Model knitting

This morning, I fired up my laptop and I saw this:

Kelbourne Woolens, Mojave Collection shoot

© Meghan Kelly

Wow! I love this tank.  I love the eye-popping yellow and the beautiful shaping.  But, man, most of all I love this model!  She models all six patterns in this collection of summer tops designed by Meghan Kelly for Kelbourne Woolens.  Here is another:

Kelbourne Woolens, Mojave Collection shoot

© Kelbourne Woolens

And then, I saw this lovely retro pattern by Norah Gaughan:

Retro-Pullover-1_medium2

© Norah Gaughan

And once again, I love the model.  This design is from a collection of 16 patterns for Berrocco, and she models the whole collection.  Here is a great cowl pattern by Martha Wissing:

Napatree-Cowl-1_medium2

© Martha Wissing

Let’s here it for diversity in models!  And beautiful designs to boot.

Pattern Radar – August 2016

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a Pattern Radar post.  Mostly this is because the last stages of finishing the MBA exhausted me and I’ve been recovering slowly.  The second, and perhaps related, issue is that I have a bit of knitting burn-out.  This means that patterns just aren’t reaching out to grab me – there seem to be too many patterns coming out all of the time, and my knitting mojo is low (see my post on Pattern Bombardment Syndrome here).

That is not to say that there have not been some lovely patterns out lately.  Here is my selection of the ones which really caught my eye.  We will start with publications, both books and knitting magazines.  The one which blew me away is Kyle Kunnecke’s Urban Knit Collection.  I don’t believe it has been released yet in print, though Kyle has put up all of the pattern pages on Ravelry in order to whet our appetites. I pre-ordered the book instantly; something I rarely do these days. There are so many great patterns that it is hard to choose, but my favorite of the collection is Savoy.  Here are front and back views. This one is definitely on my to-do list.

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© 2016 Interweave

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© 2016 Interweave

I think that Kyle is an incredibly inventive designer.  Here is another one from this collection, the men’s pullover Brandt, which is knit in one of my favorite yarns, Rowan Felted Tweed:

20150423_ukc_0052_medium2

© 2016 Interweave

Kate Davies also published her book on Haps.  As usual, I like Kate’s writing and historical research as much as the patterns.  In this book, unlike her earlier ones, she has collaborated with a number of designers.  My favorite is the Nut-Hap, designed by Jen Arnall-Culliford; I think it is a really clever design:

Jen6_copy_medium2

© Kate Davies Designs

The Vogue Knitting Early Fall 2016 edition came out a few weeks ago, and I really loved two of the patterns.  First, the #3 Mock Turtleneck Shell by Melissa Leapman.  What is not to like about this?  I would make it in red – really rich red.

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© SoHo Publishing

The #22 Hooded Cable Vest by Yoko Hatta also appeals.  This has really classy lines but still a touch of fun.  I can imagine wearing this all the time:

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© SoHo Publishing

 

08_VKEF16_0029_medium2

© SoHo Publishing

I used to have a subscription to Interweave Knits, but for a long time it went downhill (so I thought) and I cancelled my subscription.  Lately, it seems to be getting stronger. I tried to pick just one favorite from this edition, but couldn’t do it, so will show you two.  I am always interested in men’s patterns, and I have been searching for good men’s vest patterns (more on this in a later post), so I was extremely pleased to see the Fall River Vest by Mary Jane Mucklestone.  I love it!

Knits-Fall-2016-1398_medium2

© Interweave Knits 2016

I have featured Linda Marveng in a previous Pattern Radar post.  She continues to churn out some impressive patterns.  Her contribution to Interweave Knits is a very chic piece, the Kathe Cardigan.  I like it more every time I look at it.

Knits-Fall-2016-0718_medium2

© Interweave Knits 2016

(I was planning on also featuring another Linda Marveng design, a gorgeous reversible tunic called Hel, but just realised that it is still being test knit and hasn’t been released yet. This means that there is lots of good stuff still to come from Linda’s desk, so stay tuned.)

