Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions about my work, my patterns and my design style.
- My gauge is off, what should I do? When checking gauge, please be sure to knit your swatch larger than the space you’re measuring (i.e. 5″ is a great size!), wet-block your swatch and pin it flat until dry, and THEN measure it over 4″. This is the best way to ensure you are getting an accurate number. Be sure to check both stitch gauge AND row gauge. Top-down sweaters, especially, require proper row gauge for correct fit. If you have achieved stitch gauge, but not row gauge, try going up (or down) a needle size and swatching again. I have often found that the stitch gauge can stay about the same but the row gauge will change with the change in needle. It can also be helpful to try switching the type of needle you’re using (i.e. switch from bamboo to metal, or vice versa).
- I want to knit the sweater in a different gauge than intended, can you help me figure out the math? I wish I could answer yes to this question, but unfortunately I am not able to provide pattern customization, simply due to the amount of time it takes and the number of people asking for this assistance. I highly recommend a class on pattern modifications if this is an approach you enjoy taking and would like to have a deeper understanding of how to change-up the gauge in a pattern with predictable results.
- I’m using a different yarn, but I got gauge. Why doesn’t my sweater fit/drape like the one in the picture? Remember that when you are making yarn substitutions, the results can vary. For the most consistent results choose a yarn with a very similar fiber structure and weight as the one listed in the pattern. From knitter to knitter, yarn to yarn, and needle to needle, there are countless variations. The more you knit, the more you’ll understand what works for you and how to get the results you want.
- What size should I make? To get a fit similar to the one shown on the pattern, choose the size according to your bust size. The recommended ease will already be factored into the size.
- What if I’m between sizes? Depending on the fit you’re looking for, it often makes sense to go up to the next size, rather than the size smaller.
- Check out my article about the most common mistakes knitters make when knitting sweaters, which includes advice about sizing, fit, ease and gauge.
Questions about ease? Check out my blog post here.
Are you interested in having me teach at your shop or event? Please send an email to hello @ oliveknits.com or fill out the comment form below. I am generally booking events 9-15 months out, but it never hurts to ask if you have something sooner in mind.
Other common questions
Q: This sweater says it’s knit in the round, but the first few rows are flat? What gives?
A: Often with top-down seamless sweaters, the neckline is worked with a bit of contour shaping (which must be done flat) before it’s joined in the round. If you look ahead in the pattern, you will see where the pattern directs you to join and begin working in the round.
Q: Why is page 1 missing from my pattern?
A: You will notice that in my newer patterns (2018 and beyond), they are formatted with the materials/sizing/schematic page at the very end of the pattern. This is strategic because my patterns are available both digitally and in print. Having this data available on the back of the pattern makes it easier for customers who are purchasing the print version, and means they don’t have to pull the pattern out of the plastic sleeve to look for that information. When printing at home, you can rearrange the pages as you see fit.
Q: My pattern is missing the last page. Help!
A: Check your printer paper. 100% of the time when someone emails about a missing page, it’s a case of their printer running out of paper. If you check the digital version, all of the pages will be accounted for.
Q: Why is your business called “Olive Knits”?
A: Do you remember as a child asking your friend to cover their ears and then mouthing the words “olive juice”? It looks like you’re saying “I love you.” We always got a good chuckle out of that. The name Olive Knits is partly a play on “I love knits,” partly because I’m a foodie and I think olives go with everything, partly because my mom called me Olive Oil (from Popeye) as a teenager because I was tall and lanky, and partly because olives strangely/perfectly illustrate my minimalist, seamless style.
Q: Do you need sample knitters or test knitters?
A: I am so grateful for the support of the knitters who work behind the scenes to help test my patterns and knit samples. I work with a fairly consistent team of knitters and am generally not in need of additional help, but sometimes I will post a call for additional testers on Instagram. Keep an eye out there.
Q: Help! I don’t know how to work this stitch!?
A: If there is not a stitch tutorial on the pattern page here on my website, please utilize the internet to answer questions about how to work a particular stitch or cast-on.
