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Evaluating Patterns - Schematics & Other Designer-Provided Info

Updated: May 12, 2022

Informed pattern shopping

You love supporting indie designers, but you also want to have confidence that the pattern you're buying will result in the sweater you're planning. In part one of this three-part series, we talked about how to review modeled photos of a sweater. Check out part three, all about evaluating other knitters' projects, here. Today, we're going to go deep on reviewing all the other info the designer provides.

All about Schematics

Back to basics - what's a schematic? A set of measurements, typically accompanied by an illustration, that details the exact measurements a knitting pattern will create. Of course, you have to get gauge and follow the instructions, but the schematic will tell you what exactly you're making.

The designer should* provide the schematic

Designers should provide a schematic that you can review ahead of time. If you’d like to see my thoughts on this, I share them on this Instagram post. If the schematic is not available, the pattern description should clearly indicate that the pattern includes a schematic, and at least some key measurements are included before you buy.

Things to consider when reviewing the schematic

Evaluate consistency (will your sweater will look like the model’s?)

  • The armhole depth should not change dramatically – every size should have a similar amount of ease under the arm. If this measurement varies from the smallest size to the largest size by more than 5 inches, I would be suspicious.

  • The neckline should look the same on everyone. Our necks don’t get much wider as our bodies get larger, and yet I consistently see larger necklines relative to neck size as sweaters get larger. I wouldn’t expect this measurement to change much more than 3” across the entire range.

  • Sleeve and body length – from the underarm to the cuff, I would expect this measurement to get *shorter* as the sizes get larger (and in some cases, stay the same).

Does the schematic provide adequate information for you to make an informed decision?

Full bust and upper sleeve are rarely enough information to tell you whether or not your body will 'fit inside the schematic.' Most knitters will get the best fit if they make at least one adjustment. Reviewing these measurements will tell you how the pattern will fit YOU, and give you a heads up on anything you might like to consider changing.