I had never heard of Gudrun Georges when I saw her design, the Amy Polo.  I will certainly put her on radar now.  I love this sport-weight polo, which is both classic and cute and has great details:

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© Gudrun Georges

Baby sweaters don’t normally catch my eye; perhaps now that I’ve knit one again, they have been raised a bit in my consciousness.  I really like Conifer, by Ella Austin, otherwise known as BomBella:

Ella_067_medium2

© Emma Solley

I have been noticing many beautiful Nordic designs and designers lately.  I was struck by the design, Superfritt etter Fana by Sidsel J. Høivik.  This pattern is apparently available in kit form from her website.  I was not familiar with Sidsel’s work, but will keep an eye on her.  Oslo seems to be a very happening place for knitting design.

Forside_Superfritt_etter_Fana_crop_medium2

© Sidsel J. Høivik

This seems like a very short Pattern Radar post to me.   I think once my knitting mojo comes back full force, and the fall sets in, I will once again get overwhelmed by new patterns.  In the meantime, these gorgeous designs are enough to keep your needles busy for a long time.

 

A dozen great patterns for fingerless mitts

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post showcasing great mitten patterns.  A reader recently left a comment on the blog asking for some suggestions for fingerless mitts.  Thanks, Arlene, for the post idea!  I have searched through the hundred or so fingerless mitt patterns in my favorites file and picked out an even dozen.   Some of these are new designs and some have been around for awhile and some I’ve likely pointed out before.

This close to the holidays, with many other things that I should be doing, I will endeavor to keep this post simple – I’ll keep the word count low and put up only the Ravelry link for each pattern.  So, without further ado and in no particular order, here are twelve great designs:

1. Ballydesmond mitts, by Irish Girlie Knits.  Think cashmere!

© irish Girlie Knits Designs

© irish Girlie Knits Designs

 

2.  The goats of Inversnaid gauntlets by Kate Davies, using her new yarn.  Can you see the goats?  (Hint: they are white).

© Kate Davies Designs

© Kate Davies Designs

 

3. Palouse mitts by Marjorie Walter of Knitting in the Rain.  So elegant.  And I love this photo so much!

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by RaintownKnitter

 

4. Desafinado mitts by Veronik Avery.  This is a new pattern, just released a few days ago.  It’s hard to get a clear photo of just the mitts, as it was released as a mitt and hat set, but I love the colourwork on these.

quince-co-desafinado-hat-mitts-veronik-avery-knitting-pattern-piper-4_medium2

© Pam Allen

 

5. Copperline mitts by Elizabeth Doherty of Blue Bee Studio.  I already have the yarn lined up!

© Blue Bee Studio

© Blue Bee Studio

 

6. Cabletilt mitts by Sarah Wilson of The Sexy Knitter.  They are positively drool-worthy!

© Sara McDonald

© Sara McDonald

 

7. Xmas Star Mitts by Sybil R.  This designer has spent the last few years deconstructing the fingerless  mitt, and has come up with the most ingenious patterns.

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© sybilra

 

8. The Byzantine by Martha Keep.  It’s hard to see but these are knit with very tiny needles and are beaded with hundreds of very tiny beads!  A work of art.

© James Yochum

© James Yochum

 

9. Tatara by Olga Buraya-Kefelian for Brooklyn Tweed Capsule Collection.

© Brooklyn Tweed

© Brooklyn Tweed

To see why I love these so much, you need to see a pair unmodelled and marvel at its cool construction:

© Brooklyn Tweed

© Brooklyn Tweed

 

10. En rêvant de Provence by Tori Seierstad.  I am mad about these.  There are four flower charts – sunflower, poppies, lavender and almond flower – which can be mixed and matched as you choose.

by torirot

by torirot

 

11. Helleborus Mitts by Kirsten Kapur.  A pretty tulip pattern combined with a gorgeous gusset; so dainty!

© Kirsten Kapur

© Kirsten Kapur

12. Brooklyn Bridge Mitts by Emma Welford.  Aren’t they fab?  To date myself here,  I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge every day to get to work in 1982.  I love that Bridge and love this great pattern based on its design.

© Lindsey Topham

© Lindsey Topham

I hope this post gives you some great ideas!

