Schematic Tell-All

The schematic is a map to get you where you want to go. It reveals almost everything you need to know about knitting a project. Everything but the stitch counts and pattern stitches.

A schematic is a line drawing of the pieces drawn to scale. Each drawing corresponds to each section that you’ll be knitting. This simple drawing contains important information about the how the project is constructed, style, size, and fit. Let’s take a closer look.

How is the project constructed?


The first thing to notice about the schematic is how the project is knit. A drawing depicting front, back, and sleeve pieces tells you that the project is knit flat, or each piece is knit separately, then sewn together (schematic A). In schematic B, the entire project is knit in the round, and the total circumference is given for each section.

There can also be a combination of flat and circular knitting in one project. The body in schematic C is knit flat, and the yoke is knit in the round. And a garment could be knit flat in one piece like in schematic D; the side seams are folded in so the front borders meet.

I might think twice about knitting a jacket in the round once I have seen the schematic, because I like knitting structured projects flat. So a schematic will give you a heads up as to how the project is made, and whether it’s one you want to attempt.

What size should I choose and will it fit me?

A schematic helps you choose the appropriate size (refer to my post “Designer Knitting: Establishing Measurements for Sweaters for more details on size and fit). The finished measurements are the dimensions of the project after they are knit, and found in the schematic. The finished measurements for each size are given in ascending order, as in the written instructions. The first number is the smallest size and sits outside the parentheses.

As you are knitting, continually check  and compare your measurements with the size you have chosen in the schematic. Note: If your gauge is off, your measurements won’t be the same. Getting an accurate gauge is critical.

The easiest way to choose a size is to find a knitted garment you own that fits you well. Take the same measurements as in the schematic and compare them. Choose the pattern size that closely matches your measurements. This isn’t an exact science, but you will notice how much ease or fullness there is in the design. This should help in getting the right fit.

Blocking is made easier when you have a schematic. Pin the pieces according to the measurements in the schematic for the chosen size.

Is This My Style?

A schematic also gives information about the style of a garment, so you can decide if the style meets your purpose, taste, and whom the project is for. The schematic reveals:

  • Silhouette or shape – nipped in waist? A-line hemline?
  • Sleeve style – set-in? dropped? raglan? saddle?
  • Length – tunic length? cropped? long sleeves over the wrist?
  • Neckline – crew? funnel? boat? turtleneck? scoop? V?
  • Cardigan front edges – wrapped? tie? classic borders? double breasted?

So be thankful when the informative schematic is provided in the pattern instructions – it is your best guide to help you complete your projects successfully.