04 Sep 2009

The worth of a picture

I wonder how many people clicked to look at this sweater after the Harlot linked to it on Twitter? A lot, I’m betting. I did too, and found this other pattern for free, on the Berroco site. A few years ago a friend sent me a photo of a Donna Karan sweater, clipped from a glossy mag, that looked a lot like this one, so I’ve been thinking about this shape for years, wondering how to create it. And now I need wonder no more. I should really visit Berroco more often. It’s a very nice place to browse, as well as worship at the alter of my most favorite designer.

I know you know how I feel about Norah, so I don’t need to explain why the eleventh hour sweater fail of a Norah Gaughan design hit me rather hard this week. The good news is that the fail was in no way Norah’s fault.

If blame is to be apportioned I suppose I must take the lion’s share of it. I didn’t read the instructions. Or rather, I read them, and then looked at the picture, and second guessed them, and then ignored them and knit the sleeves my own way. This was, however, to my mind a perfectly logical course of action, given the picture that accompanied the pattern. I made a lot of assumptions about this pattern, and I based every one of them on the picture. Let’s look at those sleeves again, shall we?


The assumption I made in looking at this picture is that the sweater was designed with wide, turned-back cuffs. Had I looked at some of the examples of this sweater in Ravelry, like this one, however, I’d have realized that the sleeves as Norah designed them don’t look like the picture. Moreover, the sweater doesn’t fit anything like it does in the picture.

No, there isn’t a problem with the pattern. The problem was with the stylist whose job it was to make the too-big sweater look like it actually fit a very tiny model. A stylist who rolled one cuff up, and folded the other very cleverly, hoping we wouldn’t notice the damned sweater was too damned big. Mission accomplished. I never noticed.

When I realized this, lo, there was much ranting and gnashing of teeth and shaking of fists in the general direction of stylists everywhere, believe you me. Thankfully, I am over the worst of that now, and just glad that I’ve figured out where I went wrong. And next time, instead of knitting blind, I’ll check Ravelry for examples of finished sweaters, photographed on a range of different body shapes and sizes.

Thanks so much for the many fine ideas for fixing the sleeves of my ASJ (which I ought to be able to post a picture of soon, weather permitting) but mostly just thanks feeling my pain.

Posted on September 4, in Blog


  1. kv wrote:

    thanks for posting the link to juliana…i’ve been dreaming of a sweater like this myself!

    Posted on 9.4.09 ·
  2. What a story. I didn’t notice the other cuff folded under until you mentioned it.

    I like that real people on Ravelry had examles to see that can help others. There was a great author lecture on CSPAN BookTV about how this sharing by real people volunteering their time on their own, working disconnected from each other on the web surpasses the ability of a company with hired people to do a task, at things some still feel only ‘the experts’ should be handling. He felt that creativity is multiplied with the open source internet method, better than when information or services come from a company and brought to the public in a top down kind of way. Lots to ponder. (Sorry can’t find the book title or BookTV lecture link right now.)

    I’m getting ready to knit my first stranded colorwork sweater. Found a 1982 Lopi pattern book in a charity thrift shop. I was comparing it to the latest one published and noting the size differences, bulkier back then. And the Best of Lopi book has one model in a sweater way too gigantic, I can’t believe anyone would wear it that way, and I blamed the stylist who matched it to that model. It has a look of “girl wearing boyfriend’s sweater” and it is not flattering as pictured IMO.

    Posted on 9.5.09 ·
  3. Liz T. wrote:

    Argh stylists and their ways! It’s of a piece with falling in love with just one item in a magazine photo shoot only to find out it’s labelled either “stylist’s own” or “Chanel £2500” – either way you have no way of getting hold of the coveted item.

    Posted on 9.5.09 ·
  4. katrina wrote:

    I’ve had some knit disasters as well (who hasn’t?) and always check ravelry first now! It’s such a great help to read/see what other people have experienced with the same pattern.

    Posted on 9.9.09 ·
  5. Joan wrote:

    Gotta love Ravelry! I’ve also used the site to see if someone else has attempted something in a yarn I’m considering. It’s so new, yet one wonders what we did before it came on the scene!

    Posted on 10.3.09 ·

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