The explosion in pattern length

When I started knitting, patterns were very short, and often quite obtuse.  They were sprinkled liberally with phrases like: “decrease x-number of stitches from each side every row, while keeping to established pattern”, “make raglan increases, while incorporating new stitches into lace pattern”, “decrease x-number stitches evenly across row”, and my favorite (usually in all caps) “AT THE SAME TIME”.

Every pattern had bits like this:

RIGHT FRONT

Work as for left front, reversing all shaping and placement of pat.

(from Vogue Knitting International, Holiday 1986, p 96)

Or, in a similar vein:

Right front shoulder

With right side facing, rejoin appropriate yarns and, keeping continuity of patt, work the 51/54/57 st of right shoulder, as for left, reversing neck shaping.

(from Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting, 1988, p, 121)

Knitters were expected to figure out how to incorporate increased stitches into a particular pattern, be it lace or mosaic or fair isle, and also how to decrease stitches in pattern.  Furthermore, they were expected to be able to naturally reverse all pattern instructions and shapings.

My early knitting projects were always accompanied by loads of hand scribbled notes.  If the pattern was complicated, I would notate each row, and specify how I incorporated increases, decreases, and other shapings.  These scribblings were filled with math – most patterns did not include all of the necessary mathematical calculations – and a competent knitter needed to know a lot of practical math in order to complete the pattern.

Patterns were sold in print medium – in magazines or books – and I imagine that they were kept short in part to save on page length.  Today, most of the patterns I use are downloaded PDF files, and one of the things that is quite obvious is that the patterns are getting longer and longer.  In fact, there is a veritable explosion in pattern length happening right now.   I used to photocopy a pattern from a knitting magazine and keep it in the project bag with my knitting; this was usually a single piece of paper, on which I would add scribbles like mad, front and back.  Now, many of the patterns I use are 8, 10, 12 pages or even longer.  Why is this?

Partly, it is because the patterns have become highly specific.   Each technique is described in detail., often with photos.  In fact, it is quite common now to have links to on-line tutorials within the pattern.  One of the things I have noticed is that it is becoming rare to have instructions like “knit as for right sleeve, reversing all shapings”; instead we now have detailed instructions for both sides.  Furthermore, instead of instructions like:

  • Keeping stitches in established pattern, bind off 3 st each end every other row 6 (8, 10, 12) times at shoulder edge; AT THE SAME TIME, decrease 1 st every row at neck edge 4 (6, 4, 6) times, then every other row 5 (7, 10, 8) times.

patterns now will often have these instructions laid out row by row, so that each row of the knitting for the entire garment (or at least the parts where any shaping takes place) is given its own set of instructions.  The thing I have found really striking lately is the tendency for designers to lay out instructions for each size separately.  Jared Flood, of Brooklyn Tweed fame, recently wrote this about his design, Rift (you can find the full discussion here):

Pattern writing and grading on this piece was definitely a hard nut to crack! Since the shoulder details would have specific idiosyncrasies based on the size of the finished garment, no specific set of rules or written instructions worked very well. So I opted for the more “bespoke” route of charting out the front and back yokes for each individual size. The end result included 6 total sizes with finished chest measurements ranging from 39.25” to 59.25” [….] The pattern is quite long as a result, but don’t be fooled—most of the pages are charts for additional sizes and you’ll only need to print the two that pertain to yours.

I love Jared’s use of the term “bespoke” route for capturing this way of writing out patterns.  While Rift is no doubt complicated and the pattern is bound to be extremely clear (Brooklyn Tweed patterns in my experience are excellent), this method – of writing detailed instructions for each size – is now being used frequently by designers, sometimes for rather straightforward designs where it is clearly unnecessary.   My project bags now have pages and pages of pattern in them – I have to flip constantly from one page to the next.  (This problem is not solved by having the pattern on an electronic device; you still have to scroll up and down through the scores of pages.)  I also have little need for a pencil these days – since all of my scribblings and calculations have now all been done for me and charted in infinite detail, there is little for me to take note of.

