Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Understanding Skif Patterns

I am one of the Skif knitters. I am responsible for helping write the new Skif Hand Knit patterns. We are so excited about this adventure. Skif sweaters are so much fun to wear. I would like to ask you to tell me any problems you are encountering with these patterns and I will do my best to help. We tried to keep the patterns very easy to read and would like your imput.

31 comments:

Stephy said...

It's really great having you here, Lynette.

I would urge all you SKIFers who have questions, whether a member of the KAL or not, to post them.

This is our opportunity to help SKIF better guide us in making our own fabulous SKIF sweaters.

One thing I mentioned to Lynette off the blog is that many of us are used to having more detailed instructions, a la Interweave Knits or Rowan. Off the top of my head, I gave the example of simply identifying the WS and RS in the instructions. Or keeping track of the numbers of stitches at a given point. But, there's much more to it than detailed (and accurate) instructions.

I need to go back and review the Zena pattern to refresh my memory about some of the stumbling blocks I ran into.

In the meantime, what are some other questions or suggestions?

I'm looking forward to others chiming in.

Cara said...

Thanks so much for the help. I've got questions about the Neptunes posted in the Neptune blogs. Really regarding joining the neck. It would be great if you could also post a photo of the front of the sweater.
Again, thanks.
Cara

Stephy said...

Hi Cara,

If you it's not too much trouble, would you consider restating your questions about Neptune on this comment thread?--I think it'll make it easier for all of us to keep track of the issues.

Thanks!

Cara said...

Sure, here is the original post:
Do you think you can pass on some tips as to how you get the back neck started on the Neptune. I can't seem to get my mind wrapped around those pattern directions. It seems to me that the neck may be open on one side, but it's a bit confusing. Thanks for any light you can shed.

In addition, I still think it would help to just have a photo posted.

Thanks so much,
Cara

Cara said...

Sure, here is the original post:
Do you think you can pass on some tips as to how you get the back neck started on the Neptune. I can't seem to get my mind wrapped around those pattern directions. It seems to me that the neck may be open on one side, but it's a bit confusing. Thanks for any light you can shed.

In addition, I still think it would help to just have a photo posted.

Thanks so much,
Cara

LynetteM said...

I see why you could be confused about the Neptune's neck/collar. You should pick up a loop from the side of the 2" collar you just knit and knit it with the last stitch of every row. So you pick up both sides of the neck. You are now knitting the back of the collar going down toward the shoulders there should be a hole for your head where you bound off and cast back on.

LynetteM said...

Knitch is right the pattern note should read This sweater is worked from the FRONT bottom up.

LynetteM said...

The front of the sweater collar looks just like the back. Purl side out, it rolls in toward your neck. If you wanted the opening to be bigger you could put fewer sts on the shoulder holders and add more sts to the neck opening. If you wanted the back neck to be longer you could knit more rows by picking up bumps at each end of some rows to add more rows to the back.

Cara said...

Lynnette,
Thanks so much. I think I can do that. I was only joining 1 side before. Can't wait to finish my sweater. It's finally starting to get cold here in Asheville!
Cara

Stephy said...

Thanks, Lynette.

I have another minor suggestion. A couple of people have contacted me asking about required yardages for the gauge. I realize SKIF is encouraging the knitter to combine yarns, etc., but it would simplify getting the yarn together, to know how many yards of, say, a single-strand of worsted weight yarn is needed for a given project.

dg said...

i'm not a member of this kal, but i lurk arround to check out the wonderful knitting. i received my updated neptune pattern from shopknits-thank you. also for ravelry members there is a beautiful finished zena someone posted. (thanks for the neck stitch tips on neptune). I hope someone starts a skif group on ravelry.

Dorota said...

Lynette,

Could you explain in more detail how you mix yarns for your sweaters? Part of the beauty of Skif sweaters for me is the random mix of stripes of different colors . Do you use two yarns throughout or add and change yarn colors as you go along? Thanks!

LynetteM said...

yarns-- We use big cones of yarn knitted on a knitting machine. Sometimes there are 2, 3 or 4 yarns knitted at the same time. The random colors just happen. I did find that when I hand knit these same yarns the random colors did not happen as much. We use linen, wool, cotton, bamboo, etc. Always natural yarns.
It is a problem figuring out how much yardage is in each sweater. Maybe you guys could help with that since we buy our yarn in big cones and you can knit 3 or 4 or 5 sweaters with each cone.

KlinikBahasa said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Smokey said...

Lynette,

I'm wondering if SKIF is still planning on publishing the errata for the patterns online? I thought I saw somewhere on the blog that there were plans to do this. I checked the SKIF website and didn't see them posted (although I did see a link to this KAL!).

The industry standard is certainly to publish errata online, both so that they can be easily updated by the designer(s) and so that they are easily accessible to individuals who buy the patterns and don't burden the seller or buyer with needing to contact one another to receive corrections (not practicable for patterns that have been widely sold).

Thanks!

Smokey

LynetteM said...

I agree with you and have asked for the errata to be published on line. I don't know when this will be done. I'll ask again.

Smokey said...

Lynette,

Even with the the revised Neptune, my numbers don't add up. If you cast on 110, bind of 10 (total) for sleeves that leaves you with 100 stitches. Then you use 25st/shoulder and 40 stitches for neckline. There are 10 stitches unaccounted for.

My gauge is off and I want a slightly smaller sweater, so I'm just redoing the stitch counts throughout. However, it seems like the Neptune's stitch counts are still off. Have you had a chance to look at them?

Thanks!

Anne

LynetteM said...

Thanks, I'll check and let you know.

LynetteM said...

