How to Successfully Alter a Knitting Pattern

September 14, 2021 2 min read 0 Comments

How to Alter a Knitting Pattern

Knitting patterns are a little like recipes. They're designed to be followed as written, but sometimes you need to alter the ingredients or instructions for your own purposes. We all know that knitting patterns sometimes don't fit perfectly. Maybe your gauge is off or you are using a thicker or thinner yarn. The interesting thing about knitting is that it's an extremely personal hobby and there's no right way, but many wrong ways of doing something. We are here to discuss a few tips for altering a knitting pattern.

Take Measurements

If your garment is wearable, take body measurements including bust, waist, and hips. Measuring from neckline to hemline can also help the end product to be perfect. Account for what type of fit the garment will have. Will it be a loose fit or a bit more form-fitting? All of these factors will be considered when it is time to adjust the knitting pattern. You can measure an existing garment with the proper fit to make measuring easier. If the garment is a blanket or scarf or hat, know exactly what size you want the measurements. This is not a time to "wing it."

Determine Your Gauge

Even if you don't often knit swatches (you should), you will need to knit a swatch if you plan to alter a knitting pattern. It is imperative that you determine your gauge so that you can calculate correct alterations. If you use a different yarn, it will affect the pattern instructions, so a swatch is necessary. Depending on your stitch, your alteration could be as simple as dividing your 4-inch gauge by 4 so that you know how many stitches per inch you are knitting. You then multiply it out based on how many inches your garment needs to be and how many stitches to cast on. Don't cut corners here or your finished project will reflect that.

Related: 3 Reasons Why Knitters of Every Level Should Swatch

Adjust the Remainder of the Knitting Pattern

Once you know how many stitches to cast on, you will need to adjust the rest of the knitting pattern. If the pattern calls for a bind off, decrease, or any direction that involves a specific number of stitches, these will need to be altered accordingly. Armholes, neckline, and length are a few of the areas that require adjustment to achieve the perfect fit.

Take Notes

Since you are going rogue on this knitting project, be sure to take notes so that you can refer back to the changes you have made. Here are a few reasons why taking notes is important:

  • If you make a mistake, you can refer to your notes to help you make a correction.
  • When you want to knit the same project again, the alteration work will already be done.
  • Your alteration number can be used to make alterations on future projects.

Related: 7 Tips to Improve Your Knitting Today

Once you adjust a few patterns, determining the stitch counts and applying it to the garment will become easier. If making your own adjustments still feels too difficult, reach out to the pattern creator. Many times, they are willing to help.



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