There are many reasons behind this explosion of pattern length.  Here are a few of them:

  1. Self-publishing.  Designers used to mostly have their patterns published in a knitting magazine;  these publications would have established formats for pattern writing which the designer would adhere to.  Once self-publishing came to the fore, designers had the opportunity to establish their own formats and layouts.  They also had to compete to stand out from all of the other designers.  One way to do this was to provide lots of content – photos, tutorials, charts, schematics, etc.  (I am a big fan of both charts and schematics.)   If you are a designer, it is in your best interests to be as clear as possible on every front.  Sometimes, this means being overly explicit about everything.
  2. Money. When you buy a single pattern download for much the same price as you can buy a knitting magazine with 30 patterns in it, you want to get your money’s worth.  It’s human nature to feel that a 10-page pattern for $7.20 is a better deal than a 3-page pattern for the same price. (At least until you’ve read them.)  Knitters want to feel as if the product justifies the price, and designers respond to that.
  3. Sizing. Another trend recently (and a very good one) is that knitting patterns now come in a much larger range of sizes.  A pattern which is written in three sizes (S, M, L) will look much neater on the page and will be infinitely shorter and easier to read than a pattern which is written in 10 sizes.  Many designers have started writing out separate instructions for different ranges of sizes for clarity’s sake and ease of reading.  This can only be a good thing.

What do I think of all of this?   I find I have rather ambiguous feelings about this trend.  On the one hand, having detailed and explicit instructions makes it easier for beginners to take up their needles and tackle interesting projects.  It saves us from hours of ripping and trial and error.  Even the most experienced knitter doesn’t alway want to think out every step in detail.  If it’s all worked out for me in advance, then I can multi-task – knitting while reading, watching TV, chatting, having a glass of wine, etc..   If I wanted to spend hours doing the math, I could just design everything myself, right?

On the other hand, I think I am a better knitter because of all of the intense thought and concentration some of those early patterns forced me into.  I think I “read” my knitting better.  I think I learned how to “fit” a garment better.  I get a kick out of the intellectual challenge.  (Don’t get me wrong – I am not talking about patterns which are full of mistakes and typos – I hate those!  I am talking about the level of explicitness entailed in the pattern.)  And although laying it all out makes it easier on many levels, flipping the pages back and forth can be annoying.  In fact sometimes the sheer length of a pattern is so daunting that I can’t get past that to see how well-structured it may be.

I think that some of the ambiguity I feel derives from the grumbly professor in me: I believe that there is value in figuring some things out for yourself.  I never want to give my students the answer; I want them to derive it for themselves.  My job is to give them the tools they need, and also to make it interesting.   Perhaps a great pattern has this in common with a great lecture – they should both inspire one to think.  On the other hand, I can’t abide obtuseness – I love a pattern which is simultaneously explicit and concise.

I think that this discussion reflects the tension between the process knitter in me and the product knitter.  As a process knitter, I enjoy “getting my hands dirty” so to speak.  I like to figure things out.  I don’t want it to be easy.  When I am in full process mode, ripping gives me a little thrill (yes, I admit it, even if it is insane).  I love the concentration, the endless calculations, the counting.  On the other hand, as a product knitter, I want to make a garment that fits, and I want to wear it now, not some time next year after I get all the kinks worked out.  When I am in full product mode, ripping is agony – it just slows me down.  In this case what I want are very explicit instructions with no margin for error.   I think most of us fit somewhere on the spectrum between process and product.  However, I think we all tend to “bounce” a bit between the two ends – and where I sit on any one day determines how much detail I want in the pattern.

What about you?  Have you noticed the explosion in pattern pages?  Do you like it?  Does it drive you crazy?  Do you think I’m crazy?  Inquiring knitters want to know…..

Pattern Radar July 2015

It’s been a while since my last Pattern Radar post.  These are semi-regular posts in which I highlight patterns which have caught my attention.  Normally, when I write one of these, my “favorites” box is overfilling with new and interesting patterns; this time not so much.   In any case, here are the ones that have lately caught my eye.

