honey

As promised last week, today I present to you The Vest Of Podcast Fame: Honey. Though Honey was finished a while ago, it took some time for all the elements to coincide properly so we could take photos. Considering the amount of effort I put into it, I wanted to have really good photos and didn’t mind waiting. The credit (and a big hug) for them goes to my best friend, who is steadily becoming my official photographer. We’re both learning as we go and having lots of fun at it. And every time we shoot something, I can’t wait for the next time!

Now, I’ve wanted to knit myself a vest for so long now. I love the idea of them. When I was 7 years old, I had a vest that I used to wear to school (first grade, eek!) all the time. When I think of vests now, I see an image of a nice warm colour paired with a white shirt, for a professional yet casual look. These are all the things I was thinking of when I was looking for a vest to knit.

I first noticed the Green Day pattern on handpande’s project page. And to be honest, good thing I did. Because if I had come across the pattern page first, I probably wouldn’t have looked twice before clicking the little red x in the top right-hand corner of the screen. I really don’t think the photos there do the pattern justice – especially with one of them (at the very top) not even being available any more. The funny thing is, it’s not the first time something like this happens to me via handepande. Her project page also led me to the Pajunkissa hat pattern – which I made (in three versions!) according to her mods, rather than the significantly different per-pattern version.

The pattern itself, I’m sad to say, is not written much better than its Ravelry page would lead you to expect. It is far from polished. First of all, the pattern is written for knitting on straight needles, even though the designer’s photos show a closed garment rather than a buttoned one. So the knitter is left to his or her own devices to modify the pattern to knit in the round, so as to get what the pattern photos show! That’s pretty illogical if you ask me.

Furthermore, the chart is rather confusing. It is partially duplicated without telling you that what you’re seeing is one and a half repeat rather than one full repeat. This led me to having some really strange twists in my cables, before realising what was going on, and having to rip 4 rounds.

Finally, there are some errors in the English translation. And I’m not speaking about not using the exact English knitting term. Rather, some numbers were copied wrong. Now, I’m a translator myself and I know translators get a lot of gruff for failing to copy numbers correctly and little acknowledgement for other things into which they put a lot of effort, but in a knitting pattern numbers are pretty crucial, I dare say.

So if you’re planning to knit this pattern, be warned: you’ll need to modify it for knitting in the round (unless you want a seam smack in the middle of your front) and figure out where the errors are. However, I’d say that with some experience and knitter’s intuition you should be able to make it work without major issues. I knit mine in the round, made it longer than the pattern stipulated, and worked out all the errors (though some after an attempt or two) – and this was only my third or fourth adult garment ever.

Having said all that, I can hear a little voice at the back of my head, saying “You’re too critical. It’s a FREE pattern. You have no right to demand anything from it.” True, it’s free. I didn’t pay anything for it so I might as well work harder to make sense of it, and, not having paid anything, I have no “claim” to demand better quality for my money. Are we allowed to mention when free patterns are poorly-written at all or is even that rude and ungrateful? I’d love to hear your opinions.

I’d like to note here that it’s possible the designer didn’t even intend to be a designer – she may have just written up her notes  because others asked for them upon seeing her improvised FO. This would explain the failure to polish the pattern to a great extent. So why on earth am I grumbling? Well, here’s the thing: I enjoyed knitting this very much, it was just challenging enough, it was fairly easy to modify, and it yielded a beautiful result. It is precisely for these reasons that I’d like the pattern to be presented better and polished a bit more – I’m sure a lot more people would be making it then, and it’s what the pattern definitely deserves!

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About fridica

I started knitting completely by accident, when I was visiting my parents for a holiday in 2008. On a boring Sunday afternoon, I decided to dig through their stash of books to see if there was anything interesting to take back to my apartment. A knitting manual happened to be one of the books I found. I got curious, my mom immediately dug out her old needles and yarn stash (which she hadn’t used in a decade at least), and in a few minutes we were both casting on - she by memory, I by following the instructions from the book… :) Since I normally prefer learning from books, this was ideal.. I took the book home with me, and very very soon - I was an addict.

45 thoughts on “honey

  1. Free or not, if you do something, do it right. Or, in a better known version: If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. It’s my motto at least.

    The vest is, let me say, absolutely beautiful. And that colour looks so good on you!

  2. I saw your photos of your vest and favourited it. I happen to love that color even though it doesnt suit me to wear it. I am sure I can always find someone who will wear that color. I will have to check the pattern out now as I too love vests. I think you did a fantastic job and your best friend seems like a great photographer too.

    • Thanks! To be honest I’m finding it a bit difficult to wear this colour too. So far I’m only happy how it looks in combination with this one particular shirt (and I’ve tried many). So I think it’s just a matter of finding the right thing to complement it… I’ll be on the lookout for more complementary stuff myself, since wearing an aran-weight vest in combination with a short-sleeved shirt doesn’t make the most sense in practical terms… :)

    • :) Oh, that reminds me, I was looking at other things to make yesterday and I noticed that as I choose projects from my queue, I tend to prioritise the free ones if possible (i.e. if there’s a free and a for-purchase baby pullover pattern I want to try, I go for the free one first) – a little bit of your influence I think ;)

  3. I think with a free pattern you have the right to say what problems you had with it so other knitters are warned. Beginners may shy away from something that requires so much modding, but more experienced knitters may not be. The beauty of Ravelry is that you can find stuff like this out, before you buy the yarn. I think providing it is done in a nature of informing future knitters and not in a screechy “call this a pattern????” way that is fair.

    Maybe someone would be prepared to take this knitter and their design under their wing and offer to clean up the pattern for everyone’s benefit.

