How to Use Counted Cross Stitch Patterns to Knit Designs in Sweaters


How would you like to be able to knit in any design you want when you are making a sweater? This can allow you to take your favorite sweater pattern and customize it to the themes and personalities of the people who will wear your creation. While knitting patterns can include designs to incorporate, once you know how to knit from a counted cross stitch pattern, your possibilities become unlimited.

Things You'll Need

  • knitting pattern for your favorite sweater
  • yarn
  • knitting needles
  • counted cross stitch pattern book
  • knitting bobbins (optional)
  • highlighter marker
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • Decide where on your sweater you would like to knit in a design. You may want one large picture on the front of a pull over sweater or on the back of a cardigan. You may prefer to place several smaller pictures on the sleeves, the collar or elsewhere. Why is this important? In order to select appropriate counted cross stitch patterns to incorporate into your sweater you are limited by the number of stitches in the knitting. Counted cross stitch assumes a canvass that is made up of little squares which correspond to the graph on the pattern. Your knitting creates the canvass, in effect. So, the number of little squares on the counted cross stitch pattern cannot exceed the number of stitches in your knitting. The width is the number of stitches you knit in a row. The height is the number of rows.

  • Visit a crafts store and browse the selection of counted cross stitch pattern books. These are usually arranged thematically and can be purchased for under $6.00. Now that you know the maximum number of stitches that you can work with, you can evaluate whether a particular pattern will work for your sweater. Of course, you can use just a section of a larger pattern on your sweater.

  • Choose whether you will knit the counted cross stitch pattern into your sweater using texture or color. Either choice assumes that the section of the sweater onto which you will impose the counted cross stitch pattern is knit using the stocking net stitch. Remember that this is when you knit one row and purl back. The front of your sweater looks like columns of arrow heads while the inside looks like horizontal bumps. If you plan to knit the pattern in different colors, you should prepare small bobbins of the various colors to be added. If you plan to knit the pattern using texture, which is a lot easier to do, you will do the opposite stitch from the rest of the sweater. In other words, the design will be articulated in purls on the front of the sweater.

  • Prepare the counted cross stitch pattern so that you can follow it easily without losing your place. I suggest that you write on the graph in the pattern book. Using a highlighter marker, trace the outside edges of the section of the pattern that you will knit. I like to cross off the rows on the counted cross stitch pattern after I knit them into my sweater.

  • Measure from the bottom edge of the sweater to the place where the bottom of the counted cross stitch design will start. You will work from the bottom of the design up. Tie a small piece of yarn on your knitting needle to mark the beginning and the end of the counted cross stitch design or use one of the small plastic stitch place holders. Either the yarn or the plastic ring can be carried from needle to needle as you pass from one row to the next. When you are knitting (looking at the front of the sweater), you will move across the counted cross stitch pattern from the left to the right. On purl rows (looking at the inside of the sweater), you will move across the counted cross stitch pattern from the right to the left.

Tips & Warnings

  • This approach can be used to knit squares for making cotton wash clothes, knitted patchwork blankets, hats, scarves, purses - really you can customize anything with pictures selected from counted cross stitch pattern books.
  • You can create your own designs using graph paper which is readily available in office stores or where school supplies are sold.
  • You can even use graph paper to plan how to knit in a name or a word.

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