I have to tell you, my very least favorite part of designing is creating the schematic. (A schematic is a drawing of the outline of the parts of the sweater, with measurements marked on it). I understand that schematics are important to many knitters, so that they can be sure that each knitted piece matches the appropriate measurements.
To be honest, when I knit from a pattern someone else wrote, I only refer to the schematics if there seems to be a problem. For the average sweater, I care about the length of the body and sleeves and the width of the body. I don't really look too closely at the armhole depth, or the shoulder width, etc. Of course, that's lazy on my part, and if a sweater doesn't fit the way I want it to, I really have only myself to blame. Luckily, other knitters are more detail oriented (or maybe less trusting that it will all turn out all right!) and need the schematics as a reliable tool.
I actually don't mind making schematics in general. If I could use a pencil and a ruler, that would be fine. And to be clear, sometimes that IS fine- different publishers and companies have different requirements. Some create their own schematics from a pattern or re-create hand drawn ones, so they can use the same software and be consistent. For self published designs, of course, you can do whatever you want, and some designers do use hand-drawn graphics (especially the artists, whose drawn schematics are works of art). I've seen (and thought, 'how clever!') designers use a photograph of the sweater as the graphic and added measurements. (in fact I keep thinking I should do that- right after I send the sweater off someplace without having taken the appropriate photo. For some publishers, however (and for this particular project I'm working on), I need to submit a jpeg of a computer drawn schematic.
Don't get me wrong, I'm incredibly thankful for the (free) programs that allow me to do this. But to me, it's like drawing with an Etch-a-Sketch, which I was never able to do successfully as a child (or adult!) There are probably easier ways to do this, but they're probably costly as well, and frankly, free programs fit my budget. And these programs (for the record, Inkscape for the drawing, and GIMP for converting the drawing to a jpeg) have FAR more capabilities than I will ever use. (and by the way, shout out to all the software developers who provide free programs of all sorts- what would we do without them?!)
The real problem, of course, is of my own making. If I were to invest some time into practicing , and made sure I did so frequently, I'd probably be able to knock out a perfect schematic in minutes. But because of my discomfort, I avoid it, until I HAVE to do it, and by then I've completely forgotten everything I learned the last time I used the program. (Side note- the same thing happens on the rare occasions when I've had to make a power point- finally figure it all out, then years pass before I have to do it again and it's like I've never done it). After all, why would I want to do that when I could be knitting?!
I guess the take away is, I know I'd be a better knitter if I looked at the schematics more frequently while knitting, and I'd have an easier time with schematics if I took the time to practice and keep my skills fresh. (now, whether or not I ACT on this knowledge has yet to be seen...)