Machine Knitting/Garment patterns

Garment patterns edit

Fitting methods edit

When knitting you have the advantage as when compared with sewing, that you can shape without cutting and making tucks. Horizontal tucks, for example breast tucks in the side, can be made with shortened rows by bringing some needles in the resting position and turning the carriage. To make vertical tucks, move stitches with a transfer tool comb. It requires some practice, and you will have to move stitches several times if the tuck is near the middle. It takes a lot of time. But in some cases, you can transfer a vertical tuck to a horizontal. Say you want a tuck in the shoulder seam. When you have made a design of the garment, draw a horizontal line from the tapering of the tuck to the armhole. Cut this piece and turn it so that the tuck is moved to the armhole instead. This new tuck you have to disperse over several rows. For instance make 1 or 2 shortened rows with 4 or 6 rows between them. The shoulder seam will then be straight or may turn a little upwards.

If you are knitting a pattern, instead of making shortened rows, you can make the armhole higher; and when you place the armholes on the machine, you pick up stitches for the sleeve with a bigger space between the needles nearest the back of the shoulder. If a person has a round back, it is important to make a sweater longer, otherwise it will not only be too short, but also make sloped folds.

If you want the sleeves to fit nicely, you can make the extra width for the breast in the armhole higher too. When you have sewed the shoulder seam and picked up stitches in the armhole, you do it the following way: Pick up the two 1 needles ca. 1 cm in front of the shoulder seam, then the sleeve will be turned correctly. The bottom of the armhole you place at the needle numbers you calculated for the upper arm circumference. In the straight first piece under the arms, you pick up in each stitch, and the same in the first half part of the sloped piece. Then you begin to pick up with bigger spaces between the needles until about the middle, or a little longer, of the vertical piece. You must disperse the spaces, so you can use all the extra height. The rest of the way to the shoulder seam you use the normal space between the needles. On the back you now have a little extra height. Therefore you can make bigger spaces and begin a few cm behind the shoulder, but not such big spaces as in the front.

Basic pattern edit

You can design a basic pattern (sloper) for knitting, which you can draw at your knitleader or just calculate your measurements from it. Use the ordinary pattern in the chapter knitting to measure.

Fig. 1

You can construct the breast tuck from that. For this you must use half the difference between the upper chest circumference and the breast circumference, which we call B. Let us say it is 3 cm. Besides that, you measure the breast height from the neck point, round the neck and to the widest point at the breast.

Now you can draw the pattern on chequered paper, which has squares of 1/2 cm. Name the squares 1 cm or 2 cm. Then the pattern will be 1/2 or 1/4 of your size. Place the neck point as shown on the drawing. Place the tape measure on its edge and measure 1/2 or 1/4 of the breast height round the neck and downwards, but subtract B (3 cm), otherwise the tuck will be placed too far down. Draw a horizontal line through the breast. From the breast line you draw a vertical line down to the edge, at right angle to the edge and the breast line. At the armhole you find a point, which is about the same height where the breast begins to get thicker. Draw a sloping line from this to the breast point. Now you have divided the pattern into 4 pieces. Name them 1-2-3-4 as you see on figure 1.

Cut the pattern and cut the 4 pieces from each other. Place them on another piece of paper in this way: Piece 1 stays in its place. Piece 2 is moved 3 cm downwards (That is the reason why you subtract 3 cm from the breast height). Piece 3 is temporarily moved 3 cm to the side. Piece 4 is turned with the centre in the armhole until it touches piece 3. Then you move piece 3 downwards until the corners meet, and a tuck appears. Piece 3 may not go as far down as piece 2, but you then draw a line from the side and to the middle of the space between piece 2 and 3. If the pattern only goes to the waist, you begin the knitting with shortened rows, but if it goes further down, you need not do this. The space between piece 2 and 3 is equal to the waist tuck.

If you have a knitleader, you can draw it to the right size or half size as the knitleader does it. But you may also use the little pattern if you place the right number of stitches and row on the pattern, and for how far the tuck goes both in the width and height. Calculate how many needles you must push up in the rest position at a time. At the armhole you measure where you are going to decrease and how many stitches at a time. Remember not to count the shortened rows. Put back the row counter for every shortened row.

If you have a very low breast, this pattern is not suitable. Then you should place the width in the waist.

How to move tucks edit

When you have made a basic pattern with a breast tuck, you can move the tuck, as you need it.


Figure 2

In figure 2a, the tuck slopes downwards instead of upwards; then there is space for a bigger armhole, but it still goes to the same point. The dotted line shows where the original line was. It means that instead of pushing all needles in the idle position and taking them down little by little, you do the opposite, push them up little by little and finally take them all down at the same time.

