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Sweater Anatomy: Nancy's Sweater

This is the first in a series of blog posts discussing and analyzing the whys and wherefores of sweater design. All of the sweaters we will be discussing are made for friends and family, and showcase the design capabilities of the KnitWiz design platform at Some designs started with a yarn, some with a stitch, and yet others with an idea.

When I'm designing, I almost always have a specific person in mind, and often modify the original concept a bit to fit their personality.

After creating a design, I let the KnitWiz software create personalized knitting instructions, based on the recipient's measurements, so I won't be delving into the specifics of tech editing and grading patterns. Instead, in each “Sweater Anatomy” post I’ll highlight knitwear design elements and talk about the design decisions I've made for a specific sweater design.

Our first sweater is a riff on the classic top-down raglan with a celtic plait cable motif running down the front of the sweater. I designed it for my friend Nancy. She often pairs creative print tops with classic jackets and sweaters, so I decided to go with a solid DK weight yarn in a navy blue, to complement her grey hair and blue eyes.

The Analysis


1. Crew Neckline

Nancy has a long neck and often wears long-sleeved mock T's in winter . For her, I wanted a heavier crew banding ending just at base of her neck. This neckline works well layered over mock T's and also looks good all on it's own.

Ribbing is usually used at the neckline of a crew-neck pullover due to natural stretchiness. It stretches to go over your head and springs back nicely. If you’d like to try a different stitch at the neckline, make sure your neckline is wide enough so that when stretched, the garment still fits over your head. In this case I used a 2” (5cm) wide 4x4 ribbing for the neckline.

Tip: How to get the look with KnitWiz

KnitWiz templates are created with a default neckline ease of between 2 and 4 inches. To allow for a 2" banding, you'll need to make sure the neck width has 4" (10cm) of ease. Use the arrows along the right side to control width/length dimensions, or drag the blue dots. The software will calculate the exact neck opening width and cast on stitches based on Nancy’s neck width measurement.

2. Arm Opening

Another design element to consider is how deep to make the arm opening. From a wearability point of view, a raglan requires a bit more ease than a typical set in sleeve. Most designers use the convention of adding one inch of ease to the arm opening measurement. KnitWiz builds in a three-fourths inch minimum amount of wear ease under the arm, and I added another half inch (not shown). The software will use your shoulder-to-underarm measurement, adding a total of 1.25" (3cm) ease under the arm. Nancy followed the guidelines in our blog post on measuring, and the resulting sweater fits beautifully.

3. Body and Sleeves

A Celtic Plait is featured on the front, highlighted by simple twist cables on either side. (This stitch chart is public, in case you'd like to use it for one of your own designs.) When designing with cable motifs be sure to swatch each one separately. The stitch gauge for cables is usually higher than for stockinette. The software takes the difference in gauge into account when determining the number of front and back stitches, so that the arm opening is in the correct position.

Lastly, I repeated the twist cables around the cuff... just for fun. Originally, I was going to have the sleeves ending about an inch below the wrist. However, Nancy prefers her sleeves ending at the wrist so I tweaked the design to accommodate her preference.

Now it's your turn - what fun designs do you have in mind? Your first project is free on KnitWiz!

Happy Knitting, fellow KnitWizards!


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