I really love the geometry in this cabled pullover called Allium by Nick Atkinson for Yarn Stories:

© Nick Atkinson

© Nick Atkinson

Combined with the lovely green (I am a sucker for green), this one definitely sparked my interest.  I think this would look fabulous on a very shapely person, and would also impart a beautiful silhouette to a slim, willowy person.

I like the drape and swinginess (is that a word?) of this lovely pullover by Maria Chiba:

© Fairmount Fibers

© Fairmount Fibers

I like the ease of it, and can imagine wearing it in a pale shimmery silky grey, on a breezy summer evening, while sipping prosecco.  Called Oxidar, you can find it here.

I adore Shifter by Julia Gunther:

© Julia Günther

© Julia Günther

I must be really attracted to this kind of shaping with ribbing; you can see it in the lovely Audrey which I knit for my daughter Emma, and also in the shapings of the ribbing for my Escher cardigan.  I think this example is very sophisticated but also casual and fun at the same time.  I would even overcome my zipper trepidation to knit this pullover.

I have a fondness for classics, and this one really does it for me:

© Knitscene/Harper Point

© Knitscene/Harper Point

This is the Hyannis Port Pullover by Cecily Glowik MacDonald from Knitscene Fall 2015.  I think it is beautifully designed and proportioned; I would wear this all the time if I had it.  I also love the styling and the photo shoot.  (We should ask: Why aren’t there more women of colour in knitting pattern releases?  Designers and pattern producers seem to be labouring under the impression that we want all sweaters displayed on young, slim, white women.)  Here is another fabulous photo from this shoot:

© Knitscene/Harper Point

© Knitscene/Harper Point

I don’t think of myself as a poncho person (I remember vividly too many hideous ponchos from the 70s), but I must admit that I find this one kind of cute:

© Anders Schønnemann

© Anders Schønnemann

It really has a casual chic vibe to it.  It is called Ella, and is designed by Lene Holme Samsøe and published in Perfectly Feminine Knits.

Here is another one from Yarn Stories; it is called Sloop and designed by Amada Crawford:

© Amanda Crawford

© Amanda Crawford

I have some very pretty grey silk merino blend yarn in my stash that would work really well for this.  I am considering knitting up a swatch and seeing if Emma is interested.  This is another example of casual chic, with good details and classic lines.

I am usually not a fan of triangular shawls, but this one is really striking.  I also completely love the photo, which is pretty much perfect:

© Justyna Lorkowska

© Justyna Lorkowska

The pattern is called Seiklus Shawlette and it is designed by Justyna Lorkowska.  It is pretty irresistable in this grey and would also be lovely in black (though it would take a brave knitter – or one with much younger eyes – to knit this in black).

I love the designs of Tin Can Knits, the designing duo otherwise known as Alexa Ludeman and Emily Wessel.  They recently both gave birth to baby boys and released a pattern collection of adorable baby knits.  I can usually resist baby knits, but this pattern really stands out.  I would invent a baby to knit Peanut:

© Tin Can Knits

© Tin Can Knits

And while we are on the topic of kids, Kate Davies and Jen Arnall-Culliford recently released some down-sized versions of their adult sweaters, Bluebells and Bruton.  Called Wee Bluebells and Wee Bruton, they can be found in Cross Country Knitting, Volume Two.

© Cross Country Knitting

© Cross Country Knitting

For some wonderful photos, and close-ups of the sweaters themselves, I recommend you read Kate’s post (actually, I recommend you read all of Kate’s posts – I never miss one).

That’s it for this edition of Pattern Radar.  Happy knitting, everyone!

Pattern, recipe or inspiration?

I have been thinking lately about how we use knitting patterns; they can be used as a pattern, a recipe or an inspiration.  These terms represent points on a continuum and thus can be rather fluid.  Two questions particularly interest me:

  1. What are the boundaries or tipping points?  For example, when does a pattern become an inspiration?  How much do you have to personalize a pattern before it becomes something else?
  2. How does one appropriately attribute those projects that fall on the boundaries?

