If you have looked around the internet for pattern driver sheets to fit the Superba forma/pattern driver device, you may have noticed there aren’t too many to be found. I have a set that I found on eBay, but because they’re vintage, the women’s sizes are pretty small for a gal of 2022 proportions. You can find the blank gridded sheets occasionally, so you can draw your own patterns, but I didn’t want to pay money for shipping what are essentially blank sheets of graph paper. The patterns, by the way, are 1/2 scale, and drawn with measurements in centimeters, although they list the kids’ sizes by height measurement rather than chest circumference. Not that that’s bad, it’s just different to how some other brands do it.
The nice thing about the forma sheets is that they are exactly the same width as an A4 piece of paper – I am certain this is no accident, due to the device being produced in France – so if you can get your hands on some 5 mm (0.5 cm) square grid paper in A4 width, (available on Amazon, at least in Canada) you can just use these sheets and tape them together to make it as long as you want, and draw your pattern on there to the correct proportions, with each 0.5 cm square representing 1 cm of pattern. Leave one square at each side blank to keep it exactly like the originals.
If, however, you don’t have any grid paper, and you have access to a printer, I have made some printable grids you can use instead. I used InkScape to draw them, because it’s free and I like it, but you can open it in any program that can read an SVG file, or a PDF file. The nice thing about having your sheets on the computer is you can draw out a pattern digitally if you want as well, change it as many times as you want, and then you can just print it when it’s how you like it. Feel free to download the SVG file, and use/change/adjust it however you want, or the PDF alone if you just want to print it out.
For printing, you will want to make sure you print it tiled, keeping the zoom at 100%:
The other settings you can play around with depending on your paper size. This is shown using 8.5″ x 11″ US letter size, and if you change it to landscape orientation it will only use 4 sheets of paper instead of 6, for example. Print it out, tape it together (tape both sides of the paper so there are no edges to stick up and get stuck in the forma) and trim it to exactly 21 cm (210 mm) wide. (Leave 0.5 cm (5 mm) on either side of the grid.) And that’s it. You can draw any 1/2 scale pattern your heart desires, in any size you want.
For pattern inspiration, Machine Knitting Monthly has lots of patterns with schematics, if you have any copies of it on hand, hand knitting patterns can be good (but bear in mind you may need to make some other changes to knit them on the machine, depending on the pattern,) sewing patterns can be good, and of course there are also lots of modern designers that produce excellent machine knitting patterns with schematics. That is, of course, if you are not ready to design your own! (I am not.)
Other machine brands also have their own version of the forma, and their pattern sheets can be found online for free if you want to copy their patterns onto your sheets. Make sure any of these that you use are 1/2 scale, and it will be a lot easier if they are written in centimeters. However, as I found with the Superba-branded patterns, the vintage offerings from Silver Reed run fairly small in the women’s sizes, and the styles tend to be fairly close-fitting for both men’s and kids’, so you may want to size up or otherwise adjust some of them.
Anyway, I hope someone else finds these sheets useful. I love the computer for lots of things in the knitting process, but the forma clicking away while I knit is just so cool to me for some reason, like some kind of magic. Enjoy!