Once someone has knit 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.
(These are Mollie’s Hitch, Lauren’s Acer, Kelly’s Gakusei, and Jenn’s Vika.)
Our shorthand for this is “mashing up” the original design with CustomFit. Mashing up isn’t the way I’d recommend you get started with CustomFit! But once you’re ready for your first mash-up, this tutorial will help you knit with success.
The process for working a mash-up is straightforward, if a little DIY. Here’s an overview:
- Purchase the pattern you’d like to mash-up.
- Use it to figure out how close CustomFit will be able to get you; purchase your CustomFit “starter” pattern.
- Jot down the changes you’ll have to make to your CustomFit pattern while knitting.
I’ve included more detail on each of these steps below, and I’ve also made a handy worksheet you can use for your own Mash-Ups: click here to download it. If you’re interested in Mash-Up worksheets for more of my designs, and a list of for-purchase CustomFit “Recipes” (instructions by other designers for using CustomFit to get sweaters like theirs), click here to go to a page that links to them.
Step One: Support the Designer.
I cannot overstate the importance of this step. 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.
Let’s go through the rest of this tutorial using my Tidal Pool design as an example.
If you’d like to follow along, you can download a Mash-Up worksheet for Tidal Pool by clicking here.
Step Two: Get Started with CustomFit.
Your first real bit of work is to identify how close CustomFit can get you to the design you’d like to make.
You’ll be using CustomFit’s Build Your Own Sweater feature to create a plain CustomFit pattern with as much of the right shape and detail as possible.
Using a combination of the pattern’s photo, schematic, and actual instructions, identify:
- Basic Silhouette Information: Cardigan or pullover? Sleeved or sleeveless? What shape is it – A-line, straight, hourglass, or tapered?
- Sleeve Info: How long are the sleeves, and what shape are they? What trims the cuff, and how much trim is there?
- Neck Info: What shape is the neckline itself, and how wide/deep is it? What’s the neck trim, and how much is there?
- Other Info: How long is the sweater? If it’s a cardigan, how wide is the button band and how is it worked?
Write all of this down on the first page of your Mash-Up worksheet, which you can get by clicking here. Then, use this information to generate your basic CustomFit pattern. Here’s a link directly to the “Build Your Own” part of CustomFit.
Here are example choices for my Tidal Pool design:
- Basic Silhouette Information: A-line pullover.
- Sleeve Info: 3/4 tapered sleeves, with 1” (2.5 cm) of 2×2 ribbing trim.
- Neck Info: Average-width scoop neck, with a depth that’s .5” (1.5 cm) above the armhole shaping, with .75” (2 cm) of 2×2 ribbing trim.
- Other Info: Long sweater length, with .75” (2 cm) of 2×2 ribbing trimming the hem.
(You can get most of the above information from this picture, although it’s much easier to look at the pattern’s instructions for the trim heights for the sleeves, hem, and neck.)
Step Three: Plan Your Changes
For most sweaters, you’ll be making at least a few changes to the basic CustomFit pattern to achieve the look of the original design. This is usually going to involve either adding stitch patterning to one or more pieces, or doing something unusual 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, you’ll be following the same basic instruction format as in your original pattern, potentially with some adjustments to the stitch counts for gauge.
Again continuing with the Tidal Pool example, the main change to make is to include the guernsey stitch patterning. You’ll need the chart from the original pattern (or, since it’s my design, the free Mash-Up worksheet I’ve made). And, you’ll also need to note on your own Mash-Up worksheet when to work the stitch patterning:
For Tidal Pool, switch all stitches on the front and the back to textured stitch patterning 2” (5 cm) before the armhole shaping.
Whatever changes you’re making, write them down in the appropriate place on your Mash-Up Worksheet and make sure you keep that worksheet with your CustomFit pattern.
Step Four: Get Knitting
If you haven’t done so already, generate your CustomFit pattern, put it together with your plan, and get knitting! Pay attention to page 2 of your Mash-Up worksheet as you knit, along with anything like charts that you need from the original pattern. Make adjustments as you get to them.