I have written before about my somewhat unconventional background as a designer. I’ve been making original handknits for some time, but writing patterns for only about a year and a half. And these two things are not the same.
Design in of itself is a creative process, made all the more wonderful in that it isn’t constrained by any standard language. Design can be informed by a kaleidoscope of cultural, personal, aesthetic, and technical factors, and one designer’s process can differ radically from another’s. I learned to knit at a young age in the improvisational folk tradition, which carries with it its own mentality and methods. It was not until much later in life that I was introduced to the world of written patterns and ravelry. I did not initially recognise in this world the ‘knitting’ I knew all my life, and for a long time I felt quite alienated from it. When I met other knitters in person, they admired my work, but we could not communicate. They could not understand how I made what I made. And likewise, I could not fathom how (or why) they used these things called 'patterns.’
When I found myself at a career crossroads two years ago, I was actively encouraged to become a pattern designer by several key people I’d met at that time. And I embraced this opportunity, without - as I realised only later - having fully understood what that actually meant, in today’s knitting parlance. Because pattern writing, unlike design in itself, is governed by a distinct set of rules and expectations. In my early patterns I tried to change those expectations, and introduce knitters to my way of approaching design. It was often effective. But just as often not! And after some time, I had to consider what was more important to me: holding on to my approach, or communicating with knitters in the way they wanted to be communicated with.
Laitís was the design that made me decide on the latter. People loved it - but were scared to knit it, because the pattern was so different from what they were accustomed to. The discrepancy was deeply frustrating to me (as I am sure it was to them) and pushed me to revamp my pattern writing process, so as to bring it in line with the expectations of ravelry-era knitters. It was difficult, as it really did mean changing my entire approach to design. But with the help of a new tech editor and some wonderful feedback from supportive knitters, I was able to do it.
As of Spring 2018, I am confident that my patterns are written in a style that is familiar and easily understandable to my customer base. And while I expected to feel as if I’ve ‘lost something’ of myself in the process of changing my pattern writing to meet convention, that has not happened. Instead I feel happy that knitters are finding my patterns easy to follow, and do not require pattern support!
I am now working through my earlier (pre-2018) patterns and plan to re-write them all in the new manner. Happily there are not that many. And Laitís was a priority, because I love the design and I want people to have a good experience knitting it.
And so allow me to introduce: Laitís, the new version.
Made possible with the kind support of Yarn Vibes (more on this interesting company in a later post), the new pattern includes a schematic with measurements in an expanded range of sizes, a cable chart, and detailed instructions with stitch counts at every step of the process. It is, in short, the same design, with improved instructions. If you purchased the original sweater pattern, you will have already received the update!
The latticed cables in this pattern are extremely easy, and are suitable for new cable knitters. However I would overall class Laitís as Intermediate, because - being worked from the top down seamlessly - it requires increasing in pattern. Increasing in pattern is not necessarily difficult, and anyone who has made lace shawls is probably familiar with it already. Just be aware that you will need this technique. And while the pattern explains briefly how to do it, it does not include an in-depth tutorial.
That said, everything else about Laitís is very straightforward. This is essentially a ribbed sweater with occasional cabled crossovers, worked at a gauge of 17st per 10cm - so it knits up quickly!
In honour of its re-release, I am offering the new version of Laitís at 40% off until the 28th of February.
Thank you as always for your support, and I hope the re-write will allow more people to enjoy this pattern!