All righty, we’ve had our idea, sketched out our look and finished swatching. Can we start knitting now? Well, only if you have magical powers of fit or superhuman calculate as you go skills. You don’t? Me either.
So what’s next?
Now it’s time to be exact. You need to take all the previous info and turn it into stitch numbers, inches, and numbers of repeats. It’s not difficult (my third grader could do the math required), but it does take a little time and some concentration.
The next step is making a schematic. This is a sketch of the basic shape of your sweater, without all the detail, that has the exact measurements you want your final garment to be. A sweater blueprint. You’ll need neck width, arm length, armhole depth, chest, everything. The more information you include on your schematic the better your fit.
Here’s an example of part of my schematic for In Like Flint (that’s the current name I like for the sweater). You’ll need to decide on the measurements for all the areas represented by the arrows on the schematic. Check out the Craft Yarn Councils sizing standards if you need help getting started.
I make my schematics on the computer (since I’m going to need them for the pattern later), but if you’re knitting only for yourself, you can add the numbers to your original paper sketch. Another option is to find a schematic from another pattern in your library (or online) and trace or copy it. Then all you need to do is add the correct measurements for your project.
Even if you’re designing something simple (like a scarf) I’d recommend taking the few extra minutes to make the schematic. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve made something, given it away or not had it with me, and then thought, “Was that 2 inches of border or 3” or “I started the armhole after how many inches?”
The schematic is a really good time for a reality check too. Take a good look at all those inches of fabric and think about your chosen stitches, yarn and needle size. Do you really want to knit a hip length sweater in all over cables on size 3 needles? Are you sure a super fitted sweater in chunky yarn is the look you want? Is the neckline going to be to wide or deep to stay on comfortably? If it looks funny or you’re not completely happy with your choices fix them now. You aren’t going to like them any better when the garment is done. Ask me how I know.
Next sweater design post, I’ll cover some of my favorite books that will help you understand and complete all the necessary calculations.
In the mean time here’s an in progress shot to tide you over.