What Are Schematics For?
One of the most often glossed-over aspects of a pattern seems to be the schematics or the outline drawing of the piece. This handy section of the pattern, however, can be the magic ingredient to a successful knit.
Pattern schematics are the blueprint of your knitting project, giving you the perfect visual representation of what to expect. What are you looking for when you examine this supposedly plain outline? • Direction of the knitting • Final measurements for every aspect of the garment • Shaping elements • Whether it is knittable and wearable for YOU First things first: Schematics are read according to the direction of knitting and, along all of the edges, you’ll find the finished dimensions for each size. For sweaters that are knit flat, the image usually shows each piece that is to be seamed, though sometimes you may find the front and back superimposed (if they are identical). In the photo example, you’ll notice the sweater is knit from the bottom up and in pieces to be seamed. Circular projects don’t usually show separate garment pieces and exhibit the circumferences instead of the widths.
The measurements listed serve to help you to verify the proper fit, and the more schematic measurements indicated, the better you’ll be able to understand the final garment. Typically, the measurements listed are before any seaming, but always indicate the finished (soaked, blocked and dried) sizes; do not count your hot-off-theneedles numbers.
Now, notice the shape of things -- is there waist shaping? Straight or curved armholes? Narrow shoulder width? Each of these elements gives you a quick glance at what to expect long before you pick out the yarn. If you are someone who doesn’t like a high waist, the schematic will enable you to rule the pattern out beforehand (or play with some math to change it for your preferences). Examine the measurements for your size: does the hip or sleeve circumference look comfortable? Would you like something that is more of a tunic-length sweater or a deeper armhole depth?
At this point, you get to make all of the decisions! You can make changes to suit your preferences (for example, work a shorter length in the hips to bring the waist down). Start by choosing the size that has the best fit in the shoulders, armholes and neck areas, simply because they can be the hardest parts to tweak. From there, adjust the width on everything below the armholes to suit your size.
Essentially, the schematic drawing gives you everything you need to know for a beautiful, perfectly fitting piece, so start there, and everything else will fall into place.