Part of the reason I am thinking about this now is because of the project I am currently working on.  I am knitting a turtleneck pullover with Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Tart.  I usually start a project by picking a pattern that appeals and then finding the yarn.  In this case, I started with the yarn – 4 skeins of the Tart – and a gap in my wardrobe.  Specifically, because I’ve put on some weight, all of my pullovers are too tight and too short.  I wanted a pullover that fit properly and that could be dressed up or down.  I wanted it to look good at the office with a pencil skirt or out hiking with my jeans and boots.  I spent some time (I will admit – I spent a lot of time) pouring over patterns and finally came up with the Lightweight Pullover by Hannah Fettig.  Here is the pattern photo:

copyright Quince & Co

copyright Quince & Co

It’s hard to tell from the photo but the waistband is ribbed as are the sleeve cuffs.  I am not quite finished with mine – the body is knit but one sleeve is about half done, and the other about a third done.  If you look at the most current progress photo below, you can see that mine doesn’t really look that much like the pattern photo.

IMG_0717

Part of this is for obvious reasons – mine has less ease, more fitted sleeves, is longer, and the waistband is in seed stitch instead of rib.  The choice of yarn also changes the look of the sweater quite a bit – the Madelinetosh Light doesn’t have the halo of the angora blend called for in the pattern.  But as it turns out, the reasons for my pondering have more to do with how I used the pattern – namely, not much at all.

Let me be specific.  I choose the pattern and then I bought the pattern.  I decided which size to knit, looked at the pattern and it said to cast on x-many stitches and knit 9 inches for the turtleneck before starting raglan increases.  I cast on the stitches and knit 9 inches and started raglan increases.  But, here is the crucial bit – since looking at the pattern initially to see how the turtleneck was made, I have not looked at it again.  The truth is that the pattern is for a very basic raglan construction, and I don’t need a pattern to make a raglan sweater.  What I do is try the thing on frequently, look at it critically in the mirror and decide what needs to be done.  Is it the right length to divide off the sleeves?  Do I need more waist decreases?  Where is my natural waist?  Does it flare enough over the hips?  It doesn’t occur to me to check the pattern because I am making it to fit ME and to please ME and I have two eyes and can see how it fits and adjust it accordingly.

I am pretty sure that my sweater is between the sizes offered by the pattern though I haven’t checked.  The seed stitch, too, is an innovation.  When I was knitting the body of the sweater I was in South Africa.  I didn’t bring the pattern with me and had limited access to the internet.  I couldn’t recall what the original pattern looked like, but decided that I would make a turned hem because I wanted a neater, more professional look for the sweater – so that it had a bit more polish, like a blouse.  After agonizing over it for a while, I decided to knit an inch or two of seed stitch as an experiment and see what I thought.  As it turns out, I liked it so it stayed.  (Now that I’ve seen the progress photos, I’m thinking of going back and adding another inch of seed stitch at the hips.)

Hannah Fettig is a very popular designer whose patterns are extremely well-written. Hannah was at the leading end of a recent trend towards finer-gauged yarns in sweaters.  She has a perfect eye and many of her designs are on my wish list.  Some of them are very unique and clever, and others are extremely well-executed classics.  This one falls into the latter category and is why I felt confident doing it my way.

Now let’s look at the question of attribution.  On Ravelry, you link to the pattern page for any pattern you use.  At some point not too long ago, Ravelry realized that many people incorporated certain parts of patterns into a finished piece, or merged two or more patterns into one.  They introduced an option: one can either link to a pattern (thus essentially saying “I knit this pattern”) or one can say that the project “incorporates” a pattern (thus saying “I used bits or pieces of this pattern within another pattern”).  When I started the project entry for my turtleneck, I linked to Hannah’s pattern.  At some point, I started to think that perhaps my project deviates from the original enough to say that it “incorporates” the Lightweight Pullover pattern.  I actually changed the Ravelry entry, changing the Name of the project to “Turtle in Tart” and acknowledging Hannah’s pattern using the “incorporates” option.  I also included notes to outline how I made it, so that someone can replicate it if they wish.   To refer back to the title of this post, I essentially moved it from pattern, to either recipe or inspiration.  I must admit to being undecided about this – I have changed it back and forth a few times in the last few days, and it is likely to end up linked as pattern.

