When you sit down with a new sweater pattern — or better yet, when you're choosing one — begin by paying close attention to the picture of the sweater you want to knit. This step may seem obvious, but studying the photograph or drawing and noting the details will clarify parts of the instructions that may otherwise be confusing. Study the picture of your sweater and answer these questions:
I Is it a pullover or a cardigan?
I How is it constructed? Can you tell from the picture whether the sweater is designed with a drop shoulder or a set-in sleeve, two common sleeve styles?
i Does the shoulder slope, or is it worked straight across? (If you can't tell from the photo, check the schematic. The shoulder design will be clear in the little line drawing that often comes with the instructions.)
i Is the body of the sweater shaped in any way, or is it a simple rectangle?
i Is the sweater worked primarily in stockinette stitch? If other pattern stitches are used, can you identify them? Are they knit-and-purl patterns, cables, or something else?
i Is there a color pattern? If so, is it an allover pattern, or is it "placed" along the hem or across the yoke? Does it look like a repeating pattern to knit by using the Fair Isle technique, or is it a pattern with larger color areas to knit in the intarsia method? (See Chapter 13 for details about these methods.)
i Is there ribbing at the bottom edges, or does the sweater begin some other way?
i Does it have a round neckline or a V-neck? Is it finished with a ribbed neckband? A collar? A crocheted edge?
i If the sweater is pictured on a model, how's the fit? Does the collar lie properly around the neck? Does the sleeve cap pull? If the sweater doesn't fit the model well, chances are that it won't look good on you. (Then again, it just might.)
The point of all these questions? Know thy sweater.
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