Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Finished objects

Isn't it wonderful when you find odd balls of wool that you'd forgotten you had and think: hmmm, what can I make with this...? I'd found the 200g of green Silk Embrace, a (now discontinued) luxury alpaca/silk mix chunky, and the self striping Mochi Plus aran on Saturday, so between the craft market on Sunday and coming back to work today, I finished these three.
 The red mittens are made in chunky acrylic and are a prototype from a guesswork pattern which needed tweaking before the following pair, so if you know any men with medium sized hands but very, very long thumbs, I have just the pair of fingerless gloves for them.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

This is what multiple fudges look like...

I changed the stitch; I changed the yarn; I coped with the wrong end-of-row stitch counts; I fielded what seemed to me some very weird ways of doing fairly ordinary things; I inserted commonsense where instructions were missing. And it still
looks like a jumper. Luckily it's for charity so size wasn't an issue. I'm throwing the pattern away now.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Patterns and errors

It's probably a toss up which is more annoying to knitters: knots in wool or errors in patterns. We're told that three knots in a ball of wool is the acceptable industry standard, altho' I'm not sure the industry's ever run that by a group of knitters. (Justification is that without the knots the wool would be way more expensive.)

Anyway, I don't really know why I'm saying that seeing as I know nothing about it. On the other hand, I have lots of experience of mistakes in patterns. What do you do when you find an error? Sometimes you can easily work it out for yourself. Or you can fudge it; I'm a pretty good fudger. You could go online and see if there are any published errata. You can look on ravelry at the finished projects and see if other people had the same problem and how they solved it. Or you can post in the ravelry Patterns forum for advice. If all that fails, you can contact the designer, either through ravelry or via any other means you have.

So, when I had a problem last night with a pattern - having gone through all the other possibilities above first - that's what I did. I sent a polite rav message asking a very simple question. I got a quick polite answer referring me to Rowan, as, altho' the designer had designed the jumper, Rowan had published the pattern in one of their collections so the responsibility for problems was theirs. Well, no point in contacting Rowan seeing as I'm (legitimately) not using the yarn of theirs that the pattern was intended for. And that got me thinking.

Following the money trail, which sadly is what this is all about, I'm guessing this is how it worked. The designer was presumably paid by Rowan to design the jumper. Then Rowan published the pattern as one of their own. So, the designer was paid but got no further cash from ongoing pattern sales; Rowan paid the designer for designing the pattern and then kept the payments from sales. (This is, as I said, all guesswork...) So they've both had their financial reward for their own parts in the pattern production, but it seems that, although I paid for my 'free' copy through the subscription I had at the time to Let's Knit, (who put it in one of their supplements), when a problem's found in the pattern there's no one to help. Doesn't seem right, does it?

I have some sympathy with the designer - why should she support patterns she's assigned to Rowan? And this pattern's fairly old now - how long should designers be obliged to offer support anyway? (This pattern appears on the designer's rav page so I'd say at least as long as they list it among their accomplishments, but that's just a personal opinion.) I have some sympathy with Rowan - I'm not using their yarn and, from their point of view, I got the pattern for nothing.

Okay, I can manage without help but what about the hapless buyer who doesn't regard a pattern as necessarily supporting a particular yarn. For many knitters a pattern is just a stand alone purchase - they're not interested in anything beyond whether it's for DK or aran. And really, why should they be? If there's a mistake, it's a mistake, whatever kind of wool you're using.

This is what really struck me though. On various ravelry forums, wool shop owners are encouraged to help everyone who comes through the door with a problem, no matter where they bought their supplies or whether they've ever darkened the shop doors previously. It's good to help people, I personally like a bit of problem solving and, from a business point of view, there's always the hope that if you treat people nicely they'll come back and buy something. The equivalent for me would've been that designer just taking a minute or two to say either: yes, it's a mistake, just try adding a few more stitches to the buttonhole band, or alternatively: nope, you've misunderstood this bit here which is where all your problems started. I'm sure it would've been a really quick fix for her and would've left both of us with that warm glow of gratuitous helpfulness. And then, in future when I saw her patterns, instead of thinking: well, I'm not using that because there were issues with the last one I knitted and she wouldn't help me, I'd think: yippee, this designer's so nice, I'll buy this one because I know if I come to grief she'll help me.

Monday, 4 May 2015


Finished my cushion. And it doesn't matter that no one else likes it - I do!

Monday, 27 April 2015

Ravelry designers

Do you ever search ravelry by designer name? I never used to until I realised that if I liked one pattern by a designer, chances were I'd like other patterns designed by that same person. That was how I stumbled across Atelier Alfa, who has designed many wonderful things including the 3-in-1 jumper, now on my list for the very near future.

Try it: search for jumpers or jackets or baby shoes or anything really, and instead of just scrolling through page after page, note who designed the items you particularly like and then search again just for items designed by that person. It opens up your search to the whole range of garments/items, but all with the same type of look that you like.

It's a different way of using ravelry and can be much more satisfying.

(Some other favourites of mine, in case you're interested, would be TinCanKnits, Isabell Kraemer, and Ankestrick, although I'm sure there are many more fab ones.)

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Basket case

We have many, many baskets in our house...baskets of all shapes and sizes for not only laundry and the usual stuff, but for underwear and toiletries, for miscellaneous materials and assorted items.  So I thought it would be a splendid idea to fill the old pine tv stand we have with a neat line of rectangular baskets, each holding a separate WIP. How organised and appealing would that be? Very, was my thought. And it looked lovely for about a week until the number of WIPs crept up and my neat rows of baskets became hidden under a pile of excess-WIP-storing carriers and odd balls of wool, needles without partners and the knitting mill which doesn't have a home of its own.

So I needed more storage and it couldn't be in basket format unless I was going to pile them two or three deep, which I could've done, but then the basket above would likely snag the knitting in the basket below. So I indulged in these. Well, I say 'indulged', but they cost £3.95 full price and I got them in a sale, so there wasn't much indulging going on. Children's lunch boxes, but so just the right size for a small project, plus
they're easy to carry about or shove in your bag, and they zip up, and when they're not in use they'll fold flat for storage. I have no idea when they might not be in use. I have two spare, which means that anytime now I'm going to start two new projects.

I got these online from dotcomgiftshop, but I'm sure other lunchbox vendors are available.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Daffodil time

I thought if we're going to make daffodils in early May, I'd better re-familiarise myself with the pattern - these are what I've managed so far. Of course, making the trumpet for the true daffy in mohair was a big mistake; it's too dirty a yellow and too heavy for the bend in the stalk straw which means upright and unsupported it tends to droop like the odd one or two saddo flowers you always seem to get in a supermarket bunch. A lesson learned. And I should've made that one in all yellow. Obviously I should - why am I only thinking of that now? Another lesson learned. The other one - the more narcissussy one - is pretty, but I should've joined the yellow part with an overstitch rather than a bulky back seam.

So, by 2nd May I'll be well-versed in the pattern and ready to advise.

Who's coming along?