Let’s take another example, which I think contrasts quite well with this one.  In the spring of 2013, I knit the following sweater:

IMG_6309_medium2

IMG_6321_medium2

The pattern I used was called Livvy, designed by Tori Gurbisz.  Here is the pattern photo for Tori’s design:

8482082957_9555cab5d0_z

As you can see, I changed this pattern as well.  I detailed all of the changes I made on this blog.   I made it much shorter, put in hems at the hip and cuffs, and made the sweater curvier, with more negative ease built in but also more pairs of waist decreases.  I think that my Livvy looks dramatically different from the pattern – much more so than my Lightweight Pullover looks from its pattern.  In fact, the types of changes I made are very similar in both sweaters – changing the length, the ease, and the sleeve cuffs and bottom edgings.   However, it would never have occurred to me to use an “incorporates” option in Tori’s pattern.  This is partly because Livvy has some very unique features, which I have utilized, which are instantly identifiable as Livvy.   So why have I wavered about the attribution of one and not the other?

On reflection, the underlying difference between these two cases has to do with the math.  To make the Livvy sweater, I used all of Tori’s numbers as a basis for my own calculations.  In knitting the Turtle in Tart, I didn’t use Hannah’s numbers, essentially ignoring all of the math and calculating my own numbers as I knit.  Thus the former “feels” like I followed a pattern and the latter doesn’t. Looking at the photos, you can see that the end results are very similar – a project based on a lovely pattern that has been “tweaked” to fit my curvier body and my style.  The only real difference is whether I used the numbers or not.   But perhaps this distinction is odd or outmoded.  Is it math that makes the pattern?  Or is it vision?  And, if it’s math, does it still “count” the same now that most numbers are generated by software?  I don’t think there is any right answer here.  (I suspect that both math and vision count, though, depending on the sweater, and perhaps on the knitter, one may be more dominant than the other.)   Many knitters are now using Amy Herzog’s CustomFit, in which they can basically input specifics of a pattern they like and it will generate the maths specifically for their body.  The resulting project is usually attributed to both the original pattern and the CustomFit programme.  (CustomFit also generates a selection of “classic” designs to fit.)   To me the important facts for my two projects discussed here are that (1) I paid for both patterns, and (2) I acknowledged both designers.

There are many related issues I haven’t even begun to get into here, and I have been trying to keep to the issue of how patterns are used, and where one draws the line between following a pattern, using it as a recipe, or being inspired by one.  (That said, I recently came across a funny case.  Someone had seen a sweater worn by a certain celebrity baby, and reverse-engineered it.  She then “published” the pattern.  Later, she became incensed that other knitters were knitting the sweater without attributing her pattern.  Someone asked, very reasonably and politely, why she believed that no one else would be able to reverse-engineer it as well.  After all, if she had done it, thousands of other knitters could have as well.  She responded – in an increasingly snippy and clueless way – that there was no need for anyone else to reverse-engineer it because she had already done so! She was completely unable to see that someone else could have knit it without using her pattern, or that someone might not have seen or had access to her pattern.  I must admit to finding the discussion fascinating.)

What do you think?  When is a pattern not a pattern?  Does it matter?  Is anyone else fascinated by these types of questions?  Have I been adversely affected by writing a philosophy grant this week?  Can I use British spelling conventions and still say “math”?  Maybe I should get to work on those sleeves…..

Wish List – today’s version

I belong to a wonderful group on Ravelry in which we have a yearly goal of twelve adult sweaters a year.  I’ve been part of this group for quite a few years now, and I have never managed to knit twelve sweaters in a year.  This year, I have so far only finished three (!) and the odds of my hitting four are steadily diminishing.  I am not alone in this regard, however – the group consists of some incredibly productive knitters who hit their goal of twelve within the first six months of the year, others who challenge themselves and struggle to reach twelve, and many others who know they will never actually accomplish that much knitting, but love the group anyway.  I have looked at every sweater posted by each member of this group for at least four years now.  They are an incredibly nice and inspiring group of knitters.

