standards

two happy things! first, from what I’ve gathered in emails I was thankfully wrong. it wasn’t the technical ed. that came up with the genius of inches, I think the non-knitting editor is searching for those all by herself. come on, remember when you didn’t know how to knit? maybe I should get the editors to read techknitting so they can learn how to. anywho, I HAD to share that with you! who else would get the funny out of it? when I got the email I quickly looked at my im list and was like…doesn’t knit, wouldn’t get it, oh knitter!
second, I won the metric vs. US case (sounds like some really crappy schoolhouse rock episode if you ask me!). I’ve been burned in the past by going with just the US size…what? this size 6 is 4mm while this one is 4.25mm?! let’s not talk about that project. I think my favorite US/metric story is when I went into a yarn store wanting to buy some needles, what size I forget though it was most likely sock needles, and I couldn’t find it since the store labeled all the addis with just the US number. I muttered something about just knowing the mm’s and the owner was shocked. “How else would you remember what size is what?!” uhh lady, see that number next to the two mm’s? yeah….


that story may suck, I’ll admit there isn’t much of a climax, but you get my point, there’s no need for one number to represent another. you may think you or other people rely on US sizes, but you probably don’t. if you say “oh I need an 8” and in your mind think “which is a 5mm” then do you need the US size? wouldn’t it have been faster just thinking the second number? ok, think of it another way. ever try to knit a vintage pattern but the needle size seems off? that’s probably because they were using another system that isn’t standard today. a mm will always be that.

ok, now that I beat that horse sufficiently *ahem* and had my coffee, can I bring up another pet peeve? sure I can, I’m the one writing. why do patterns tell you the size the knitted sample is but not the size of the model? don’t I need some sort of reference, a penny in the picture if you will? I’m making my editor run around and measure each model, partly for the fun of it and also so I can include it in each pattern.

this brings me to a question…what do you wish books/patterns included or got rid of? I would love to hear suggestions! I can tell you right now this book won’t have a how to knit or purl or cast on section. you should know that already or you can buy one of the many reference books already in the market. (I may sound mean here, but I’m not at all. I just think if every knitting book is spoon fed we’ll never move beyond this)
to answer one of the questions in the comments, this will be the first knitting book for this publisher. which in ways I’m both incredibly lucky and frustrated with. the frustrations (trying to explain knitting etc) are minor (and funny) though when I get to decide what sort of template the book will use and I don’t have to follow the standards of what’s already out there. I imagine if I were working with an ‘established’ craft publisher I would basically have a formula handed to me. instead, I’m calling the shots on my first book.
on the project front, sleeve v. 3.7:

no “puffy shirt” here
things I’m loving:
first she finishes a beautiful sweater and then writes this cool tutorial on how to custom design a sweater.
I really want to try out chez pim’s pad thai recipe, maybe I’ll get a chance this weekend.
that is if I don’t just gorge myself on cupcakes!
I’ve been trying out musicovery for a while, it’s nice when you want to get out of your own collection and be surprised…though some of the ‘loops’ can get really annoying.
sort of in the same vain, but with food, tastespotting let’s you find recipes through pictures. you’ll be disappointed sometimes when the link takes you to say a baking shop rather than a recipe, but still worth a try.
andrea’s gorgeous alpaca blankets…I can only imagine how luxe these are.
finally! bonus photos in the IK preview are up! I can’t wait for stef’s pattern.

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  • jess February 2, 2007 at 11:51 am

    because I started out as a crocheter, I always go by mm size (the whole boye-bates crochet hook thing — different letter sizes mean different mm sizes in different brands!).
    I totally agree with you on the sweater size / model size thing. Maybe I don’t need to know exactly the model size, but knowing the suggested ease and the ease the model is showing is SO useful.
    Related somewhat, I find it frustrating when I am trying to decide what size to make on a sweater and I browse around blogland looking at finished ones, but no one wants to say what size they knit (and what the finished measurements were). I understand WHY, but it can be frustrating. πŸ™‚ I try to list both — because I hope it’s useful for people to figure out what size to make, whether the yarn estimates are correct, and whether the fit is good for that body type or not. πŸ™‚

  • stacey February 2, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    lots of great links – thanks! for the smaller sized needles i use a lot, i think in metric, but for the 5’s and up, i think US..weird…

  • Veronique February 2, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    OK, I’ll admit that I’ve memorized, for each US needle size, the mm size. (Size 5 is… 3.75 mm!). But I think I might be an anomaly because most knitters I know are only aware of needle size in US #. I’m not saying they’re right, I’m just saying this is what I’ve observed…
    Oh, and there is one detail that I always look for in knitting books: the spiral binding. I hate the glue-bound books that keep on closing if you don’t hold them open! I’m sorry, but I need 2 hands to knit, and I don’t have a third hand to keep the book open.
    And your idea of putting the model’s measurements is brilliant!!

