Choosing a pattern for your next project

How do you go about doing this?

  • Do you start with a particular pattern, and then find the yarn (in your stash or at your LYS)?
  • Do you open your stash drawers and bins, say to yourself, “I gotta use some of this up!” and then go seeking the pattern that will work with it?
  • Perhaps you visit your LYS, and a yarn catches your eye, and your fingertips adore it.
  • Or maybe you see a pattern knitted (or crocheted) up at your LYS, and that piques your interest
  • Is scrolling through a pattern book or magazine where you start your venture?
  • Are you so utterly disciplined that you have a queue of Objects to Make, and stick with it (bless your heart)?

I am finishing up a sleeveless top, and trying to decide what to do next. Living in the south (in soon-to-be Dorian Country :anguished:) my stash yarns are mostly fingering and cardigans get more wear than pullovers, but my handspun is DK, and one day I hope to be able to afford to travel to Alaska and see the aurora borealis, so a jumper is a possibility. I can’t get row and stitch gauge on the same yarn, and don’t like the way raglans or dolmans fit - I’m a set-in-sleeve fan.

Scrolling through my magazine collection (and a few books), I’ve noted that fingering weight yarn is increasingly being knit at sport weight gauge (24 to 26sts/4" or 10cm) rather than the tighter 28 to 32 traditional gauge - maybe because modern patterns emphasize more drape? Anyway, I’m still at the very early stages of choosing; haven’t even started a gauge swatch. I do know that I want to use texture - stitch patterns, possibly lace, possibly cables (possibly both - I have two Hitomi Shida Japanese knitting stitch pattern books I routinely drool over) rather than colorwork, just because my two possible yarns are solid or semi-solid.

What do you do? Have you a favorite fingering weight, set-in sleeve cardigan? A DK weight jumper you enjoyed knitting?

Sort of! I have managed to get on top of my stash so most everything has a reason to be there. I destashed over the course of 4-5 months so I am less likely to impulse buy pretty yarn. And if i do - because who can resist sometimes?! - i typically justify it with a pattern and it gets bagged up and labelled with that purpose. Its made my life easier and my husband trust me more hahhahah!

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I have a short list, interrupted occasionally by “socks! I need another pair of socks!” or I find I have the yarn for something else I want to make, or… something comes up.
I’ve never found myself with the urge to knit something and not been able to think of anything to knit. But then, I don’t knit very quickly, so the ever-changing mental queue is usually well ahead of me.


Most often I make a trip to the LYS to buy yarn when I get an idea for a pattern, friends talking about something, sites like this, magazines or just scrolling.
I also about 1x year go to a show/ festival but commit to only buying yarn to go with a pattern which keeps me from getting too crazy.
And always check the stash before starting something new.

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Agreed, my stash can be my inspiration when im in a rut.

I’m with you - a short list with occasional sock interruptions! I am quite firm with myself on buying yarn for garments. I won’t buy more till I’ve finished what I’ve got. I do impulse buy sock yarn and small amounts of chunky yarns for scarves and cowls that will knit up quickly for presents. I try and contain impulse buying to such small things. This is not to say I haven’t got a huge stash - its just mostly sock yarn, dish cloth yarn, and other practical things - that’s what I tell the family!


I wish I had such willpower! Well, maybe not. Now that I’m semi-retired (working retail part-time), it’s nice to have a stash to shop that’s already paid for.

So I’ve gone through several magazines and stitch pattern books and have drawn out a chart for a gauge swatch. I hope work will permit me to have the swatch knit by the end of this week/Sunday, and that I’ll be happy with the result. Planning to knit a cardigan in fingering weight.


Thats commitment! The So Faded sweater is in fingering weight and it took me ages to make one for my daughter. So worth it though.

Yes, fingering weight + adult cardigan = a mighty long time.That’s ok. It’s still in the mid-90s here :fire: (Dorian’s parting gift to us; we had dropped down to the low 90s). It won’t be sweater weather until November. I doubt I’ll have finished the sweater by then (heck, I’ll be lucky to have reached the armholes), but sweaters heavier than fingering weight only get worn about two days in early February around here (that’s our winter).


Well, I’d started to swatch for a cardigan, but when I entered a doctor’s waiting room, I saw this -

So first, I picked up the knitting needles in the basket and fixed the goofs in the knitting.

Then I asked if the good doctor and her daughter had any requirements for the composition of the yarn - Wool? Acrylic (ick)? Machine washable? Other? No, they weren’t picky; they just want the resulting swatches to be warm. So to me, that means wool (besides, when wet, wool is still warm. Man-made fibers,besides being flammable, are not warm when wet).

When I returned home, I shopped my stash for wooly worsteds. It may seem strange to you northerners, but I really don’t have much above DK (and precious little of that) in my stash. So here’s what I’ve come up with, and what I’ve knitted (literally - the squares in progress at the doctor’s office were all garter, and I want my square to at least resemble gauge. Sewing together squares is annoying enough, but trying to fit squares of different sizes can be an ordeal, imho). I cast on 54 stitches, like the squares at the doc’s. Used US 8 needles (5.0mm) - these are KA bamboo circulars, nice and smooth, with relatively sharp points. The yarns are a mix of my handspun, Patons wool, two fingering-weights that I’ll combine with a sport-weight alpaca, and some one-ply merino.


What a great idea! But you are right - putting those squares together isn’t simple. I’ve seen it done where someone crochets around the edges to make the squares all of a uniform size, then sews or crochets them together.

I generally get an idea for a project first - often something I’ve seen online or I decide I want to knit a sweater.
Next step is to see if I have the appropriate yarn. If not, go get it.

Occasionally I’ll feel guilty about some yarn I’ve had and try to find a project for it. Like sock yarn.

This time of year It’s like, Oh! What can I make for Christmas?

I usually only start a new project when one of my favorite designers puts out a KAL or MKAL. I check my stash first but will buy yarn if I don’t have what is needed for the project. I have quite a few WIPs that I really need to finish.