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June 06, 2006

Oh Yeah, the Swatch

Warning! Today's post contains mild complaining and may not be appropriate for overly optimistic readers.

Sorry, patient readers, to leave you hanging, wondering about the swatch -- you know, the swatch I knit when I was supposed to be seaming my vest.   I've been a little preoccupied -- okay, obsessed -- with improvisational log cabin knitting.  The swatch, by the way, was for Green Gable -- a top down, raglan, capped sleeve top with a bit of lace in the yoke.  I was eager to knit this top, especially after the last summer's highly successful Tivoli T.  The yarn, June from Nashua, was an easy choice.  Besides being the perfect color, this 100% microfiber yarn has a hint of stretch and knits up beautifully.  Slightly different gauge?  No problem, I'll tweak the pattern.

With calculator, graph paper, and mechanical pencil poised and ready for action, I grabbed the pattern only to be disappointed to find no schematic, no finished sizing, and no bust stitch count.  How am I supposed to even know what I'm knitting?  Still motivated, I did the math to determine how many bust stitches I should have based on the cast on stitches and the yoke increases.  Next, I used the pattern's gauge to convert this stitch count to the finished bust measurement.  You can imagine how shocked I was to find the finished measurement to fit a 36" bust was only 32.8" -- 3.2" of negative ease sent a few alarm bells off.  This may have been the designer's intention, but I know a lot of 36" women who would opt for the next size up -- but how could they when there's no mention of the finished measurement!?  To make a long story short, I abandoned this sinking ship taking the lovely idea of the yoke lace in the life boat and opted to make my own pattern based on the excellent -- and free -- Picovoli pattern.

Modified Picovoli with Green Gable's Yoke Lace -- nice!

The moral of my ode is this... nona's totally happy -- thrilled in fact -- to buy patterns from independent designers.  But if you intend to charge, please make sure you include at least finished size information and total stitch counts so us knitters can make intelligent choices.

June 6, 2006 in Project - Top Down | Permalink


I so agree--I recently had a similar experience, knitting to my bust size only to realize that the designer had factored in a good 3-4 inches of ease, which was waaaay too much for my taste. Sure, it was only a top-down raglan, and easy enough to tinker with--but if I wanted to tinker, I would have just made up my own top-down raglan and not spent the money on a pattern!

Posted by: Ashley | Jun 6, 2006 8:48:03 PM

ugh Ive heard so many bad things about that pattern. It seems that the meaning of "pattern" is taken loosely lately.
that said Im sure your new version is going to be great!

Posted by: yahaira | Jun 6, 2006 9:03:12 PM

Good luck with the modified version! I've got all the finished measurements and schematics your heart desires between Magknits and the Pico page (http://www.grumperina.com/picovoli.htm).

Posted by: grumperina | Jun 6, 2006 9:37:14 PM

You know, so many people have been unhappy with that pattern. Their sizing was all off and for every 1 person that it went right for, it seems 3-4 people had problems with it. It really irritates me to not have the stitch counts on patterns, b/c otherwise it's hard to know if you're on the right path, especially if you need to make adjustments for gauge, even if you were using the recommended yarn. Arrgh. I just finished knitting one and it turned out, but my sleeves are too big. We'll see what happens with it. Knitting the Picovoli with the lace pattern seems like the perfect combination of both patterns. And you know the Grumpster is a perfectionist with her patterns.

Posted by: Wanda | Jun 6, 2006 10:08:32 PM

If I see a pattern on Magknits or Knitty that doesn't have a schematic, I usually pass on it. That's right, I said it: I'm a schematic snob!

I thought about using Turkish stitch or a similar stitch and putting a lace panel on a Tivoli tee, since I liked Green Gables, but heard about the complaints about the pattern. I also wanted to make another Tivoli because I made my first one too big (I upsized it way before Picovoli came out on MagKnits). Good luck, Nona!!

Posted by: Christina | Jun 6, 2006 11:36:27 PM

after all the sizing problems with that pattern, your idea is fabulous. you get the same look without the grief! good for you :)

Posted by: jody | Jun 7, 2006 3:04:12 AM

This is a huge beef I have had with this pattern as well. It is also not really written in standard pattern language either. My GG is almost finished, but is languishing in the bottom of the WIP basket as it needs yet another trip to the frog pond...what I thought would be an easy and satisfying knit (a la Picovoli!) has been a month-long frustrating adventure in frogging.

Posted by: Liz K. | Jun 7, 2006 5:50:45 AM

I'd heard there were problems with that pattern, too. There was a KAL for it but I don't have the link handy.

Posted by: Susan | Jun 7, 2006 7:55:25 AM

nona, all you get is a BIG SMILE from me. 'nough said.

Posted by: gleek | Jun 7, 2006 8:20:53 AM

I'm with you on this one!! I didn't purchase Green Gable - but I did just get their Ms. Marigold pattern. I'll have to take a close look and see what info is and is not there. It was three pages and full of info - so here's hoping. But, absolutely yes, if you charge for a pattern there should be enough information to customize it and fully understand what you are doing. Good for you for finding your own excellent solution!

