Before sitting down at the machine have a plan and understand your blueprint.
As if you are building a house, when knitting sweaters there are 2 important considerations, a plan and a blueprint.

Before you start knitting you need to identify what you want to knit (a plan) and have a blueprint (a pattern) to make it happen.

As you are reading the blueprint there may be symbols or terms that aren't quite clear to you. You wouldn't start cutting lumber and pounding nails before you understand exactly what you were building. The same holds true for knitting a sweater.

Take time to think through your machine knitting sweater pattern and knit it "virtually", going through each step in your mind.

Your Plan

Choose your yarn
Choose your knitting machine
Select a stitch pattern
Swatch and establish YOUR Gauge (swatching is NOT Optional)
Determine if you have enough yarn How much yarn do I need?

No matter what style of pattern you use READ IT COMPLETELY before starting to knit. Be sure you understand all the terms and abbreviations and you are familiar with the required techniques

Your Blueprint (pattern)

With Knit it Now Dynamic patterns , you don't have to search for the perfect pattern. Just make your choices and create your own custom pattern.

Round neck or V-neck?
Cardigan or Pullover?
Shaped or straight shoulders
Shaped or straight body (waist shaping)
Sleeve Style

If any technique is new-to-you, practice it before starting your sweater

Construction Choices

What cast on/finishing method(s), decorative hem, "unfinished" rolled edges, ribbing or ???
Choose your shaping method(s), decreases or short row shaping
Sleeve style direction of knitting (top down or bottom up)
Seaming: Sew as you go or hand/machine seaming?
Band finishes: Doubled Stockinette bands, single/double ribbed bands or decorative Turning Rows
plan and practice ahead. Classroom: Bands
Shoulder seam (bind off or scrap off?)


Check your spongebar and clamps before starting to knit
Oil your machine before knitting your swatch. Don't oil in the middle of a project (it could impact your gauge)
Read (and understand) your pattern COMPLETELY before starting to knit
Place markers at regular intervals along joining edges (side seams)
Confirm your gauge after knitting the first piece (let it rest and Dress it like your swatch before measuring)
Use Lifelines
Shaping necklines is one of the most difficult things to do while machine knitting sweaters. Get a good visual image
(if you are adding shaped shoulders) Get a good visual image of how the shoulders are shaped AT THE SAME TIME as the neckline

Take time to think through your machine knitting sweater pattern and knit it "virtually", going through each step in your mind.

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Sue J
 Sep 7, 2022
Thanks Cherie, I agree. Because shaping necklines is one of the hardest things in machine knitting, it's critical to practice, practice, practice!

Cherie S
 Sep 7, 2022
Thank you for this checklist Sue. I was sort of doing a list, but not as detailed as yours. As for the neckline shaping, I think you should remind knitters to use the practice neckline pattern to knit up a neckline before they knit the real sweater.