Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pattern? We don't need no stinkin' pattern!

We had our SnB group last night, or should I say, two of us met.  It was an ugly, rainy and windy night, which I think kept people away.  The parking lot of our local Starbucks quickly transformed itself into a small pond, and we remarked that we were probably going to need an ark to get home again. 

That being neither here nor there, my friend was working on a mug cozy.  It was a crochet pattern in the round.  She was following the pattern, but the cozy wasn’t quite fitting correctly (she used her latte cup as a guide), despite being according to gauge.  That’s when I suggested she a) rip it out and start over again, using less stitches, and b) keep fitting it to the cup and use common sense—if the cozy didn’t fit that right, chances are, it would be useless with any other mug.  Sure enough, using less stitches and less increases than the pattern dictated yielded a perfectly-fitting cozy. 

This brings me to the topic du jour…madly ad libbing a pattern.  Honestly, I do this all the time.  I constantly come across patterns I just LOVE, except: 

1)  It’s too long or short.  Usually too short—I hate the current trend of shrugs and short sweaters.  It always looks like you couldn’t quite afford the whole sweater (I feel similarly about capri pants and tea-length skirts).  Also, sweater sleeves are usually too short for my taste and have to be lengthened. 

2)  It’s too tight or too loose.  I know myself and I know 40” around is a good sweater size for me.  If a pattern is 38” around and declaring itself a “medium,” I throw in extra stitches to make it 40”. 

3)  It’s not wide enough.  I find I like a nice LARGE afghan, but too often, afghans are too narrow.  How is 36” across supposed to be good enough???  If the pattern is in blocks, it’s simple enough to add another row of blocks.  If not, I puzzle out the repeat pattern to add width.

4)  And don’t get me started on scarves that aren’t long or wide enough…

Of course, any of these alterations usually necessitates recalculating how much yarn is needed—I’m awfully happy I paid attention in math when they were teaching ratios.  Sometimes, it’s just a simple matter of one more or less skein of yarn.  I usually try to buy over the amount—much easier to return a skein or find another use for it, than to hunt all over area stores and online, looking for another skein in the same dye lot…not that I’ve ever had to do this…noooooo…


  1. I wish I could veer off a pattern, but I just get too nervous! Maybe over time...

  2. I normally don't even go off a pattern, I'm just too lazy to look for them.. But I do surf patterns, just to look, and do end up finding ones I like, but I never seem to go and use them... hmm..