  • jo February 2, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    haha, cupcakes! I will let you know how the vanilla magnoila ones turn out! Althought the vanilla cherry ones seem tempting!

  • yahaira February 2, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    I only know US6-11, beyond that I just stare blankly

  • Dave February 2, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    Well, since you asked, I hope you are not using that yarns standards council thingy for describing yarns, i.e., medium, etc. Worsted is worsted, fingering is fingering, and I don’t need, or want, yet another classification system for yarn. Yipee for mms !!

  • hege February 2, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    I think it’s convenient when the schematic has measurements in both inches and cm. It’s rare to find a book that says what size the sample was knitted in, and it’s awesome you are doing that, but models’ measurements seems like too much information…
    I totally agree with you on the needles, a diameter measurement will always be more accurate. I also wish that the US suppliers hadn’t made it so difficult to find the 2.5 and 3.0 mm needle sizes because they don’t fit into the American system… even with imported European needles. More sizes are always better, right?
    Good luck with the book! Can’t wait for it to come out πŸ™‚

  • yahaira February 2, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    oh dear no…gauge is gauge

  • yahaira February 2, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    I don’t think one line with the model’s bust measurement is necessarily too much information..if anything it helps to know what the visual ease is

  • hege February 2, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    I take it back, you are right:)

  • Sarah February 2, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    Recommended ease is a great idea. Selvedge information would also be useful — I know a fairly skilled knitter who always works in the round and so has a hard time figuring out what to do to get a good result with flat knitting, and a suggested selvedge AND sugg. seaming method from the pattern would help.

  • gleek February 2, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    i think that it’s important to have both “fits” measurements (what size you think the knitted garment should fit) and “actual” measurements. this way if you intended for the garment to have 2″ of ease built into it, the person knitting the garment can decide if that’s what they would be interested in.
    so, for example, if your garment “fits” a 34″ bust but the “actual” measurement is 36″ then that should be stated. that way i would know, “hey, there are 2 inches of ease built in and i can either A) keep them because i like the fit of it on the model or B) put in more or less because i don’t like the fit on the model.”
    that would save you from having to actually put the model’s measurements in the book. just make sure that the garment accurately fits them and reflects the design intention of the garment.

  • Jean February 2, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    I totally agree with you on the sweater size/model size thing. That’s always nagged me in the back of my mind, but not in anyway I could put my finger on until you said it. Basically, I want a pattern to be really clear on how much ease the garment is desinged to have, so I can decide if I want to make it that way or with more/less ease. I also really like it when the schematics of the pattern make the lengths and widths for each size clear but separate. That way I can mix and match lengths and widths. That’s what makes a pattern really versatile and timeless. Somtimes long and skinny is in, sometimes short and wide is all the rage. When it’s easy to make these changes, you can use the same pattern many times and achieve different looks. Oh sure, you can figure that stuff out from most patterns, but it’s nice when it’s laid out really clearly.
    On the topic of needle sizes: I pretty much know only US. But that’s just because it’s what I’ve been exposed to the most. I don’t know mm sizes without looking it up. That said, I do know HOW to look it up and I have several places to do so. Therefore, I would not be stumped by mm sizes and would be insulted if anyone thought I would be.
    BTW, congrats on the book!

  • Jenna February 2, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    I’ve been wanting to learn the mm sizes of needles ever since I took a close look at the ssmaller-sized Addis and realized there’s a difference in what they say is a 2 and what the standard is. An encouragement is appreciated.
    In my patterns, I like really, really detailed schematics. There are great examples in Knitting With Balls – they show the measurements for things like the height of the shoulders, etc.

  • brooke February 2, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    Interesting stuff-congrats on winning the metric case (thank goodness!). Hmm, what do I want in a knitting book. Detailed schematics, measurements, pictures that show the garment from different angles if it helps highlight a design feature…And from a printing standpoint, I like hard cover books with beautiful photos (like Knitting Nature).

  • Ruth February 2, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    I like patterns where the design process is made transparent and friendly to knitters trying to achieve a personal fit. Rather than an unbroken page of line by line directions, I like to see it divided into sections, with suggestions for how and where individual modifications can best be made – eg. waist shaping takes place thusly, to lengthen, it’s best to repeat this motif and start here, etc. Because just about anyone who is not a beginning knitter is going to try to customize the fit anyway, so why not make it easy for them?

