A Little About Paula Ward

Like so many knitters, I learned to knit when I was young–about eight. Most of the women in my extended family knew some sort of needlecraft.

My grandmother and great-aunt both knit and crocheted, and I have a vague memory of watching my great-grandmother tat lace. I still have a handkerchief trimmed with her tatted lace, and it is a treasured possession.

My mom taught me the basics of knitting, but it was my aunt who was the true expert. I didn’t realize then (but I do now!) how lucky I was to have teachers so early in life. I think one of the reasons I enjoy knitting is remembering this connection to these wonderful women who shared this interest.

I still remember the day my aunt showed me the Continental style of knitting (also called picking). Until then I had been using the English style (AKA throwing). I remember her fingers moving so fast I couldn’t follow it.

My mom was with us at the time–she laughed and told her sister to quit showing off. My aunt laughed too, slowed down and taught me the new method.

That same aunt knit me two lovely sweaters. It inspired me to “graduate” to knitting sweaters myself. Problem was, I hadn’t graduated to knitting gauge swatches. And back in the day patterns sometimes listed just the size, not finished measurements. Talk about a guessing game!

If I’d known then what I know now, I could have read the pattern and figured out what the finished measurements would be, but back then I didn’t know how. More importantly, I didn’t realize how important it was. Do I need to mention at this point that my sweater projects weren’t very successful?

Three sweaters in a row that didn’t fit (you’d think I would have suspected a problem after the second one, wouldn’t you?) I got disgusted and quit knitting. I didn’t even go back to hats and scarves–I just quit.

Those were busy years anyway–I traveled, went back to school, started a business, got married and had a baby.

I did make one more attempt in that time: when I was pregnant, I bought yarn for a sweater because I planned to stay at home with my son and thought“I would need something to do after the baby got here.” The moms out there reading this will get a good laugh out of that one.

My son attended a school that encouraged handcrafts, and many moms were knitters. We formed a little craft group and I picked up my needles again. It immediately hit me how much I enjoyed knitting and how much fun it is, and how relaxing. Baby, I was back!

Maybe I’m a slow learner, but at some point I tackled another sweater–same results.

But I Didn’t Give Up

This time I decided to learn what I did wrong. The more I researched, the more I recognized a lack of information on how to get a sweater to fit that was all in one place, especially a set-in sleeve.

I read, and took classes, and asked questions, and really studied patterns. I also looked for shortcuts that would simplify the math.

I finally came up with a method that was simple yet accurate. Just to be sure I knew what I was doing, I taught another knitter and she successfully knit her first sweater. Then I was left wondering why a simple sweater design system wasn’t out there?

In this same time period, I had started teaching at a local community college, and I discovered that I love teaching–I hadn’t known that about myself.

I also loved the idea of sharing my new sweater design system, so I took the family camcorder and filmed “classes” on how to design and knit a sweater and uploaded them to youtube (my channel is paulajward).

I’ve had a terrific response to my videos–the compliment I treasure most is that my explanations are “crystal clear”. I kept it simple–it’s just me in my living room, writing on a white board and knitting.

Next I put everything into an e-book that can be downloaded. My e-book contains tables, diagrams, photos and forms to record information as the sweater is designed.

I’m also sharing my love of knitting and handcraft via blogging and via Ravelry, and have enjoyed the connection with other knitters these have afforded me.  I hope the information I’ve shared has proved useful.

Happy Knitting!
Paula Ward




Ravelry button

Pinterest button

Follow Me on Pinterest


Easy Knitting Design: The Basic Sweater
Create a sweater that really fits. Save time with easy-to-follow instruc-tions!
Easy Knitting Design - free knitting video tutorials and resources