Well hello, there!
Squam was a glorious oasis of stillness and joy:
…before coming back home to the gauntlet that is the final week of school when you have elementary-aged children. Things have settled down into “summer vacation” now, and we’re all enjoying a few days of lazy mornings and coffee-until-11am before summer camp starts.
I’m working fast and furious on the next book and a couple of other really exciting projects for fall, which doesn’t make for great blogging!
So I thought I’d take today and write about something that’s been rattling around in my head for awhile:
Once someone has knit up one of the designs built directly into CustomFit, they often want to use CustomFit to recreate a design they love, but that isn’t built into the site – whether the design is mine, or someone else’s. We call this “mashing up” the original design with CustomFit.
Here are some of our favorites from the past year:
(Jenn’s Vika, Kelly’s Gakusei, Lauren’s Acer, and Mollie’s Hitch.)
For some of my designs, we’ve released files called recipes to help with this mash-up process. But most of the time, you’ll be on your own. With that in mind, here’s a step-by-step guide, along with a downloadable worksheet, for mashing up a CustomFit pattern with another design.
Step 1: Purchase the original pattern.
You like that sweater enough to want to make it – and you’ll need information from the pattern to do so. Show the designer that you like their work and purchase the original.
Step 2: Identify the CustomFit options for the design’s silhouette.
You’ll be using the Custom Sweater Wizard to create your core CustomFit pattern, and it’s a good idea to specify as much of the design in CustomFit terms as possible. Using the pattern’s photo, schematic, and actual text in combination, write down the following on your mashup worksheet:
- Basic Garment Type and Info: Is it a cardigan or a pullover? Sleeved or sleeveless? (You can tell these things simply by looking at the photos.)
- Sleeve Info: How long are the sleeves, and what shape are they (tapered? straight? belled?)? What stitch pattern trims them, and how much trim is there? (The sleeve length & shape should be easy to tell from the photo and schematic, but you’ll need to look at the pattern itself for the trim info.)
- Neck Info: What shape is the neckline itself, and how wide and deep is it? What trims it, and how much trim is there? (Again, the pattern schematic and instructions are the best places to find this info.)
- Length and Cardigan Options: Look at the picture to determine the length, and the pattern to determine what the hem and cardigan plackets (if any) are trimmed with.
You’ll use this information to generate your basic CustomFit pattern.
Step 3: Identify changes you’ll make to the CustomFit pattern, and write them down.
For most sweaters, you’re not done yet! You’ll be making changes to the basic CustomFit pattern to achieve the look of the original design. Usually, these changes involve either adding stitch patterning to one or more pieces, or doing something unusual trim-wise during finishing.
Stitch patterning. If you’re adding either a textured stitch or a lace panel to your CustomFit pattern, you likely don’t have to adjust the stitch count. Simply make a note of which stitches you’ll be marking and what stitch pattern you’ll be working on the marked stitches.
If you’re adding cables, you’ll need to adjust your CustomFit stitch count to account for the cable’s “suckage:” Add one stitch to your CustomFit stitch count for each stitch that gets put on a cable needle during your cable repeat. (For example, if you’re adding a single 2×2 cable to the front of a cardigan, add 2 stitches to your cardigan front. If you’re adding three 2×2 cables to your sweater back, add 6 stitches to your back stitch count.) You’ll then need to remove those extra stitches when you’re done with the cable – usually, this means working some decreases in your bind-off row to eliminate the stitches.
Trims. This is the other big place you’re likely to make changes – be they a shawl collar, a hood, an edging that’s picked up and worked during the finishing stage, etc. Read this portion of your original pattern carefully to determine what you’ll do. Usually the pattern’s instructions will translate well to your CustomFit version.
In both cases, you’ll be writing down the changes to the CustomFit pattern on the second page of your mashup worksheet.
Step 4: Generate your CustomFit pattern, put it and your mash-up worksheet together, and start knitting.
As you knit your CustomFit pattern, pay attention to page 2 of your mash-up worksheet (and anything you need from the original pattern, like charts). Make adjustments as you get to them.
Sound complicated? It’s not, really – once you have a specific design you’re working toward. Since I don’t have permission to build any of my book sweaters into CustomFit yet, let’s step through this process with one of my own designs that’s very popular in classes: The Cypress Cardigan.
Step 1. Cypress is in my first book, Knit to Flatter, on page 31.
Step 2. You can tell from the picture that Cypress is a mid-hip cardigan (though of course you could change this!), with tapered 3/4 sleeves and a narrow scoop neck that begins .5” (1.5 cm) above the armhole shaping. The trims are as follows:
- Hem: 2” (5 cm) Twisted 1×1 ribbing.
- Sleeves: 3.5” (9 cm) Twisted 1×1 ribbing.
- Neck: .75” (2 cm) Twisted 1×1 ribbing.
- Button Band: 1” (2.5 cm) gap and trim height for Twisted 1×1 ribbing. Sample has 7 or 8 buttons depending on size.
Step 3. The non-standard bits of Cypress are the lace stitch patterning on the back and front. You’ll be making changes to your CustomFit pattern’s back and front to recreate it:
- Back: The Shell Lace pattern written on page 31, and charted on page 32, is repeated as many times as possible within the neck bind-offs on your back. The lace repeat is a multiple of 11 sts plus 12; find the largest number of repeats below the number of stitches you bind off in the back neck, and place lace markers around those stitches after you complete your ribbing. Switch center-most marked stitches to Shell Lace for Back until neck bind-offs.
- Fronts: Similarly, the Shell Lace pattern for Front (pages 31/32) are repeated as many times as possible in the number of neck stitches you have on each front. The repeat is a straight 12 stitches this time, plus 2 stitches of Stockinette on the edge for selvedge. Place a lace marker where appropriate and switch the edge stitches to lace and selvedge after the trim, until the neck bind-offs.
When you’re knitting, you’ll need both your CustomFit pattern and the charted or written instructions for the lace handy. (I’ve been told by many many knitters that Knit Companion is a great way to merge your PDFs and keep track of your stitch pattern charts.)
Make sense? You can download an example of the mash-up worksheet for Cypress here, and download a blank mash-up worksheet here. I hope you feel confident in using CustomFit to recreate the sweater you’ve been wanting to make, but not wanting to modify! So let us know:
What sweater do you most want to mash-up?
And if you have already mashed-up a CustomFit sweater with another design, how did it go?