    • Yup, that’s the beauty of Rav! :) As for cleaning the pattern up, as someone noticed in the other comments, the designer has become quite widely acclaimed in the meantime and has produced some lovely patterns (e.g. she is the author of the famous Sylvi) – so I’m honestly suprised that she hasn’t decided to clean up the pattern herself! I guess she may have forgotten about it and is looking towards new things instead…

  4. I actually don’t know… Like said by others, I’d think you’d do your best even for something which is free, but then again, I don’t think I’d ever write the designer and complain over something free. The designer of this vest is today a renowned designer (e.g. the infamous Sylvi), but I think this was one of her very first patterns. As I can read from the pattern, she states that she intended to put buttons in it, but then changed her mind and added a seam in the front (which is quite strange), but she does mention that it can be knit in the round instead.

    • I agree, but to be honest if I were her I’d clean up the pattern precisely because of her current reputation… She might be looking forwards rather than backwards, though :)

      • True, especially because people may tend to try out the few free patterns first before they commit to buying one of her more recent patterns. Well well, it just proves your abilities as a knitter that you were able to get such a good outcome despite the pattern difficulties :)

  5. The vest, the way that you have knit it, is perfect. the colour, weight, fir – al work beautifully.

    Looking at the pattern page, though, it has a lot to be desired. The top photo, when viewed in full mod, shows the front seam quite visibly and messily, the join on the neckline looks messy and there is a split in tech bottom for some reason – plus it doesn’t look to have been seamed equally.

    Obviously it CAN be worked to make a beautiful garment, though as you have proved. I think if the designer re-worked the pattern a little it could result in being one of the staple patterns available on Rav.

  6. The vest is beautiful and it looks great on you! Love the pictures. You’re a great model and your friend is a great photographer. I want to cast on for the vest right now, it looks so pretty!

    Thank you so much for talking about the pattern, I always look at blogs and check notes on Ravelry before I start knitting something. Free pattern or not, I think it’s great when knitters share their experience and your comments here are very helpful! :D

    • You’re welcome! I check Rav notes religiously as well before casting on… I love the “sort by most helpful” feature, it’s my best friend! :)

  7. Very nice. My favourite picture of the lot is the penultimate one in which different textures combine with strong lines and bold colour – LOVE the mustard (vest and wall), black (door and ‘jeans’) and white (shirt and steps) together!

    Really lovely picture.

  8. I’m surprised that the designer hasn’t removed that pattern or updated it. I’d be afraid that someone would look at that and think that the for pay patterns were equally shoddy.

    You vest turned out great! The yarn really does look lovely.

  9. On the bright side- Isn’t it awesome that you are a savvy enough knitter that you could sort out the pattern?! And it looks fantastic on you!! That coat is gorgeous, too.

    • You’re right, I am really happy to have material evidence of my increasing modifying skills. It’s what I am proudest of most in knitting.

      I found the coat I think three years ago and I love it dearly. I’m scared to even think of the fact that it is showing some signs of wear, I want to have it forever!

  10. Love the vest and the photography but, yikes! I’m amazed at all you went through to follow this pattern. I can only speak for myself but, if I were to put a pattern up on Ravelry, even it if was a freebie, I’d do my absolute best to make sure it was easy to follow. Then again, I am an evil perfectionist and my own worst enemy most of the time. LOL!

    LOVE the cables!!

  11. That looks fantastic on you (I’m not normally a fan of that type of garment but I think you’ve convinced me). I think constructive criticism, when it helps make a pattern better, is generally (and should be) welcomed by designers! I mean, that’s exactly what test knitters do! I love the photos by the way, you look very pretty! /unintentionally creepy comment

  12. How lovely!
    Thanks for linking to that pattern; I’ve been wanting to make a vest for myself! And what a nice, rich color. It looks really nice on you.

  13. Šišala si se?! I bojala si se?! I smršavila si?! Predivno izgledaš <3 Ali ti znaš da te ja najvolim s kratkom kosom jer mislim da ti divno stoji :) Fotke su fantastične (pohvale fotografkinji), a pulover je totalno meden. :)

  14. This is so gorgeous! I love vests but I haven’t seen any non-frumpy looking ones on Rav. I know what you mean about free patterns though. I’ve found so many gorgeous patterns at garnstudio.com but the formatting and wording is so convoluted that I just end up epicly confused. (Of course that could be my fault too..)

    Anyway, I’ve been lurking and just wanted to say hi! :)

    • Hello :) I like a lot of DROPS patterns too, but I still haven’t attempted many of them, that bungle of text without any formatting scares me. This pattern was also written by a Scandinavian, maybe it’s their thing? Knitting is so natural to them that they only need the most rudimentary of patterns :)

  15. Great photos and a beautiful vest!
    I think you have every right to talk about problems in a free pattern. You’re warning us that if we want to make a similar project, we need to pay attention to certain things that might cause us grief. In other words, you’re saving some people a major headache.
    I draw the line at saying nasty things about a designer who published a less-than-perfect pattern (free or otherwise). That’s unjustified no matter how bad the pattern might be. And, of course, I’m sure you’d never do that :)

  16. It sure is a nice vest! Good work! The color is beautiful! I think most of us would want to know that the pattern contains mistakes. Hopefully the author will correct them. Quite a few people knitted it after all, so I’d say it would be nice for the ones that will knit it in the future!

  17. I don’t think it’s rude to critique a free pattern; after all, it helps the next knitter figure out its strengths and weaknesses before getting into it herself. It’s a good thing to do! And the vest looks amazing!

  18. The vest is gorgeous and looks fantastic on you. Love your hair do too. I think it is a good thing to spell where improvements can be made so other knitters benefit from your efforts.

  19. Pingback: Oh, handsome | fridica

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