Personalize Your Knitting: Graph it Out!

I knit Henry (my nephew) the H Sweater when he was about two and a half, and at four years old he's ready for a new one!

This sweater is my own conglomeration of elements from several kids' sweater patterns. The original was knit out of a cotton rope-type yarn, and I think it was a bit too stiff—see how the arm is a little bumpy at the join? I'm thinking about doing this one out of a well-wearing yarn like Berroco Comfort DK or something with a tad more drape so Henry can be comfortable as he runs around and plays.

When I was planning the original H, I winged it, to the detriment of the overall effect because I had to rip the front out about three times. I finally got the H centered, but I was left with a pile of frayed, unusable yarn and I had to buy a new skein of each color.

I've learned a lot since then, and I'm in the process of planning this sweater out to the stitch!

Enter the notebook that saved the day!

A week or so ago I received a new notebook in the mail, the Work In Progress Notebook from Franklin Habit. It's a simple little book, made up of half blank pages and half knitter's graph paper. Knitter's graph paper is different from regular graph paper because the knit stitch is slightly wider than it is tall, and the graph paper reflects that.

Anyway, I used the notebook to begin planning out Henry's new H Sweater. The front and back need to be 15 inches across to equal a total of 30 inches around (after blocking), so with a gauge of 22 stitches to 4 inches, I would need to cast on about 76 stitches.

I wanted the H to be quite large like the original, so I graphed it out at approximately 3 inches tall and 4 inches wide.

To center the H in the middle of the front—which was my nemesis last time!—I subtracted the number of stitches in the H from the total cast-on stitches: 76 CO stitches minus 26 H stitches equals 50 leftover. Then I divided 50 by two to get 25. So, I'll knit 25 stitches, then place the first row of the H, then 25 stitches. That'll put it squarely in the middle of the sweater. Phew!

And I have it all in this handy little notebook, which fits in one of the pockets in my knitting bag so I can carry it around with me!

And while I'm in planning mode. . .

I started working on a new Big Button Jacket. This is another "Franken-pattern" put together from my favorite aspects of three different sweater patterns. My old Big Button is wearing out! I'm going to do another one, this time out of a solid yarn. I have a bunch of bulky yarn in my stash, so I swatched it and planned out the first steps in the new jacket.

I might need a sweater-planning intervention in order to get some actual knitting done. Or, I'll just have to get myself another one of these notebooks so I can keep going!


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