rope. tree. fan. spear. snake. wall.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

just checking in

Because egad, has it really been three weeks since I posted? Yike.

Okay, so I've been test knitting a scarf for a friend, and I can't post photos yet. I bound that one off today, just in time to frog Zur Lederhos'n and re-start it; it was on hiatus while the designer worked out some kinks, and she ended up redesigning it from stitch one, so we're all starting over. I liked the old pattern fine, but I like this one better, so I'm happy.

I've written up a bare-bones Aliénor pattern and sent it off to test-knitters, but I can see that the pattern needs more detail and more pictures, so I'll be doing that as soon as I stop finding excuses not to, basically. I've activated my Ravelry store, I think, but haven't tried it out yet, so I'm also planning to re-publish my other patterns as free Ravelry downloads. Mostly I'm stalling, but I was just in Utrecht and was very busy and productive for four days, so maybe I can keep being busy and productive until it's a habit. That would be nice.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Pattern Angst

You know, clothes used to fit much better. Before factories were built to churn out sewn-together rectangles that more or less fit most people, pretty much, there were seamstresses and tailors who made clothing to fit the body that would actually be wearing it, not some clearly defined yet potentially non-existent "average."

Now, part of the reason we knit is to make things to fit our own selves, or our best beloveds (or someone we owe a favor, I guess). This is what I did with Aliénor. I took very good notes, so I could tell you, stitch for stitch, exactly how I made it, and then there you'd be, gauge permitting, with a sweater that fits me perfectly - then you can email me for my postal address and send it to me, thanks! But if you want to make it for someone other than me, or someone shaped exactly like me, well, that's trickier. Marnie MacLean has a spreadsheet tutorial for figuring out different sizes, but it still operates on assumptions like "if your bust is x, then your waist is y, and your armhole depth must be z." Speaking as someone who has to buy tops and bottoms in different sizes (and usually buys jeans from the men's department), I'm gonna have to call doubtsies. This is why I'm a big fan of Karen Alfke's Unpatterns.

Then, too, a lot of knitters are people who sew, or used to, and their patterns reflect that way of thinking: knit up a bunch of pieces of fabric and sew them together. That's not how I think. And of course we're all used to patterns from magazines and books, where they have to keep things as brief as possible due to printing costs. Also not how I think: I usually have to re-write those patterns before I can use them.

So I'm writing up this you-do-the-math pattern, and it reads like an essay, all blurry stuff like "where you think the armpit should be," and "until it's long enough," not like "knit 32 [36, 40, 44, 48]..." And what I really don't want is for people to say "ZOMG this pattern SUCKS!" because it's not what they're used to.

So I think I'll need some test-knitters.

Friday, February 06, 2009

having a Sally Field moment

Wow. People like my sweater. I'm... surprised and gratified. Yes I will definitely write up a pattern, at some point. I'm going over the page proofs for my husband's next book, and we're on a deadline that is made shorter by the fact that the proofs have to be mailed to and from the U.S. So that's taking most of my time right now.

And... well, you've seen my other patterns, they're a bit haphazard, a bit stream-of-consciousness. I don't really know how to write a pattern well enough to sell it - if people pay for something, they expect it to be really good, and I am no Marnie MacLean (seriously, the woman is a genius; how does she DO that!?). I'd have to figure out how to knit the sweater in 10 sizes, and ack.

So those are the major obstacles, and I am thinking a lot about how to get around the second one. The first one, I know what to do: get back to work!