Posted by: jillian | Jun 7, 2006 8:47:08 AM

Yep, add me to the list of the people who heard about the problems with the pattern... after of course, I bought the pattern. I didn't even think twice about it - I have yarn in the stash for it, and it's cute, and I think I can execute it... And I've yet to encounter a pattern that doesn't have stitch count specifics. So this was a disappointment. There is a knitalong where many knitters have offered very good information, and I was planning on using their info (or just simply figuring out my measurements on my own gauge). But the idea of using Pivocoli as a base is a great idea - I have this pattern printed and in my binder and I had thought of using my Gable yarn for this one too - a perfect solution. Thank you Nona! (And Grumperina!)

Posted by: Aura | Jun 7, 2006 9:13:05 AM

Genius. Pure genius!

Posted by: Patty | Jun 7, 2006 10:08:43 AM

The sweater has captured my attention as it looks so nice but I hadn't heard about the problems. Thanks for the info and I think I'll stick with Picovoli this summer.

Posted by: margene | Jun 7, 2006 1:05:30 PM

I'm halfway through my green gable. When I got to the point where they suggest you try on the sweater to see if the underarms are right I had to laugh. I mean, isn't negative ease generally used to hoist the rack? And they've gone and covered it with lace.

Other than having to upsize it to fit a real woman who doesn't want a display case for the girls, lace covered or otherwise, I can't really say anything bad about the pattern.

Posted by: carlarey | Jun 7, 2006 1:19:28 PM

I recently finished my Green Gable and it turned out fine. I think the reason mine came out OK though is because I had to adjust the pattern to my gauge since I substituted yarn, so it ended up being modified to fit me anyway. It also irritated me that there were no stitch counts or a schematic, but I just figured it out on my own. I agree with you that if you pay for a pattern, it should have all the info you need. Good luck with the lacey Pico....I'm anxious to see how it turns out.

Posted by: Kim | Jun 7, 2006 4:30:46 PM

it doesn't seem worth the $6, that pattern. nona, have you seen the book Knitting Nature? They have some amazing put tricky patterns in there. And it has a lot of math, which you would like. The Cowl sweater has this amazing spiral openwork sleeve.

Posted by: calla | Jun 7, 2006 5:31:58 PM

I love the combination of Picovoli and Green Gables! Earlier this spring I knit Picovoli, which turned out very nice thanks to an excellent pattern.;) Just yesterday I finished Green Gable, with many mods I might add. My GG turned out, but only due to the fact that I added short rows, more waist shaping, and 7 extra stitches at the sleeve join. If I hadn't known how to modify a pattern, GG wouldn't have turned out. My bust is 37" and I made the 36" (32.8" rather!). Thanks to your tips on Japanese short rows, I added 6 of those babies on each side at the bust!

Posted by: Jackie F. | Jun 7, 2006 9:30:09 PM

well, it's tough 'cause there's a real life blogger behind the pattern. but really, the Green Gable pattern is tivoli without the thoughful waist shaping, and careful test knit, judging from the KAL. The lace pattern looked very similar to that in a tank pattern in IK (fall 2006 I think). I resisted the temptation to buy, but it took a lot of will power. The design photo is just so darn cute and lots KAL photos are really good too. All in all, I agree with the above sentiments.

Posted by: jing | Jun 7, 2006 11:08:07 PM

I suspect a lot of the problem isn't that she charged for the pattern but that you couldn't know these problems existed before buying -- so it's internet pattern shopping that's the bear.

As a newbie pattern designer myself, it's good to hear this feedback about someone else's pattern, but I'm awfully glad I didn't design GG and stumble upon this blog entry (or the knitalong, for that matter!).

I dunno... I'm just as irked by finding out that patterns are lame as the next knitter, but we have such at tendency to blame the seller rather than taking a look at why we jumped to buy something in the first place. Did I fall for the marketing? (that is, the great picture?) Did I consider whether the seller is an experience designer?

I hope no one will think I'm being sanctimonious, I promise it's not intentional, but it just feels bad to me to read a long list of people complaining about someone else's work. Oh but that's the hazzard of blogland, I know... And this particular case does seem egregious!

(okay, I'm going to post this before I wimp out and delete!)

And I'm going to go write down dimensions to add to the pattern I wrote for the shop, coincidentally in Nashua June!

Posted by: Daphne | Jun 8, 2006 12:02:41 PM

Okay I have to add something... I didn't read ALL the comments before I commented. I do like how you find creative solutions and inspire other people to find them.

Posted by: Daphne | Jun 8, 2006 12:06:50 PM

I'm glad you were able to find a way to make this work for you! I hate when patterns don't include schematics, but even worse is when they have schematics with no details, like Rowan patterns! It's my big pattern peeve.

Posted by: ivete | Jun 10, 2006 9:41:38 AM

i came across your site while googling 'green gable'. i really like the look of it, but i keep finding so many bad reviews of it, i've been hesitant to purchase it, and am planning on starting a picovoli of my own :) would you be so kind as to post/send the lace schematic you're using in the picovoli yoke? i completely understand if you don't feel comfortable, i just hate to "waste" the money on a pattern that appears to be so problem-ridden. hmm :\ lovely knits by the way.. i'm going to peruse your site a little more :)

Posted by: aimee | Jul 11, 2006 6:44:44 PM

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