In figure 2b, the tuck is moved to the shoulder seam, if you are going to knit sideways. The dotted line shows here the basic pattern's original as well.

You do this in the following way: Draw an extra basic pattern. Draw it on transparent paper and cut it out. Make a mark where you want the new tuck, both on the pattern and on the transparent paper. Place the transparent paper on the pattern and the point of the pencil on the breast point, as shown on figure 2c. Fold the transparent paper as far down as the side tuck, make a mark on the shoulder where the mark on the transparent paper is now. Draw round the edge of the transparent paper from the mark and down to the original tuck. Then draw lines from the two marks on the shoulder and down to the breast point, so you make a new tuck.

Fig. 3

In this way you can move tucks as you want, by first making a mark on both patterns and turning a sharp pencil in the breast point. Make a mark where the transparent paper reaches, when the old tuck has gone together, and draw round the edge of the transparent paper from the new tuck to the original tuck.

If, for instance, you want to knit a tight waist with a tuck, you can turn the waist tuck away and place it in the side so the breast tuck gets bigger. You can then start with shortened rows and at the same time increase in the side.

On the back you have to move stitches by hand because there is no place to put it. You can use a transfer tool comb.

Open all the latches on the needles you are going to move and place the transfer comb on them. Pull the needles towards yourself until the stitches slip behind the latches and push them back again until they slip out over the needles. Before you move the comb, use it for pushing back the latches so they are prepared for receiving the stitches again when you have moved the comb.

Raglan edit

Fig. 4

The easiest way to knit raglan sleeves is when the sloping line makes an angle about 35° to the vertical. If you have a normal ratio between stitches and rows, you can attain this by decreasing one stitch at the beginning of each row. You draw your pattern on chequered paper so it fits you in 1/2 or 1/4 size.

The front and back have to be the same size, and you lay them over each other. Now you can draw the sloping line, which must start a little way below the sleeve hole, and draw to the neck in the front and continue to the back neck. You can start decreasing stitches a little higher than the sloping line begins, and decrease a few more stitches the first time (look at figure 4). Where the back and front neck meet, you draw a horizontal line. That is the middle of the sleeve, and here you mark NS off the sleeve hole. From there you can measure the sleeve length. To get the little piece which belongs to the back neck, you fold over the shoulder line and prick the neckline to lengthen the front neckline. The sloping lines on the sleeve must also be 35°. The upper part of the sleeve is shown with dotted lines in the lengthening of the front and back neck. When you draw the sleeve, you start with the centre line. Then transfer the dotted piece and remember the shoulder point (NS). The sloping line on the front of the sleeve must be the same length as the line on the basic pattern from the neck and till the sleeve hole, and the back part must be the same length as the line from the back neck to the sleeve hole. That is to say a little longer than the front. The upper part of the sleeve must therefore be knitted with shortened rows. Now you can finish the sleeve. If you started decreasing a few stitches at the same time on the blouse, you must draw that on the sleeve in both sides too. But here it goes out instead of in. It gives a little more width under the arm. The sleeve length you measure from the shoulder point (NS), which you have marked on the centre line. The shoulder rounding will reduce some of the sleeve length, so you must either add 2 cm to the sleeve length or knit some shortened rows over the shoulder point. So you have to know exactly where the shoulder is, otherwise it looks awful.

Raglan with holes edit


Raglan sleeves can be knitted together with the blouse if you use shortened rows. Then a row of holes will appear and it may look nice on light blouses. Start with the front piece. When you come to the sleeve hole, you push for instance 4 needles in the resting position in the end of each side the first time. Then push one needle at a time in each side until you come to the neck. Note which number needle you pushed up the last time and the row number before you make the neck. Now push half of the needles in the resting position and make the neck round on one side. At the same time you still push a needle in the end of each row in the sleeve side. But on the neck side you push the needles shaping the neck in the end of each row, and one extra on the way back to avoid holes. When there is only one needle left, you note the row number, push down all needles, and move the carriage to the other side. Push the needles in the finished side up again, turn back the row counter to the number you noted before you made the neck, and knit the other side in the same way. Push the needles on the side in the resting position until you reach the row number you noted in the first side. Knit 4-5 rows of yarn in a contrasting colour on the neck needles and on each sleeve individually. The stitches you left belong to the neck. Don't worry that the sleeve hole will wrinkle when you knit the contrast coloured yarn onto them, because that will disappear again when you knit the sleeves.

Knit the back in the same way until you reach the same row number as in front plus a few more rows as you can see on the pattern. So you get more holes on the back. The back neck will not be round, so you just knit contrast coloured yarn on that as well, and on the sleeve holes on each side individually.

