Why do we carry so many patterns? It would be a lot simpler and a smaller cash outlay if we didn’t. In addition, there are certainly many free patterns out there for people to get. Instead, we choose to have many three-ring notebooks of patterns. Part of the reason is that I spend a great deal of time helping people read and correct their ‘free’ patterns. Free pattern writers don’t usually have their patterns test knit much less test knit in every size. The people who use the patterns are the test knitters. If they are test knit, it is by themselves and close friends, people who use language the same and usually the same techniques. I recently was part of a group who test knit a sweater for Iris Schrier of Art Yarns. There were some thirty-five of us testing knitting the sweater from around the world. All the sizes were knit by at least one person but usually more than one.. Iris was sending out corrections daily as we found them, everything from amount of yarn required to incorrect numbers to wordage. If any mistakes slipped by, I would be surprised. When that pattern want out for sale, it was correct, not with mistakes for purchasers to find as they were knitting.
I love graphs! To me they are a photo of the pattern that I can see and follow. I am thrilled when I see a graph in knit or crochet. My very good friend Gail Paull, who is also an excellent knitter, hates them. We enjoy knitting the same patterns but she wants words and I want graphs. Some of our patterns have words, some graphs and some both. We have to have patterns that make everyone happy.
Gail and I like Frreestyle knitting and there are times that we don’t want a lot of instruction, others who knit with us are not comfortable when the pattern doesn’t spell it all out for them – patterns for both are needed. Plus some like texture work, some color, others lace – all sorts of patterns for everyone’s taste.
So we have lots of patterns. Still I am choosy about whose patterns that I carry. I tend to carry patterns from designers that I know personally or who I have knit and found to be good. I am very happy when I find someone like Helen Harmann or Maggi Jackson who have spent years in the fashion industry and understand bodies and how clothing fits on bodies as well as what fashion is all about. I love Penny Straker and Ann Norling who have been around a long time with timeless patterns. The girls at Cabin Fever and Chris at Knittingatknoon come out with good patterns for all ages that are fun and interesting to knit. Lucy Neatby is in a class by herself with her tips and tricks in very creative patterns. Jane and Marty at Emerald Island Designs have well thought out knit and crochet designs and patterns. Jackie, at Heart Strings Design can do just about any style and do it well.
What these people have in common is well written, test knitted patterns that you have to pay for. Designing and writing patterns is their business. They each have years of experience in their craft. They know how to knit and crochet, they work through their patterns and make sure that they are correct. They make their living in the pattern industry. They make themselves responsible for what they sell. Yes, typos can happen, computers can burp but the professional pattern writer will stand behind their work and is an important part of the knitting and crochet industry. Buying their patterns assure knitters and crocheters of future well-written, test-knit patters. It assures that patterns will come from fashion designers as well as technique knitters.
Now a side note, I have in no way named all of the great designers that we carry and I don’t want to slight anyone but this group are primarily in the business of writing patterns for their own labels. And this is early on a Sunday morning on my laptop, missing the ‘r’ key and on one cup of coffee. My PC is tied up by a tech who will hopefully find what is wrong with it. But I am inspired by having Jane from Emerald Island Designs arrive on Friday afternoon and hand delivery my TNNA pattern order. She lives in NC. Such service! I just about fell over when she called and asked our Friday hours and told me that she would be here with my order. It seems that there is a wedding in the future in her family in Duluth and she was in the neighborhood.