Nina said to use your body as a guide and decide whether you will put the extra sts in the neck, in one shoulder, divide them in both shoulders, put some in neck and some in the shoulders. Go with what you want it to be. Have fun. Its your design now.

Smokey said...

Lynette,

Thanks for speaking with Nina about my question.

I have to tell you, Lynette, it's really unlikely that I would either buy another SKIF pattern or recommend that somebody buy one.

I only have the Neptune, so I'm speaking specifically about my experience with this pattern. All of the SKIF patterns cost 2-4x the price of a standard pattern one might buy from a standalone source (meaning, outside of a book or magazine). It certainly doesn't appear that the Neptune was ever test knit by hand (not on a machine). There are errors that might be more understandable if it had been sized for multiple dimensions or if there was intricate detailing on the sweater (e.g. stranded work or cabling). But, it's a very straightforward sweater (stockinette stitch) offered in one size, and the numbers don't add up. The numbers don't even add up in the *corrected* version of the pattern! There are other errors in the pattern that also weren't corrected, and, so far, there are no published errata. At this point, it appears that the designer's response to new errors in the pattern is simply to, "go with what you want it to be."

I know that I can make the pattern my own and modify it. I can do that with any pattern I choose to knit. I usually just prefer to have a sense of what instructions the designer used to create the sample that I have a photo of.

I'm not somebody who blindly follows patterns and so I'm upset because I don't know what to do about 10 missing stitches. I'm somebody who assumes that professionals who charge a premium for their product will take responsibility for it, sell something whose quality reflects its price, admit when they've made mistakes and take action to correct them.

I greatly appreciate you participating in this KAL and I'm not trying to blast you personally. I just want you to be aware of one customer's perspective on my SKIF pattern.

Smokey

Stephy said...

Smokey,

Basically, I have to agree with you.

I don't think it's too much to ask to have clear, detailed, and accurate instructions. Especially given the price.

Using test knitters is the key. They could help refine the language, check the numbers, and determine yardages. An experienced techical editor would also help.

I would love to see these patterns written up as if published in Interweave Knits.

Cara said...

Lynnette,
Can you comment about machine knitting? I am interested in how one gets started. I love to hand knit, & have been doing it, albeit sporadically, since my mom taught me when I was about 9 years old. I would really like to be able to crank out stuff a bit faster & maybe sell some original designs. Thanks for any help.
-- Cara

LynetteM said...

I really love hand knitting and machine knitting goes right along with that. I bought my first machine to make skirts. It was a brother 7mm machine that uses mostly sports weight yarn. I have 2 940 Brother knitting machines. Then I bought a brother 260 which is a bulky punch card machine that can use a variety of weights of yarn. I now own a Silver Reed mid gauge machine and its my favorite as I like the ribbing on it. Look around for a dealer in your area. There are also seminars that you can attend. If you are in the St. Louis area you can come to Skif and see the machines there or even come to my house.
I have knit sweaters with pictures on them. I designed one with music notes on it that reads the Entertainer. You can knit lace, tuck, slip st and many many other kinds of knitting.

Cara said...

Thank you for all the info. Is it hard to learn machine knitting?

LynetteM said...

I don't believe its hard but it helps to have a teacher. Also you need to be very careful to get a machine that can be fixed if necessary. Some machines are no longer being supported and you can't get parts.

SKIF said...

Thanks Smokey, your comments make a big difference in the way we continue
on our hand knitting pattern adventure. We were thrilled to see the photos of completed sweaters posted on this kal. Our goal has been to inspire sweater designers to create their own look. We want to share our method, shapes, and ideas.
Numbers are no friend of mine. Stay tuned for Mateo and Bellagio.

LynetteM said...

After looking at my original pattern for the button back/Neptune I believe that the cast on should be 100 sts.

Smokey said...

Lynette,
Thanks for looking back at your original notes. Your post then leads to another question--what's the correct finished chest dimensions? At a gauge of 5st/", 100st will lead to a finish chest dimension of 40". But the pattern says a finished chest dimension of, I think, 44" (I don't actually have it in front of me, but that's my memory).

Any more feedback would be great!

Thanks for speaking up, skif (nina?), as well on the patterns. It's easy to see the vibe you're trying to create with the patterns and how you're trying to encourage knitters to interpret the patterns as they want. I appreciate that. I guess the best analogy for my frustration is that I can only think outside the box if I know where the box is.

Thanks so much to both of you for continuing to participate in this conversation. I hope SKIF will continue to release patterns for handknitters because I really like the look of almost all of the designs. It would be great if future patterns reflected some of the feedback that's been provided here.

Smokey

LynetteM said...

I believe you are right about the inches. Thats probably why someone changed the cast on. If you wanted 44 inches you would need to cast on 110s. Then the neck could read 30 shoulder 40 neck,30 shoulder, 5 and 5 for the underarms. That would give you a nice wide neck.

Anabella said...

I am not knitting along, but have been reading with interest as a Skif pattern is my next project. I am currently working on an Interweave pattern as well as a Habu pattern, two entirely different ways of pattern writing... It seems to me that the way to preserve the designer's intent of making suggestions rather than worrying about specific numbers would be to provide finished dimensions for the different pieces... and more photos!
I can understand how some people expect very precise directions of a pretty expensive pattern, certainly. I am just thinking that to preserve the spirit of the designer's intention better photos and a schematic might help solve the problems, no?
I am certainly hesitating in ordering more than just the one pattern until I can see more photos of finished pieces that can help be a guide, in lieu of precise direction, so I am very thankful for all of your posts!

LynetteM said...

If you want to see more pictures of skif sweaters you can visit skifo.com There you can see a variety of our sweaters. I realize you want more pictures of each sweater and we will consider your suggestions for future patterns.