As part of the blog tour for the 30 Day Sweater, today we have a guest post. Ever wanted to know what it takes to succeed in knitting a great sweater? Me too. Well, the people behind the 30 Day Sweater and the upcoming massive KAL tell us more today.
The question is, “How do you consistently make sweaters that you love?” I can’t guarantee that you’ll love every sweater that you decide to knit, but if you use the following five details while knitting your sweater, it is far more likely that you’ll end up with a sweater that you’re proud of.
1. Planning Your Sweater
This is technically not a “detail,” but it is still super important! Take the time to think about your sweater before you spend a ton of time, energy and yarn knitting it. Consider where you’ll wear it, what you’ll wear it with, what climate you’ll be wearing it in and the overall style of the sweater.
There are tons of great sweater designs out there and endless possibilities for what yarn to knit them out of. Make sure the sweater you plan to knit fits your style and the yarn you choose is appropriate for the weather you plan on wearing the sweater in. You can knit any sweater you like, but choosing a sweater that you are excited about wearing in real life is certainly the most rewarding to knit.
When you are choosing the yarn you’d like to knit with take a moment to think honestly about the care of the finished garment. Are you willing to hand wash your sweater or should you opt for something that can be machine washed?
Just a few minutes of extra thought before you jump into your project can make a huge difference for your entire project!
2. Getting Proper Measurements
Take the time to get your body measurements before you choose a size of sweater to knit. Be honest with your measurements. The goal is a garment that fits you well, not to fit into a certain size. Unfortunately there is really no standard for consistent sizing; one designer may say a size medium is a 38” chest and another may write a medium size pattern for a 34” chest. If you know your measurements you can choose a size that reflects your actual measurements and make any adjustments to body or sleeve length so the sweater you knit will fit your unique shape.
3. Taking Accurate Gauge Measurements
I would say that this is the most important detail for knitting a sweater that fits properly. Make sure that you are getting exactly the right gauge before you begin knitting your sweater. Knit a good sized gauge swatch and make sure to wash and block it before your measure how many stitches and rows your are getting per inch. If your gauge is not perfect the first time, knit another swatch with a larger or smaller needle until you get the desired gauge.
Gauge is what all of the math for designing a sweater is based on, so if your gauge is off, it can mess with the fit and proportion of your sweater. Don’t fudge your numbers to get gauge; being off by even half of a stitch per inch can make the difference of a few inches in your finished sweater.
Seriously. Don’t skip this step!
4.Taking Your Time To Knit
Knitting a sweater is super exciting, and when I’m knitting, I can’t wait to finish so I can wear it. But knitting a sweater is not a race. The old adage, quality takes time, certainly rings true in this case. Slow down, take the time to fix mistakes and make any changes you think are necessary.
If there is something you don’t know how to do, take a minute and look it up. For the longest time I knit sweaters and didn’t know how to make a jogless stripe while knitting in the round and was never pleased with my results. One day I just stopped knitting, took 3 minutes on YouTube and learned how to make stripes look perfect, and now I love how professional they look.
Everyone makes mistakes. If you notice you’ve made a mistake, go back and fix it. Pulling out a few rows can seem like a major setback, but it is totally worth it!
Pay attention to the details. Other people may not notice if you’ve used the perfect increase or decrease but the more effort you put into using the correct techniques the better your finished sweater will look. You can feel confident that you’ve not only knit a sweater, but also that you’ve knit a sweater that will be durable and stand the test of time.
Again, be honest when you are measuring. Stretching your fabric a little bit to get the right measurement so you can move on to the next step sooner won’t help anyone and may cause your sweater to fit incorrectly.
Putting the finishing touches on my sweater is actually my favorite part of knitting a sweater. It is also the part that is easiest to hurry through.
My best advice is to learn how to weave in your ends correctly. This is huge! For the longest time I did this wrong and would get frustrated when I would wear the sweater and ends would be popping loose. Check out this great video over at New Stitch A Day to learn how.
Make sure that you are also using appropriate seaming techniques and blocking your sweater. Blocking the sweater is a way to even out and set all of your stitches and will give your sweater that professional finished look.
If you would like to learn more about taking measurements, choosing yarn and making a gauge swatch download our free Sweater Planning Guide. This guide walks you through all of the steps for planning and preparing to knit a sweater that you’ll love.
This guest post is a part of the 30 Day Sweater Challenge promo tour. Join us this October as we help 5,000 knitters around the world knit a sweater they’ll love, in 30 days. To sign up just visit 30daysweater.com and download your free Sweater Planning Guide. It will help you get started on the right foot! See you in October!