Knitting Reality Checklist…

I now have Custom Knits and Custom Knits 2 by Wendy Bernard. I couldn’t wait to dive into her newer book, and did, but then had to get the first one off of my bookshelf and take another look at it. One of my favorite ideas of hers is her “Reality Checklist”, a list of things you should consider before embarking on a knitting project.


I have concluded that we all have a reality checklist in our minds, but never considered putting it in writing to formally consider before a project. This is a great idea, especially for myself, when the yarn or pattern is calling to me. I throw caution to the wind and don’t ask my self some of the basic questions and later on will regret it.

My Reality checklist: to be consulted before any knitting project, *snort* (to try and avoid some knitting mishaps before they occur).

I also added some links at the end that have helped me with basic questions I have had with knitted projects. (gauge/swatching, yardage,drape, and other misc. links.

1-Will this pattern look good on me, (suit by body type or whoever I’m knitting it for), often I’m looking for something out of my comfort zone, A different silhouette to add to my closet. But it should be flattering. Think of a fabric garment made in the same style, as in would you wear a pencil skirt? If not maybe that slender, beautiful knitted skirt isn’t a good project. Of course if you have to knit this. *grin*  this is when I start looking at my friends and family. Who looks good in a pencil skirt??

2. If I’m knitting something trendy, Because who doesn’t want to be trendy!  I don’t want it to be a large project. A smaller project with yarn that doesn’t break my budget.

3. If you haven’t checked out Maggie Righetti  books, you should, She teaches us.to look suspiciously at pictures in which the model is standing funny, trying to hide parts of the sweater, etc.  This can eliminate future head scratching on your part, when we realize the pattern itself has some issues.

4. Yarn, well obviously we want to have enough. I’ve been in a position of years later, (my last project) trolling the internet for that discontinued yarn in the correct dye lot to finish a large coat sweater!  Because by that time we are “all in” and will pay anything to get that yarn and finish our project. Ideally, buy a few more skeins than you will need. Often after my swatching I realize I need to go up a size or want to add a hood, or different collar, longer sleeves etc.… Most LYS’s will allow returns, even if it is store credit towards more yarn. More yarn is better, after all, you can use it for a hat, wrist warmer, pillow, or misc. scrappy project.

5. Is the yarn in my budget, what about fiber, will this article need to drape, have structure, be washed often. All things to consider when picking out a yarn and especially substituting a yarn. Is is a different gauge? Recalculate the amount you will need to complete your pattern.

6, Look at your pattern and it’s measurements. Measure your body, will this give you the fit and amount of ease you want? Do you need to go up or down in size to get the fit you want? And if so, remember to get enough yarn.

7. Take time to study the yarn you pick out, Is it soft? Pleasant to touch? You will be running this through your hands the entire process. I just finished a project that took me forever, I loved the way the yarn looked, but didn’t consider how it felt and it almost made my skin crawl to knit with it. (also consider allergies, yours and if you are gifting the items, others allergies or sensitivity)

8. Do I have the skill to tackle this item? If not do you have a friend/LYS that will help you. I think we always need to knit something a little outside our range to grow. And there is an amazing amount of knitting help on YouTube. But consider this if you are not adventurous sort.

9. If it calls for buttons, or other finishing items look around for them at the time of your yarn purchase, but you may not want to purchase them then.  I’ve bought 4 buttons and decided I needed 6, especially a zipper I don’t buy until later. Everyone’s gauge is different and I might want that sweater a little longer.

10. And I think this should be #1, but put it last, if your yarn/pattern has passed all of your criteria (whatever they are), go to Ravelry, and look at the comments of the knitters that are knitting the item. You can also look at the comments on the yarn you are buying. This is a great resource, they have helped me out so many times

Below are several links to help you out:

First I check Ravelry, for pattern info, errata, what other knitters have knitted the item in, (included photos, worth a million words), everyone is so friendly! Just ask and you will get help! Not on Ravelry and you knit! Get going and join

-Yarn Drape-No one likes a ploppy coat, or stiff slouchy hat!

-Choosing Yarn: The Importance of DrapeJun  3, 2008 by KD Sandi

-Yarn Substitutions-A couple excellent guides to help you decide what yarn to use instead of the pattern yarn.



-Yarn Estimates-Better to have too much than not enough, But if you are running short on yardage, get creative!





-Knitting your Swatch: seriously I know we all want to start knitting our project ASAP, but swatching will eliminate many head and heart aches later. Also maybe that yarn you thought looked lovely you despise knitting with, return it and try another!





-Body Shape Type-Not sure what you body shape type is?


-What clothing looks best on your body type…create your look here, and see if you like the silhouette, a look generator!


Do you have a list you refer to before starting a knitting project? I’d love to hear what it is.

Get knitting!



  1. This is a really good check list to follow! I have definitely ignored some of these rules when knitting and gotten frustrated! I got some yarn once that was so pretty and knitted my first sweater with it. Unfortunately it was so warm I can only wear my sweater for 5 minutes before I broke a sweat, even in the dead of winter! Other times the pattern is to blame for nonsensical instructions!

  2. Ha, I have a couple of those sweaters! We lost power a couple of winters ago for 4 days and the house temp was around 40. That was the only time I wore the one I kept.(gave the rest away), I like to use wool and wool blends, they are more comfortable to wear.
    I am so guilty of getting into knitting a pattern and just going like crazy and then.....discovering my sweater is terribly out of control and will in no way fit me or any other human. LOL
    Take care


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