Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Book release party

This weekend I was so excited because a couple of friends and I headed down to porter square in Cambridge for a book release party. I have been reading Amy Herzog’s blog for quite a while and I LOVED her fit to flatter series. Well, she has taken that series, along with the knowledge she gained from teaching workshops and classes and she has written a book with patterns included.

This book is WAY more than a pattern book and it’s not even an instructional knitting book. It takes tips on what you want your clothes to say, highlight and disguise and it walks you through how to incorporate adjustments into your handknitted garment. Before I talk about the event and how amazing it was I also want to mention that she has a craftsy class around these same principles and if you head over to stash and burn podcast you can even find a link to a discount for the class

Now the party was great, there were raffles and measurements being taken, a photo booth and sample sweaters. Unfortunately, due to a recent surgery measurements were not going to happen for me due to fear of pain and also some swelling. Thankfully, they gave out a pre-made card with measurements blank. The measurements were FULL measurements. Not just a bust measurement but a high and full bust measurement (just as an example) done by someone other than you so they are accurate. I'm planning to have a measuring party with some knitting pals at a later date so we can all have full measurements for ourselves

The sweater booth was awesome because I could try on sweaters from the book and absolutely rule out making a couple of them to start and decide to absolutely make one of them not just make it, but use the yarn and color in the sample.

The photo booth was done by a great photographer and she put the photos online so that you have a GOOD photo of you, a photo that looks like you and hopefully shows what makes you unique. That was a wonderful treat for those of us that are trying to allow ourselves to be photographed even though we don’t love our current body.

There are only two things that I don’t love from this weekend the first is only barely related to the event. There is a yarn store within a block of where the event took place and while I understand having consistent hours I think a smart move would have been to stay open a bit late for those attending and maybe even cosponsoring the event (maybe they tried I don’t know, but our experience of walking up the stairs as the store closed wasn’t the most positive one).

The second small complaint I have is really about the styling in the book. The book is FULL of amazing photos of women of all shapes and sizes! In the evaluation sections these people are all dressed in white cami/tanktops and jeans. It is very uniform and really helps you see what is going on. The outfits that these same people wear while showing off the sweaters are….. distracting. In some cases (though not all) I think they drown out all of the flattering/highlighting/etc that the sweater is designed to do. It isn’t that the outfits are bad, but they just don’t highlight the features that the sweaters are supposed to highlight. With that said, I would and do still recommend you buy the book.

The price of the book is worth the two sweaters I’m going to make out of it alone plus I have an AMAZING reference about adjusting a sweater just for me. I’m super duper excited to get started using it first on a sweater from outside the book and then to make the two sweaters in the book that I am in love with.

A note about this review. Amy (and her publisher STC) doesn’t know me from adam though I did meet her at the event (which I only knew about b/c of her blog). I did not receive the book for free, I paid full price to the bookstore that hosted the event and I was happy to do so. I encourage you to find a bookstore that you like (online or brick and mortar) and buy the book as well. It is worth every single penny. Also, let me know what sweater you want to knit with all of the help from Amy's book

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sometimes it's unwearable

Beware, negativity ahead, come back tomorrow for some redemptive cheer.

So I don’t knit a lot of sweaters, nothing is every quite right when I make it and my most recent project was no exception. Up until my last sweater I would have never thought the designer/pattern writer was the problem, I needed to make adjustments and/or choose a better yarn for the projects, etc. Basically I don’t blame any of my previous sweater failures on the pattern or designer they are all basically my fault. That is until now.

I made a sweater that was the most poorly written pattern I have ever come across. Now, understand I don’t want to be a debbie downer so here is some further info. My two pals and I all knit the same sweater and two out of three of us ended up with a relatively wearable article of clothing. We chose the pattern because it was adorable and worked with the yarn we wanted to use. Basically, we went in excited, and while I won’t speak for the others, I don’t think any of us really found that the pattern met our expectations. That is not to say it was a complete failure for either of them (though it was for me), but I don’t think it was a huge resounding success either. This sounds harsh, but I’m not a super critic of patterns, I want the pattern to be relatively easy to read (even if it is complex) and I expect there to not be more than a couple of mistakes, and I expect that if I pay you for a pattern part of that money was originally invested in paying someone to tech-edit the pattern. This pattern did not meet any of those requirements

First, it was written in large font, in two columns so that even a row that required just a short line required 3+ lines of the page. This makes a pattern very difficult to follow. If this were the only problem, I wouldn’t complain about this pattern

Second, there was a mistake on the FIRST pattern row of my size, and this lack of attention to detail continued throughout the pattern for the size I made. It was clear the author just pasted the pattern from another size, but didn’t bother to go back and fix ALL the numbers and counts to match the instructions for the size. All of this showed a lack of a real tech editor.

 Third, my sweater is unwearable. It turned out super low at the back neck and super wide at the top so there is no way to get the sweater to wear like a sweater. Now, normally I would say that it was my fault in some manner, but honestly I kept a ridiculously detailed account of where/when things were supposed to happen and I am confident there were either a) mistakes that I missed or b) no testing of this size or c) POOR adjustments made for the size I knit

Basically I wish I hadn’t knit the pattern and even more so I wish I hadn’t paid for the pattern. So after this disastrous project I decided to choose a redemptive sweater that has great examples on ravelry, has little extras included in the pattern (like a chart for increases) and I’m going to make adjustments. I’m going to put in tons of effort to make this sweater the opposite of the last one.

 I’m starting with this pattern: Julissa I’m adding adjustments based on the knowledge I’ve gained in this book: Knit to Flatter

So far I’m knitting as written but stopping the front/back decreases early, adding the lace panel, while still continuing the arm increases per the size instructions. Come back tomorrow for an honest, complete review of the book I’m using for this adventure