In looking through the lens of a knitter, a schematic is a diagram of the fabric’s shape you are creating. A thorough schematic has measurements included in both horizontal and vertical directions, otherwise known as width and length at key ‘fit’ points of the garment. Those measurements on a schematic are typically posted in inches as well as centimeters. These measurements inform how the garment will ultimately fit in the eyes of the designer. Also, the schematic is meant to match the written directions of the pattern. The purpose of a schematic is to clarify those directions for the knitter. A schematic also serves well when one surfs knitting patterns. One look at a schematic immediately forecasts the shape of the garment. It is hard to believe that there continues to be patterns without these informative diagrams. I have been both challenged as well as successful in the making of a project due to the schematic of a pattern.
The schematics below are from five different projects of mine from the past few years. These schematics range from “WHAT! You’ve got to be kidding” to “WOW, I’m impressed!” Stop for a moment and see if you can see what is wrong or really great about each of these:
Problem: The measurements say centimeters, however along the hem, are in inches. Every measurement should be in BOTH inches and centimeters. This caused minor angst in the time it took to figure that out and, of course, some unit converting. The result is below.
Problem: No measurement for the circumference of the neckline. I was pretty happy with this schematic, although minimal in content, until I had difficulty with the stitch count around the neck. I could not pick up the number of stitches the pattern recommended. If there had been a measurement on the schematic, I could have used that measure to better understand how many stitches I should pick up in accordance with my gauge. I ended up guessing and hopefully the little cardigan will fit the baby comfortably.
Problem: No measurement for the armhole or shoulder or neckline or width of sleeve at hem. All of these measurements really matter. A garment too tight in the armholes will sit on the shelf in my wardrobe and not be worn. I solved this by knowing from past projects how wide I wanted my sleeve to be and knitted that sleeve width, accordingly. My experience solved the problem where the schematic fell short.
WOW is all I can say! This is the most thorough schematic I have ever seen! Almost overkill! The knitting of this project was smooth sailing.
This is also a very thorough schematic and is likely what has inspired me to write this blog post. In this case, the pattern’s directions did not match this diagram. Without the schematic and my ability to re-create a life size pattern, I would not have known how to proceed with the project. The schematic was the sole key to the fit and success of this project.
These hand knits actually are my wardrobe, as well as part of my heart and soul, as early as the point of yarn purchase. So, the expectation of success at the end is of the utmost.
In looking through the lens of a (potential) knitwear designer, I will remember the importance of a thorough and accurate schematic in the planning and writing of a pattern.