  • Enjay February 2, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    Hmmm…
    Ease information is something I look for in a good pattern. I also want detailed schematics with finished dimenions. A brief one or two sentence description that hits the high points of the garment is nice, especially if some of the details are not clear from the photograph. Speaking of photographs, full front and back shot, arms in natural positions, well lit please, and please don’t push, roll, bunch or blouse the garment. Being able to see the lines and motifs of the garment as knitted is important to me. True, they may not be very inspiring poses, but the more decorative shots sometimes make me wonder if they’re trying to hide flaws that won’t show up until I have 60 or more hours invested in the knitting. Thanks for allowing me to pipe up with my 8 cents worth!

  • Jessica February 2, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Funny – I agree – knitting books with *real* patterns shouldn’t have the how to knit, purl, cast on, etc.

  • techknitter February 2, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    Thanks for the link! You’re dead-on about about ease and measurements–I TOTALLY agree (actually wrote a 1-23-07 post about that very thing…”Gauge, ease and fashion– or ‘why doesn’t my sweater fit?'” ) Hope you DO get your editors to include the models’ measurements–it’d be a big step in the right direction, for sure!

  • carrie February 3, 2007 at 7:19 am

    I love the idea of giving the models’ sizes! Nice one. I’ve been knitting for nearly 30 years, and I still found myself yesterday looking and looking to figure out what a new abbreviation meant. If you could make that page easy to find, it would have saved me many moments of grumbling.

  • Terry February 3, 2007 at 9:52 am

    Can you believe this one? The owner of one of the most popular yarn stores in SF told me that the needles in question were a US 2 – they had a 2 on it but were obviously made in Germany (Inox).Her reason was that her mother told her a two is a two no matter what (this coming from a yarn store owner?)

  • Susanne February 3, 2007 at 11:07 am

    OK, you want some more rubbish into your mix?? A long time ago..maybe the 50’s and 60’s (ahem)there was a “UK” size and a “Canadian” size. It makes things more confusing if you have inherited straights (which I no longer use) from your Mother and possibly your Grandmother, in a mix of BOTH!! WHY oh WHY oh WHY doesn’t the USA just go with metric??

  • Expat knits February 3, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    I totally agree on the model size and the use of metric. My wish for all pattern books: all relevant yarn info (FIBER COMPOSITION, producer, full name) should be included IN THE PATTERN, not in a well-hidden appendix. My favourite books are the ones that give general yarn descriptions/tips to ease substitution or even provides several yarn alternatives, but I realise that this may not always be possible.

  • Chris February 3, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    What do I wish knitting books/patterns had… Hmm. Really clear directions – not too wordy (for example, the Rogue pattern overwhelms me with the wordiness) but not as brief as the directions found in knitting magazines. Oh yeah – and clearly specify type of cast on and bind off and increases that were used in the pictured item! Sometimes it makes a big difference.

  • kate February 3, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    wow. i am so amazed and honored to be mentioned on your blog! thanks for those nice words about my sweater!
    i also work at rosies (which makes this an even smaller small world moment) and lisa is an awesome lady.
    i think your idea to have measurements of the models is GENIUS and a long time coming. (including the recommended ease that gleek suggested is a great one as well and would probably serve the same purpose). i really like to see the yardage of the skein, not just 50g, 100g. rowan seems to only include grams and it drives me batty, especially in vintage knits because so many of those yarns are discontnued and substitutions are absolutely necessary. i will also never buy a book unless it has schematics.
    i am really excited to see your book come out. i know it will be fabulous!
    -kate

  • Elinor February 3, 2007 at 11:50 pm

    OK, I’m with Veronique on spiral bindng – don’t know if you can control that. It seems to me that a lot of knitting books USED to have sizes all messed up. What I mean is that (and I risk offending lots of people here) a lot of books seem to be written by old, fat women. The sizings are all messed up. I’ve seen books with size small patterns meant to fit a 36″ bust. WTF is that. Even if you call that your small, offer an extra-small or even an extra extra small.
    Another detail I’d like is measurement from armpit to hem or back neckline to hem.

  • Amelia February 4, 2007 at 9:32 am

    I admit, I should probably read the pattern before I start knitting but my pet knitting pattern peeve is that ‘… and at the same time…’ which I only ever seem to pick up on once I have knit 40 rows or so. There should be some kind of international symbol (let’s not have one for one half of the world and another for the other half) to tell you that you need to read righ to the end as there’s a ‘and at the same time’ coming up. πŸ˜‰

  • jenna February 5, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Well, as for what I wish knitting books included/omitted, you already hit the nail on the head. I don’t need half of it to show me how to cast on, knit, etc. And knowing the measurements of the models would definitely be a plus! And how about some honest photography, while were at it? Know how they knit a big sample, then put it on a tiny model and probably clothespin it back so that the garment looks all slim and form-fitting but you find yourself wondering why the shoulder seams come halfway to her elbows?? That’s not cool.

