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October 4, 2011 / Gillian

Day 5: Picky Picky Pattern Picker

How long does it take a normal knitter to pick a pattern?  Really, I’d like to know.

Through the magic of Ravelry I can use their fantastic and amazing search engine to specify the tiniest detail of a project.  Usually I make my parameters too narrow and then I overcompensate by widening the search parameters so I have to look through hundreds of patterns.  I’m picky.  My pickiness is probably 90% of my motivation for designing.

Take for example the sweater conundrum.  This wouldn’t be the Alice, this is a different sweater.  This is my Dad’s Christmas present.  Last year, in approximately late November, my Dad mentioned to my Mom that it would be neat if I would knit him a sweater.  Clearly, my Dad has no idea what goes into knitting a sweater let alone how much it costs to make one especially for a man with a belly as big as his.  Let it suffice to say that said sweater did not get made last year.  This year I have it in my To-Knit-For-Christmas list.  At the beginning of September when, as has become my tradition, I begin Christmas knitting I started poking around for a pattern.  The general plan was something not too busy, maybe with some light cabling.  I’d have preferred a free pattern, but for my Dad and for Christmas I was willing to purchase one.  So the search began.

Oh, and also, I wanted something knit in the round and not a pattern that I’d have to convert to knitting in the round.  I find it quite literally shocking the number of pieces that aren’t knit in the round when that is completely possible.  I simply do not understand why in any world a person would want to knit a bunch of pieces flat and then seam them together when they have the completely viable alternative of knitting something in one piece…or almost one piece.  Obviously any sweater is going to involve breaking yarn somewhere, but making the entire front and back flat pieces?  Really?  Do I actually have to do that?  No.  I don’t.

After entering my parameters I poked around a found a very nice finished piece and the pattern was knit flat and seamed together but I thought, you know what, I’m going to do it anyway.  I need seaming practice because honestly, the reason I don’t do it much is that I’m not very good at it.  I bought yarn and I swore that I was going to do it.  Hell, I even started it.  From second one I was bored stiff.  I hated it.  If I converted the pattern to do it in the round I’d have probably been able to manage, but my Christmas rule is that I don’t do patterns that make me want to tweak.  Christmas gives me enough to worry about without spending all my time rewriting patterns.

Sweater one, scrapped.

I found another pattern, this one was in the round and again, very simple.  Too tedious.  Have you ever gotten into a spiral that you just refuse to admit what you really want to do?  My husband and I get in this game of chicken over picking what we want for dinner sometimes, especially when going out to eat is involved.  We’re both making a concerted effort to eat better so sometimes when we want to get take out or fast food we each will refuse to admit it and wait for the other to suggest it.  Eventually we look each other in the eye and almost always simultaneously say the same restaurant.  No joke.  I feel like that with patterns except there’s no one to play chicken with but myself.

Eventually I finally just got down with the fact that if I’m going to make a sweater for my Dad I want it to be something really impressive otherwise what’s the point.  I could buy my dad a boring ribbed sweater and it would definitely cost me less money.  So what I settled on was a really fantastic Irish cable knit sweater, which I feel is totally appropriate because my Dad is half Irish.  It is going to be completely spectactular.  Here’s a little taste…

I’m further along than the picture shows.  I’ll probably take an updated photo once I finish the sleeves.  In any case, I guess the point is that it took me a month to decide on this pattern so what I’m pondering is whether I’m highly indecisive or just stupidly picky.  How about if I justify the indecision by saying that I love my Dad and I really want to make him an awesome sweater?  Yes.  I think, at least this time, that will be my official explanation.  Next time?  Well, we’ll see.



Leave a Comment
  1. Adrienne Kirkey / Oct 5 2011 9:11 am

    1. It is going to be fantabulous.
    2. You are particular and discriminating, not picky OR indecisive.
    3. Is the pattern knitted in the round (does not look like it from the picture)? Is the pattern available for free somewhere?

    Good luck and I look forward to seeing finished pictures.

    • DrPurloknitz / Oct 5 2011 11:12 am

      Thanks for the thoughts 🙂 This pattern I particularly like because it’s worked top down and it’s in pieces at the top, but once the sleeves are finished it joins into the round from the armpits down. The pattern is the Staghorn Aran Second Edition and it was $6.95, but it’s pretty well written so I felt like it was worth the money.

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