I’ll admit, this is my favourite part of the process. So much so, that I have more projects planned than I realistically have time for. It can start from a few different angles; inspired by the material I have on hand, by the end product required or a bit of both.
I have a large yarn stash, most knitters/crocheters do. I generally buy yarn with a project loosely in mind, knowing that it can change. I love having most of my yarn where I can see it, because then I can look at it and think about what would be the perfect finished object that will come from it.
Now, unless it is from a commission that I have accepted, I have a policy that I knit what I want, when I want and for whom I want. There are very few people that can personally request an item from me and the are all very very “knitworthy”. (A term knitters use to describe a person who appreciates the time, effort and money that goes into a finished object and will treat it with the reverence required) That being said, I have a future niece or nephew to knit for and I want to knit ALL of the things. Project planning heaven!
Ravelry, a free site with a ton of patterns, has fantastic project planning features. I can search for patterns based on any number of attributes (yarn weight, yardage, free/paid, size, type of item, etc) and I can spend quite some time looking through to find the perfect pattern. Each pattern page has links to finished items created from the patterns so you can see what the pattern looks like from various yarns, skill levels, sizes, etc. You can queue up the patterns that you would like to make and you can add them to your personal library for future reference. From your queue or the pattern page, you can automatically start a project in Ravelry where you can post your project notes, pictures, yarn used, needle/hook size, etc. I can’t say enough good things about this site!
The process of planning my projects prior to cast on can take hours and I love every minute of it. Yesterday, my project planning brought me to the point where I cast on for a baby sweater that will end up being the first of many things I will knit for my future niece/nephew. A sneak peek below: