Let’s talk TO DO list – 1. Print your pattern; 2. Take your measurements; 3. Decide which size looks best; 4. Swatch and Wash; 5. Do any necessary knitting math; 6. Cast on!
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Want text? Read on!
There are certain essential steps we should all take before beginning a sweater project. Try to shift your thinking from, “Ugh, I have to do this before I begin my project.” to “Let’s start our project!” This is part of knitting (and crocheting!) and this is the missing piece to making a sweater that fits. Find a happy place to do this, put on your favorite music and let’s take a look at the pattern!
Step 1: Shellseeker is a downloadable pdf pattern. Print it out and christen this your “working copy”. You will mark it up, beat it up and in the end it will be so creased and folded it will feel like cloth. Or, maybe that’s just me and you’ll keep it safe in a plastic sheet protector where you’ll be able to refer to it for years to come! We can help here at the shop with any Ravelry-related things like this and print it for you if you want.
Step 2: Draw a little picture of a sweater and make your own “schematic”. Measure your favorite loose-fitting sweater and write these numbers down on your schematic. This pattern uses centimeters – flip your measuring tape over and take note of the centimeters so that you don’t have to convert it later.
If you don’t have a favorite sweater to copy, you can measure your actual body and add 5-10 centimeters of ease to your actual bust and upper arm circumferences for a loose-fitting sweater. This is what I chose to do–
Step 3: Start marking up your pattern. The schematic for this pattern is on the last page. Circle the numbers on the schematic that line up with your measurements. If your number falls between two sizes you have to decide which way you would like to go- a little looser or a little tighter. Take a look at your circumference measurements. Do they line up with a specific size? Mine are mostly size S, though I have some issues with the lengths. I’ll stick with the pattern’s stitch counts for the S but change the length to better suit me. I also marked my desired length from the underarm, just in case I want it later.
Flip back to the beginning of the pattern and circle the size at the top of the first page. There’s one more thing we have to check before we circle all the numbers in the pattern — our gauge!
Step 4: Swatch and Wash! We’ve talked about swatching for all of our knitalongs and for a few other projects as well. It’s very important to know if you are knitting to the same stitches per inch that the designer intended in order to knit your sweater to a specific size.
You will want to cast on for a small square of knitting in order to find the best needle size to achieve the gauge required in the pattern. Here is what I did:
Cast on 30 stitches using a best guess for a needle size – US 5
Knit 3 rows for a garter stitch border.
Row 1: k across – slide the stitches to the other end of the circular needle, bring the yarn loosely, all the way across the back of the knitting, to begin knitting the next row.
Row 2: p5, k to the last 5, p5 – slide the stitches to the other end of the circular needle, bring the yarn loosely, all the way across the back of the knitting, to begin knitting the next row.
Rows 3 & 4: Change to color B and repeat rows 1 & 2.
I am sliding the stitches across the needle to simulate knitting in the round, because our gauge for knitting in the round is often different from our gauge when knitting flat. When I had a few inches with the first needle size, I purled across all the stitches to delineate where I changed needle sizes and switched to the next needle size up – a 6. When I was done swatching I bound off, gave it a good soak and then spread it flat on a towel to dry.
I have interesting swatch results with this yarn – the swatch changed size! SHOCKING! What am I going to do about it?! How will I be sure my sweater will fit if it will change after I wash it? Answers in my next post!
If you have any questions about measuring for your sweater, translating what the pattern has to say, or swatching with your yarn, please leave a comment or send me an email – I’m here to help! firstname.lastname@example.org