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Design Your Own Knitting Charts

Updated on November 3, 2011

And share your knitting designs with the world

Designing your own knitting patterns can be daunting, there is a lot of math involved with stitch count, gauge and much more. When I started out designing my own knitting pattens, I started with designing knitting charts. Knitting Charts are graphs of different color that you can use to add a design into any pattern. You can incorporate these designs into your knitting through texture (knits and purls) or with different colors (standed, intarsia and striping). In this hub, I am going to share some of the resources that have helped me start designing my own knitting charts.

The sketch of the chart for my asymmetric 14 cable hat knitting pattern.
The sketch of the chart for my asymmetric 14 cable hat knitting pattern. | Source

Graph Paper

The easiest way to start making your own knitting charts is to pick up a pencil and some graph paper. Start drawing shapes and then shading in regions that would correspond to the chart you want. (If I ever need to make a particular shaped chart, I often start my drawing the design directly on the graph paper and then shading in the regions around the line as my first draft of the design.) If I am working on a complex project, I usually start working the design out by hand before I move to the computer.

It helps to think about what you want to use the chart for. For example, it can be easy to draw a chart, but harder to make the chart fit into a specific knitting project. If you want the design to go on a hat, then make sure you know what kind of stitch area you have to work with. I frequently provide blank knitting charts with some of my designs so that people can customize their own pattern. (This is essentially custom graph paper.)

Creating a Knitting Chart using Microsoft Excel
Creating a Knitting Chart using Microsoft Excel | Source

Using Excel to Design Knitting Charts

I quickly moved away from graph paper when dealing with my own designs. Sure, sometimes it is a great way to sketch things out, but it is not the easiest way to share knitting charts with other people. You can scan or take pictures of your hand made charts, but I prefer to use microsoft excel to create my own knitting charts.

I have written a three part tutorial on drawing knitting charts in excel. The tutorial includes how to set up your graph paper (making the cells a shape consistent with graph paper), how to draw your chart (using the color fill cell options), and then finally how to save your knitting chart in a format you can share with your friends.

There are many free knitting fonts available for download that you can use to start charting lace and cables using conventional knitting symbols. This can help you move beyond making your charts in color, and will help make your charts look even more professional.


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    • misslong123 profile image

      Michele Kelsey 

      5 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

      I am old school and mostly use graph paper. Man, can they not make it bigger?? I can usually only fit about 25 stitches on a regular graph sheet, which is more for a coaster. Do you know of any big pads???

    • jfay2011 profile image


      6 years ago

      I did that once when I made an icelandic sweater of my own pattern. I got rid of it and the pattern is gone.


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