Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Why I don't "design"

Yes, it's actual knitting-related content. Don't faint, please.

I very often knit "off pattern". Either I start with a pattern and make modifications (add cables, add lace, change sleeve length, etc) or I knit the pattern in a different way (e.g., work a sock toe-up instead of cuff down) or I just plain knit from scratch (mostly purses, blankets and hats).

I have made a number of things according to a pattern. Usually if I don't make changes it is because I am getting gauge the pattern calls for and I don't want to do the math required to make the changes I would make otherwise. There are also times (especially with sweaters) that I really like a pattern as much as something I could design myself, and with a complicated garment, design is a lot of work. Oh, and lace. I have no desire to do all the work required to design lace. (This is why most of the knitting pattern books I own are of sweaters and lace!)

The current baby sweater I'm working on (and can't really talk too much about) is based on a sweater pattern I've made several times before, but with the addition of a lace pattern. In essence I'm just replacing the stockinette with lace, but as I'm working the decreases there are decisions to be made on each row about how to integrate the lace pattern and the decreases. In order to share the "pattern" for this sweater with anyone else, I would need to be charting the raglan shaping as I go. But I don't want to do that. I just want to knit and figure it out as I go. (The raglan decreases have been the most fun part of the knitting so far, actually - lots of thinking on my feet and figuring out how the lace pattern works.)

The story is similar for several purses and blankets that I've designed. I enjoy the process of figuring it out as I go. And once I'm finished with the item, I'm done. I have no desire to sit down and try to write the pattern.

So I'm sorry to report that I will never be posting the pattern for the baby poncho, the joyce carol oats puppet or anything else that I've created. I try to take good photos so that there is some chance that I could reconstruct my work in the future if I really wanted to and I have great respect for those who share or sell knitting patterns...but I won't be joining their ranks anytime soon.

Maybe when I'm retired. :-)


Amanda said...

I think recording every decision made is far more tedious than actually figuring out what you need to do to make something work. Having invented Mo's sweater, that Aran blanket, and changing a cabled headband into a full hat I have always imagined I could design... until it came down to writing out what I did. So I second your thoughts on this topic.

Anna said...

Oh my gosh, I had never seen that Joyce Carol Oates puppet before. I LOVE it.