By: Tracy O'Hehir

Transferring Hand Knit Designs to Machine Knit Designs

Copy hand-knit pattern onto graph paper by putting each stitch in a square.

If the pattern says cast on 20 stitches, then mark off 20 squares across the bottom. If the pattern say's knit for ten rows, then mark off ten rows up and across. Same with decreasing and increasing stitches. Example:(picture to follow) Cast on 20 stitches. Knit for ten rows. Decrease 1 stitch each side for 5 rows. Your pattern on the graph paper should look like this:

                             XXXXXXXXXX
                            XXXXXXXXXXXX
                           XXXXXXXXXXXXXX
                          XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
                         XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
                        XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
                        XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
                        XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
                        XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
                        XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
                        XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
                        XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
                        XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
                        XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
                        XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Once you get the hand-knit pattern pieces graphed, then you knit a sample swatch on your knitting machine to find your gauge. Say you get 10 stitches to the inch and 15 rows to the inch and the hand knit pattern says you should get 5 stitches to the inch and 8 rows to the inch.

With the hand knit pattern all graphed out, you can figure out how many increases/decreases there are per inch. On the hand knit pattern (graphed above) you would have knit even a piece 4 inches wide by 1-1/4 inches long and decreased to 2 inches wide by 1/3 inch long. So, on the machine, you would cast on 40 stitches and knit even for 19 rows, decrease 2 stitches each side every row for 10 rows. This should give you approximately the same size piece as the hand knit piece.

I generally chart out all the converted pieces before I start the project. It is just a matter of finding out the size of the piece and then converting it to the gauge you get on the machine. It always comes out pretty close. I know it looks rather complicated and plan on a few errors when you are first starting out. Do a lot of practice pieces and you will quickly get the feel for it. The most important thing is finding out your gauge accurately and the finished sizes of the pieces.