Q: The first row feels weird to me. I think something is missing.
A: Did you use the recommended cast-on? If not, this is likely the reason why.
Q: I got to the sleeve divide and my stitch count is off. I think there’s a mistake in the pattern.
A: My patterns are professionally tech edited and tested by a large number of testers, which helps ensure that stitch counts (and other pattern data) is correct by the time it reaches your hands. Most often when I am asked this question, it’s because the additional increases prior to the sleeve divide were overlooked in the pattern. They are clearly marked, but they can still be easy to miss if you’re in a rhythm and cruising along without looking closely. Be sure you go back and verify that you’ve caught all of the additional increases to ensure that your numbers are correct. If you’ve double checked the pattern and your work and you still believe you’ve found an issue, please let me know.
Q: My arms are larger and I want more room. Can I cast-on more stitches under the arm?
A: Yes. Just remember that this will also add to the finished bust size. Depending on the gauge of the pattern, this might not be an issue – just keep it in mind.
Q: My row gauge is off by quite a bit. Can I just knit more rows to reach the length it should be?
A: Yes. This does interfere a bit with the shaping of the arm and sleeve, so be strategic and divide up the extra rows so they are not all worked together at the very end before the sleeve divide. AND if you are adding extra rows, don’t work the increases on those rows. They are just for depth and not for width. How many rows you need will depend on the pattern and your gauge, but generally an additional 1-2 inches is all you need to make up for the difference. Determine how many rows you need based on how many rows you’re getting per inch and then add that number accordingly.
Q: I’m almost to the sleeve divide and I don’t think this is going to fit. What do I do?
A: First, trust the pattern. If your stitch and row gauge are correct and you are knitting the correct size for your body, the fit has been tested and should work nicely. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell until you’re a bit further along into the lower body. Remember, too, that blocking changes the structure of the fiber – which often means growth in length and sometimes width. These changes are all factored into the pattern. However, every knitter’s shape is different, and you may need more or less room. If you need to work a few extra rows or cast-on more stitches under the arms, this is usually an easy fix.
Q: I haven’t started knitting yet, but something on page 6 doesn’t make sense and I’d like to know before I start. Can you explain how it’s supposed to work?
A: I always recommend that you read through the pattern before you begin – like with anything (travel, cooking, life!) it helps to know what direction you’re headed before you dive in. However, it’s also difficult to make sense of everything before you’re actually doing it. The best rule of thumb is to read through the pattern, get a feel for what’s ahead, and then go ahead and dive in before you ask about sections of the pattern you haven’t actually tackled yet. Most likely, by the time you reach that point, it will make a lot more sense and will feel like an intuitive transition as you work.
Q: What’s the best way to contact you if I have a question?
A: Thanks for asking! Pattern support is an important component of the process of knitwear design, but I would ask that you to do your own problem-solving first before you reach out. I’ve often found myself spending hours and hours answering questions that are already explained IN the pattern, or are posted to the pattern tutorial page here on my website. If you’ve tried your best, you’ve read through the pattern, you’ve checked the pattern tutorials here on my website and you’re still stuck, it can help to post your question in the Olive Knits Knitters’ Lounge on Facebook – many other knitters may be able to jump in and help. When it comes to reaching out to me directly, please do so via the comment box below. I do not answer pattern support questions or customer inquiries via Facebook Messenger, Instagram direct message or posted to my Facebook page.
Please remember: Knitting is a process. Use your best judgment. Don’t be afraid to try something you’re unsure about – there are no tragic consequence in knitting, so the worst case scenario is you might have to try something a few times to get it right. But that’s part of the fun of learning, and the more problem-solving you do along the way, the more confident you’ll be AND the quicker your skills will grow.
Do you have a question that isn’t answered in the pattern, on the pattern tutorial/support page or in the above content?
Please fill out the comment form below – if your message requires a response, someone (i.e. me) will respond within 24-48 hours on regular business days. (And hey! There’s a real person on the other end of this message box who’s trying her darndest to make sure you get the answer you need in a timely manner. Thanks for your patience and kindness.)