One of my favorite parts of the year is in late November and December when group members start posting their wish lists for the following year.  Some people are so organized – they list each sweater in order, and already know exactly which yarn they will use for each project.  (Often, they already have the yarn for each sweater lined up and waiting to go.)  Some have very vague ideas of what they what to knit and say things like “a warm cardigan” or “something to match my blue dress”.  Some can’t decide and have dozens of options.  I love these posts in part because I can find new patterns and see which patterns are trending.  Mostly I love them because there is a heady kind of optimism in the process.  Maybe you only managed two sweaters this year, but next year is a clean slate – you can be as practical or as unrealistic as you like.

I have spent the last week thinking a bit about my Wish List.  It is certainly a flight of fantasy as I will never have enough time to knit them all.  It also changes every time I think about it – I suppose I am a rather fickle knitter.  Here, for your benefit, I present today’s version of my 2015 Knitting Wish List.  It is bound to change within minutes.

Since I knit as much for my family as for me, I have picked out 3 sweaters for each of us.  We will start with me, because a Wish List should be selfish.

1. This year, I feel drawn to simplicity.  I want garments that are easy and have good drape, that look comfortable but also have inate style.  It could be because I have put on weight this year and all my clothes feel tight.  Whatever the reason, my Wish List for me is all about easy, like Wake by Veronik Avery for BT Fall 14.

copyright Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood

copyright Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood

2. I love Pente, by Carol Feller.  I have a favorite cashmere cardigan (purchased) that has roughly this shape, which I have worn pretty much to death for the last 10 years or so.  And I just managed to leave it behind somewhere in South Africa!  Definitely time for a snuggly, big, cozy cardigan to throw on with my jeans.

copyright Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood

copyright Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood

 

3. I’ve already bought the pattern for Soyokaze, designed by yellowcosmo for the lovely e-magazine Amirusu. Although I love it in grey, I will most likely go for a strong jewel colour, maybe green.

copyright Amirisu

copyright Amirisu

 

4. While I am attracted to ease and comfort right now, Emma loves a bit of tailoring.  This is Touch by Kim Hargreaves.  I think she’d like it.

copyright Kim Hargreaves

copyright Kim Hargreaves

 

5.  I love knitting warm, cozy, fall and winter sweaters.  But summer knitting can be nice too.  The Belgravia Tee, designed by Robin Melanson, is super elegant and it just says “Emma” to me.

copyright Knitscene/Harper Point Photography

copyright Knitscene/Harper Point Photography

 

6. This is the Cable Round Sweater by Linda Marveng.  It would look great on Emma.  I like the versatility of the matching cowl; it makes this more like having two sweaters in one.

© Eivind Røhne

© Eivind Røhne

 

7. I like the look of the Flyaway Hoodie by Joji Locatelli for Leah.  It is knit in Malabrigo and would be so cozy.

 

copyright Joji

copyright Joji

 

8. Ness, by the amazing Marie Wallin, is a knockout sweater.  I love it.  If Leah doesn’t want one, I’ll knit it for me:

 

copyright Rowan Yarns 2014

copyright Rowan Yarns 2014

 

9. Here is another one which I think would suit Leah, and would also be fun to knit.  Behind my Back, by Justyna Lorkowska, is a plain crew neck in the front, but the back is a surprise of beautiful lace.

copyright Marcin Duda

copyright Marcin Duda

 

10.  I think that Doug needs some vests.  (This has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I hate knitting sleeves.)  In fact, he should have two, a rustic one and a snazzy one.  Here is the rustic: Laredo by Angela Hahn.

copyright Jamie Dixon

copyright Jamie Dixon

11. And here is the snazzy one: Machrihanish by Kate Davies.  It combines the traditions of fair isle with a very modern sensibility.  I love it.

copyright Kate Davies Designs

copyright Kate Davies Designs

 

12. Last, but not least, here is a new one.  This pattern, Quiver by Megh Testerman, was just released this week in the new Twist Collective edition.

 

copyright Crissy Jarvis

copyright Crissy Jarvis

Quick!  I must publish this before I change my mind again!  Admit it, dear reader, you need a Wish List too!