Meet My Good Friend…

… Ann Budd’s Handy Book Of Sweater Patterns

I knew it was a good book and I’d used it before, but I’ve been practically sleeping with it as I set up pattern templates for the Men Who Knit book.

Being on a Mac, much of the sweater wizard type software isn’t available for me. Besides, I know it’s useful for the knitter who wants to design their own sweaters – and I think that’s great – but every time I’ve used it I find that I can’t really get the unique shaping that I require for many of my garments.

So I set up my own worksheets to output figures. Generally this works pretty well, but moving into an entire of sweaters for a whole book I wanted to set up a worksheet template that I could use for several different styles of sweater. Ann’s book has been incredibly helpful! My only improvement would be to have larger type on the schematics and perhaps add a section on estimating yarn amounts. But that’s an incredibly difficult thing to do, so I can’t really blame Interweave Press for not putting that in!

It’s Raining Yarn!
I remember begging yarn companies for just ten yards of a yarn to use in swatching for a magazine. Who can blame the yarn companies for not sending out yarn to every aspiring designer who asks – they must get DOZENS of request every day. Now I find myself recieving boxes of yarn every week – the Vogue cover has really made my presence known to the folks who mail out the yarn, and it’s so inspiring. There are NOT enough hours in the day.

Desparately Seeking Kniters
So if you put these two things together – lots of yarn coming in and lots of patterns escaping from my brain – you can easily come to the conclusion that I’m seeking knitters. I’ve doggedly kept on knitting my own samples for most of my designs (and it’s been very helpful when folks write in with practical questions…) but I really do need to start using more knitters.

When I used to knit for designers my fee varied widely. At first I thought this was due to the whim of the designers, but I’ve since learned that editors can pay wildly different fees for sweaters, and this is reflected when a designer hires a knitter. I will pay for knitting, but in my heart of hearts, as a former knitter, I have a queasy feeling that I’ll never be able to pay enough. I think that’s part of why I haven’t hired a lot of knitters yet – once I divide my fee and figure a percentage for a knitter, it seems so low (for the hours involved) that I’d rather just knit it up quickly than pay someone what may be way, way, way below minimum wage for the same work.

So, if after reading that paragraph you’re still interested in knitting up some samples, I’d be VERY interested in hearing from you. When you write I’ll ask you a few things:

1) Can I see some pictures of finished projects?
2) What type of knitting do you prefer (what do you love – cables, colorwork, simple St st, etc.)
3) What do you hate about knitting a sweater
4) Are you comfortable finishing? (it’s okay if you’re not, I’m happy to finish pieces, but I need to know up front – be honest!)
5) Have you knit for other designers? (you don’t have to tell tales or anything, but it would be good to know if you’ve done this and what you liked and didn’t like about the procedure)
6. How long does it take you to complete a standard size 42 man’s pullover with 1 design element (cables, colorwork, shaping). Be honest – speed is NOT the most important thing, good communication is!

I’m looking for knitters for several projects that are upcoming, and I’ll also be interested in developing a database of knitters who I can call on in a pinch. I may not call on you right away, but please know that if I need you I WILL call you! (or, rather, email you…)

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