Most knitters and crocheters have been in this situation before: You walk into a clothing store, and you see a piece of clothing; you think to yourself, "Hey, I could make something like that." Well, that happened to me recently, and I wanted to share with you how I broke down the process of figuring out how to knit or crochet a piece based on a commercial item.
This skirt caught my eye because of its loopy fringe and sheen. Being mass produced, it was made of a fine knitted fabric with the fringe sewn onto it. BUT as a creative yarncrafter, I knew I could find a stitch pattern and yarn that would allow me to create a similar effect while knitting the fringe right into the fabric.
Being that it's spring, I wanted to go with something more fun that steel gray, so I chose LB Collection Cotton Bamboo for its great drape, subtle sheen, and bright spring colors. Next, I looked in the LionBrand.com StitchFinder and found the Single Loop Fringe stitch pattern, which is just a perfect match for this project. [All highlighted text are clickable links.]
Finally, I sketched out a rough schematic (just like one you'd find in a pattern) to figure out which measurements I would need and what math I would have to do. I know that I need measurements for my waist and hip, the distance up and down from the waist to the hip (the section where I would have to do increases to get the extra width for my hips), and the desired length of the skirt. I also know that I'll have to knit swatches to figure out my gauge (and thereby figure out my cast-on amount) for the ribbed section, as well as in stockinette stitch (the stitch I'm going to use for the skirt fabric), and in the single loop fringe (to help me figure out how far apart my fringe rows should be). I'll be knitting these test swatches with smaller needle sizes than recommended for this yarn, since with a skirt, you'll want a denser fabric for better shape (and to make sure it's more opaque!), and I'll be sure to try a few different needle sizes to figure out which fabric density I like best.
With all of this information and my schematic, I should be able to do the math to write my very own pattern!
Alas, I still have a WIP (work in progress) on my needles, so it will be a little while until I get to my skirt project, but in the meantime, I hope this blog post shows you how to break down a project so that you can really create it for yourself.
Good luck, and happy yarncrafting!