Knitting patterns are only guidelines
March 3, 2015 10:07 PM   Subscribe

The knitware design process [large PDF] has three phases:

1) Fashion research, where information is gathered about how garments will look
2) Design, where the visual and tactile appearance of the garment is designed
3) Sampling, where a design idea is realized as a swatch or as the full finished garment

But what about adapting patterns - a practice that is incredibly common [PDF] in knitting? Good adaptation can be done using careful planning, "knitting math," and by thinking beyond the pattern.

Adapting designs - heck, becoming an expert knitter - is all about understanding context and appreciating design and structure. As Elizabeth Zimmerman (previously) once said, "patterns are only guidelines." In fact, why not just wing it and not use a pattern at all? If you want to try, there are a few tips over on the green.
posted by sockermom (5 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
I think that one of the reasons I liked knitting so much was that it was just like choral singing, which I also happen to be quite good at [preen, preen]. In both cases, everything you need is right in front of you on the page; theoretically, you should have everything you need for a perfect outcome.

Between your skill level and all of the variables involved in putting your personal spin on it, though, a truly perfect outcome is almost never achieved, thus always leaving you satisfied but hoping to do better next time.
posted by St. Hubbins at 10:12 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Fun post! I'm an American who knits Continental (thanks mom) and I don't actually know what I'm doing (dropped stitches == do one on the other side to make it symmetrical). I've kinda decided patterns aren't for me, but I should do a little more research it looks like.

But winging it is fun! My first hat had three corners and a hole, but I wore it anyway until the subway gods claimed it for their own. While knitting my second hat I realized it wasn't going to be big enough, so I managed to knit a patch and get it into the main work before finishing it off. I'm irrationally proud of that one.

The links have led me to Top Down Knitting as a concept which sounds so cool....
posted by travertina at 7:44 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

I mean you can't have Weezer's Undone without Top Down Knitting!
If you want to destroy my sweater
Hold this thread as I walk away
Watch me unravel, I'll soon be naked
Lying on the floor
I've come undone

posted by Emor at 10:22 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm printing a bunch of this out because I'm pondering designing another sweater again....Thank you!!!!
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:40 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

I released my new knitting book today -- mittens inspired by Icelandic textiles. Yay knitting!
posted by at 4:56 PM on March 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

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