knitting process (things get a little trickier when trying to convert a stitch pattern for in-the-round knitting….). Since these are good projects to get you started, I’ll show you how to design a dishcloth ( I’m not gonna lie here…..I consider a dishcloth a swatch. It’s the perfect project to test your stitch pattern and gauge…..knit them in something other than cotton and you can sew them all together and make a blanket!) or a scarf (because let’s face it, once you start as a dishcloth, but keep on knitting, you’ve got yourself a scarf!). Let’s get started….

First off, there are a few things to consider:

  • What kind of stitch pattern are you looking for? Are you thinking an easy to memorize 2 to 4 row repeat? Lace? Or maybe a complex cable stitch?
  • What type of yarn did you want to use? Fingering? Or maybe bulky? Solid color? Or maybe a variegated?

For our sample, we’re going to knit up a dishcloth in a worsted weight (on US size 8 needles, since that’s the recommended size for a worsted weight) with a simple 4 row (easy to memorize) stitch pattern called Little Waves. Here’s what the stitch pattern looked like…

Little Waves:

Multiple of 11 sts. (plus edge stitches – I decided to add 3 sts on each side for edge sts).

  • Row 1 (right side of work): K3 (edge), *K2tog (twice), yo, k1, yo, k1, yo, k1, yo, k2tog (twice)*; repeat from * to * to last 3 sts, k3 (edge).
  • Rows 2 and 4: K3 (edge), purl to last 3 sts, k3 (edge).
  • Row 3: Knit all sts.

Repeat rows 1-4 to form pattern.

Here’s how we work it out for our dishcloth project (this is the math part….and unless you’re a math geek, it’s a little troublesome, but stick with me, we can get through it….):

  • To begin with, I would find a garter stitch dishcloth (or scarf) about the approximate width you want your finished width to be. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel here, you’re just wanting an approximate cast-on amount of stitches to start with. When knitting a garter stich dishcloth, I usually cast-on around 30-40 sts. to get about 9 inches in width. So…..
  • With a multiple of 11 sts. x 3 will give us 33 sts. PLUS, we want to add our 3 sts. (on each side of our dish cloth) x 2 for 6 edge sts.  33 pattern stitches + 6 edge stitches =39 cast-on sts.

Now, you can cast-on your 39 sts. I usually knit the same amount of rows of garter stitch as my edge stitches (that would be 3), just to keep my edges from rolling, but it’s your project, that’s your call….

Now, you’re just going to knit your rows of stitch pattern until you get close to the length you want (for our dishcloth, we’re going to want a finished length of 9 inches). Remembering that we want to add our 3 rows of garter stitch at the end. By the time you get around 8 inches of your stitch pattern knit, you’re going to get a good idea about how many more rows you’ll want to knit before you switch to those garter stitches. Remember, it’s a dishcloth, even if you knit a few extra rows, it’ll be okay (this MIGHT be the reason I consider dishcloths a swatch….)!

Well, I hope I’ve inspired you to try your hand at designing your own knitting project! In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite stitch patterns with you….so get your notebook and needles ready!

Happy Knitting!













Hi! I'm Lori! Welcome to my little corner of the blogging world! My hubby and I live on a small farm in Eastern Oregon with 5 cats (it's a LONG story), 3 horses and a mule. I work full-time as a department lead at the nursery department of a local hardware store. You'll discover I have wa-a-a-ay too many hobbies for the amount of "spare time" I have. So, I'll just keep muddling though this life.....

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