  • Miss Mildred February 5, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    Personally, I am glad you will be skipping the how to knit section of the book. However I have to admit that I do enjoy the notions parts of books just because I like to look at beautiful pictures of knitting things.
    Model measurements and size of garment they are wearing would be super helpful.

  • Kim February 5, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    *delurks*
    I applaud your idea for publishing the measurements of the model! I see you starting a new trend with this!
    Another thing I wish more patterns would include: suggested finishing techniques. If a tubular cast on was used, for example, it would make me happy to see it written somewhere. Maybe not in the pattern itself, but in one of those nifty colored boxes one sometimes sees off to the side of the pattern?

  • keohinani February 5, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    what do i wish books/patterns included or got rid of? hmm…
    i prefer photos that really show off the garment. models are lovely but if i’m really trying to see how a seam lines up on a sleeve, the stitch detail of a particularly tricksy stitch pattern, or the shaping on a sock heel, then i could really care less if the model’s torso is bent “just so” because it’s more slimming. i’m talking MACRO shots, baby. show me the MACRO!!! hehe. i’m talking total 360 views on sweaters. kinda like how bloggers can never take enough pictures of an FO and show practically every painstaking detail? that might be asking a lot, but at least there’d be no qualms about expectations.
    i appreciate patterns with suggested cast-on and bind-off techniques.
    and on a totally kinda sorta but not really related note: i find it rather odd that not many books have care instructions for hand-knitted garments.
    as convenient as those spiral-bound books are, i find it’s easier to accidentally tear a page out. might just be me…perhaps you could ask the book binders to include a type of bookmarker ribbon or something that’s attached to the spine?
    oh, and i tend to like charted patterns rather than line-by-line instructions…just because it seems a little ridiculous to write out 30 lines of a stitch pattern.
    wow, this comment was waaaay longer than i anticipated…
    good luck with your book!

  • Ashley February 5, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    YES YES YES. You’re brilliant. Tell me the amount of ease or the bust size of the model. Usually, all I have to go on is that the scrawny model is wearing the XXSS sweater. DUH.
    No more knitting instruction in the pattern book. Maybe multiple models shown in the garment…to show different body types.

  • Sarah February 7, 2007 at 10:34 am

    I’m so glad you’re including the models’ sizing in the book. That will be so helpful, as I’m sure everyone’s sweaters, etc…will fit so differently depending on…well…everything to do with construction.
    And ps, I was trying to email pictures last night but I couldn’t find my camera/computer cord!!!!! Maybe tomorrow…?

  • Atricia February 7, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    Yea, yea, yea, love the cupcakes and the cable sweater AND I found TechKnitter too. Too much good stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  • Amy February 10, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    I am so relieved that the tech editor wasn’t responsible for the metric vs. US size drama. That would have been really unfortunate! I love the idea of including the model’s measurements with the pattern, along with suggested ease.

  • Dr. Judy February 12, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    Awwww, you didn’t actually MAKE the editor measure the models, did you? That’s what comp cards are for…all the model’s stats plus a pretty picture.

  • chancy April 18, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    So, I know you wrote this entry a while ago so there is a chance you won’t even read this note, but…I just had to say that I was just thinking the same thing about the model sizes. I’m a pretty big girl, but lately all of the bust sizes that measure to me for patterns I like are smalls or mediums. I haven’t been a small or medium in a long time. Then I look at the picture and think, okay what size is the model? Cuz I either want the fit to look like it does on her or very similar. Anyway, since you said that your book will include that much needed information that makes me want to check it out even more. Can’t wait.

  • Helen July 10, 2007 at 7:41 am

    I’m likely too late, but two things I wish knitting books/patterns would include:
    ALWAYS have a gauge in stockinette — even if the sweater/garment has none — so that we can more readily substitute yarns if we need to. Also tell us if you’re knitting at looser than the “normal” gauge for the yarn.
    Also… tell me how many inches (cm) of ease you intended the pattern to have. If I think there deserve to be three inches, but you’ve designed for eight, I’ll be making the wrong size in no time.
    Oh, and when you give yarn requirements… include the yardage of your preferred yarn!
    Phew, thanks for the chance to get that off my chest to someone who at least talks to knitting editors.
    (eager to see the new book, even if there isn’t time to incorporate these suggestions)