Designing a Sweater, Part 2: Errata

Sorry about that, readers.  I accidentally released last Sunday’s blog – Designing a Sweater for Thor, Part 2:  Measuring, Drawing & Notetakingwithout its text and pictures!

Catchup:  I am writing this series for the knitter who would like to create her/his own sweater pattern.  This sweater will be a simple cardigan for Thor knit in the flat.  (I’d prefer steeking but think a flat-knit pattern might be a little less intimidating.)

Tools at this point:  Tape measure, pencil, pen, eraser, knitting notebook, tissue or tracing paper, and a calculator or Excel.

Reference guides:  Open on my desk for reference are Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson Roberts and Knitwear Design Workshop by Shirley Paden.

FIRST:  We need to find X – the number of stitches at the widest part of the sweater (chest measurement).   We will use X to calculate other parts of the sweater.  So, let’s start with the actual measurement.

I measured Thor’s chest:  40 inches.

Paden recommends:  “Measure around the fullest area.  Standing erect, take a deep breath to fully expand your chest” (16).  I find telling a person to “take a deep breath” inflates the measurement.  I prefer just making sure the tape isn’t tight enough to pinch the skin, that the person’s chest can still rise/fall under the tape as you’re measuring.

Allowing for ease:  The difference between the sweater’s measurement and the person’s chest indicates the ease needed to calculate into the plan.  I recommend taking the person’s favorite (for fit) sweater and measuring it around the chest.

Problem encountered:  Thor gave me his current favorite sweater – which is actually a new, pull over, hooded sweat shirt.  It measured 56 inches around.   Hmmm.   I went back to the vest I knit him last year (which he loves and wears regularly) and used its finished measurement instead:  44 inches around.

A 4-inch ease is much more realistic for a beautiful wool cardigan than a 16 inch ease.  Lesson:  Take the measurement round the chest of a current favorite sweater – but one that is actually worn outside –  say, to dinner or work!

ThorsSweaterDrawingSECOND:  Draw out your sweater.  If you are new to this, you probably don’t have sweater graphing software handy, so we will do it the old-fashioned way.

In this case, using tissue paper, I traced out the sweater pattern I wanted from Robert’s book – the shaped saddle shoulder (p. 53 in the first edition 1985).

Now that I have X (44 inches), using this schematic, we can then fill in the measurements once we get our gauge.  Next week we will draw from both Gibson’s and Paden’s suggestions for measuring.

Next post in the series:  Using the gauge to calculate other critical sweater measurements based on X.


About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
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3 Responses to Designing a Sweater, Part 2: Errata

  1. I like honey 🙂 and I love his name! I was curious because my older sons name is Thor, and its not verry common here!


  2. He’s … hmmm (I don’t like ‘boyfriend’ – sounds too sophomoric for a woman my age – nor ‘significant other – sounds like a census bureau category) … he’s my honey. 🙂



  3. I’m so curious to know who Thor is!!


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