Sleeves edit

Calculate how many stitches you need for the upper arm circumference. For each sleeve you use the stitches from one side on the front and one side on the back and these you supplement with the number of stitches you lock. You cast on the extra stitches in the middle, and place the stitches in the idle position on each side. You pull them up through the last row with the neck side nearest to the new stitches, one side from the front and the other side from the back. Then ravel off the contrast coloured yarn. The needles stay in the idle position. Knit one row over the middle stitches plus one stitch in each side from the needles in the idle position. After that, you knit the sleeve higher at the back by making as many shortened rows as you have more rows in the back than in the front. At the same time, you take one needle from the backside down in the end of the row. Now there should be the same amount of needles in the idle position in each side. Continue pushing one needle down in the end of each row until there are 4 stitches left on each side. You push them all down at once. However, you must know how many rows you are going to knit before you come to the shoulder point, because from there the row counter must be turned back to 0. The sleeve length, you calculated, has to be about 2 cm longer because the shoulder rounding uses some of the length. Instead, you can make a few shortened rows over the shoulder point. But if you do that, you must note the needle number and row number, so you can continue from there when you have finished the shortened rows.

Skirts edit

Fig. 5


  • Waist circumference
  • Hip circumference
  • Hip height
  • Skirt length

There are many ways to knit skirts. You can make one in 4 pieces as figure 5 shows. You can make it with more or less width. The more width, the more you have to round it in the waist and below. If you do not want so much width, you must either make a tuck in the waist or wrinkle it a little.

Fig. 6

You can avoid a seam in the middle of the front and back if you have a ribber and knit it half round, but then you have to shift the idling buttons for each row. You must decrease on both sides, both on the knitter and the ribber. When you come to the waist, you decrease a few stitches dispersed through the knitting before you make a waist band. You make it double height. Put a belt band or an elastic band inside.

A skirt can be knitted sideways with shortened rows. The number of times you make shortened rows depends on how much width you want in the skirt. You can make it as a whole or a half circle if you want, but you can make less width too. You divide the width below by the waist width, and the result is the amount of shortened rows you make for each whole row.

Fig. 7

Figure 7 shows half a pattern, a front piece or a back piece. The whole skirt will be a half circle. But it is possible to knit the skirt in one piece so that you only have one seam at the back. Afterwards you can pick up stitches in the waist and make a waistband or maybe a whole dress. You must always make the waist wide enough so that you can decrease some stitches dispersed through the knitting.

If you want to know how much yarn to use for this skirt you must calculate the area of the skirt. Let us say it is half a circle. If you multiply the radius squared by 22/7 you will get the area of a whole circle, but you only use half of it. Then you can weigh your knitting sample on a letter balance as described in the knitting samples chapter and calculate the weight per cm2 and multiply it with the area.

You can also knit a skirt as a straight piece and wrinkle it more or less in the waist. You can for example cast on twice the waist circumference, start below, and when you reach the waist, transfer half of the stitches to a knitting needle and place two stitches on each needle. Then do the same with the other side. Afterwards you make a waistband or maybe the upper part of a dress.

If you have a ribber, you can make the skirt with pleats in the following way: Use thin yarn and all the needles. Then take for example every nineth needle out of function, and place the stitch on the neighbour needle. Do this both on the ribber and on the knitter, but shift it so that the holes on the ribber are in the middle of the space between the holes on the knitter. A pleated effect will appear. Make some samples with different stitch sizes and different spaces between the holes, so that you can choose what looks best with your yarn.

Basic pattern for skirts edit

Fig. 8
Fig. 9

If you want to knit a fitted skirt, you measure your waist and your hip, and add at least 6-7 cm. You also measure the distance between the waist and the hip and the length of the skirt. You add at least 3 cm to the waist for a tuck. When you knit this, you will have to use a transfer comb. In the side you draw an arc from the waist to the hip. As a rule, the waistline bows upwards a little in the side, so you must make a few shortened rows before you make a waist band. It might be a good idea to make a lining.

When you have designed the basic pattern for your skirt, you can make different fashions as figures 8 and 9 show. You can draw a vertical line through the middle of the tuck and down to the edge. Then cut the line and fold the pieces away from each other so you get more width. On figure 8, the pieces are folded until half of the tuck disappears. Besides, there is a little extra width in the front and the side. These pieces must only be half the size of the piece at the tuck, as the pieces will be twice as wide because you only draw 1/4 of the whole skirt.

On figure 9, you fold so far that the whole tuck disappears. The hip rounding disappears too.

The patterns may be knitted in 4 pieces or on both machines half round knitted.

Cast on the whole width below and knit a few rows before you make shortened rows in order to make it round.

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