Tuesday, November 19, 2013

In Which I Skim The Surface

I was just reading a fascinating post on how one can get gauge in a blocked swatch and still experience inches of growth in a final garment and discovered this sweater:

New Towne by Amy Herzog, made and modeled by Jackie Pawlowski
(Note: The article, while profiled on Amy Herzog's blog, isn't by Amy, but by Jackie Pawlowski, photoed above.)

For starters, isn't this woman ethereal?! Secondly, don't you dig that sweater? (Click on the link below the pic for Ravelry deets.)

I can think of so many people this would suit beautifully and, no doubt, you can purchase a Custom Fit version.

I know very little about Amy or her new venture - which is why I feel a bit odd referring to her by her first name here. I have to say though, she looks like the most down-to-earth person on the planet. I'm sure she wouldn't mind... I know even less about Jackie, with whom I also seem to be on a first name basis, and I might be making this up, but I think they might be working together.

Don't you love it when you click on a blog for meaningful content but instead you get gossip, all of which may be entirely fabricated?

OK, back to the point at hand: Read the article I linked to at the top. It gives an reason other than "you measured your blocked-swatch gauge wrong when you counted with the gauge gizmo" for this crazy thing, which often happens to me: I get gauge. I make a sweater. The whole sweater turns out to be too big. Who knows, maybe I'm making my fabric all wrong - not in the loop tension, but in the bar tension - cuz I do experience that phenomenon. Of course, I've simply taken it upon myself to knit a modified version of the smallest size and call it a day.

Also, even though I do love that New Towne sweater, I suspect it wouldn't look that fabulous on me, which kind of sucks. But it also means that I don't have to queue (either mentally or on Ravelry) Project 250 that I might one day have time to create.

I wish that I had the time to fully engage with Custom Fit, the concept, because - if it works - that will make everything MUCH easier. Yeah, I know I like complicatedness, but sometimes you just want to start knitting a sweater without it turning into an engineering dissertation. And I've got the kind of body that really goes off-road from those standard knit-pattern measurements.

I appear to be the only blogger I know (unless I'm forgetting and I might be) who's mentioned it / kind of reviewed it. Are there any other reviews you can point me to?

What I want to know is: Is it really as easy as it sounds? Are there still beta errors? (Peeps, it's very new.) How easy is it to make up your own sweater in your mind and produce a customized, written pattern? Are there hidden costs? (I think not but what do I know...)

Anyway, let's talk about sweaters and articles on gauge and Custom Fit. Your feedback is so welcome!

19 comments:

  1. I signed up for it not long after you mentioned it the first time. (yes, I am easily influenced!). I had some problems navigating through the site, so I just quit.
    I got an email from Custom Fit the other day though, explaining the process in more detail, and giving some links. So I assume the user experience has been improved. Still haven't gotten back to it though - apparently I am expected to do actual work at my job. And my family keeps insisting I interact with them once I get home! (I'm only getting a chance to write this because everyone else is in the bathroom/playing Minecraft/talking to the new beta fish).

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    1. I'm in exactly the same boat. I've signed up but I don't have time to take all the measurements right now. And then I have to figure out how to work the site... I got that email too but (dare I say it) it still didn't take me from the unknown to known. Perhaps this is about me actually engaging? I mean, it's not a "123 simple" process. It's merely an efficient and practical one.

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  2. Looks like an interesting concept, but unless I'm missing something (quite possible) aren't the styles available somewhat limited? Even in the custom section, it just didn't seem like there were that many choices. I may try it though -- heaven knows I've spent enough on unflattering patterns through the years. :)

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    1. I thought that too but, if the "custom" feature works as I believe it does, then you can actually create many different styles. But that's the part I'm least clear about.

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    2. Yup, that's how the custom part works... you choose the neckline, length, fit (snug, loose, etc), sleeve type etc that you want, and it spits out a pattern! (I've been rather obsessively following Any's blogging about fit for a while, and I've so fascinated by the Custom Fit idea...

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    3. OK, me too! We have to make a pilgrimage to Waterloo - yes?

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  3. I know nothing abut the site, other than what I have read here, but I just wanted to tell you that I very much enjoyed reading this blog post (in particular the first five paragraphs). You are too funny, K!

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    1. Oh thank you A! So nice to hear. Are you up for knitting sometime soon (maybe even this weekend)?

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    2. For what it's worth, Shall We Knit, the LYS in KW that my sister goes to, is going to be one of the less than 10 locations where employees get extra training to help take people through the custom fit process! If we ever took a road trip there, they could show you how it works and help you plan and customize a sweater! (also, pretty pretty yarn!)

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    3. How fascinating is that! The very yarn store your sister goes to - of all the possibilities in the world?! We have to go. I wonder if I can take a train to Waterloo - then maybe you could pick me up from the station (presuming you have a car?)

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  4. Wow. That sweater is possibly the most gorgeous sweater I've ever seen and I want one! As for knitting it, after reading your posts about what you go through with projects turning into an engineering dissertation, I'm not tempted. I know nothing about Custom Fit. It sounds like a good idea but I am skeptical. What about just buying a knit band for the cuffs and shawl/placket and a coordinating knit fabric for the sweater bodice? You could use one of the designs you already have modified to fit perfection and alter as needed for this design.

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    1. Well then you have to learn to knit it! :-) I could do what you're suggesting but I find it all goes differently - depending on yarn and other factors that vary from project to project. And, the theory is that this takes all the math out of it for me - which is what I find so appealing :-)

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  5. I am just about finished my first Cutsom Fit cardigan - just need to sew on the buttons. I am very pleased with the fit! The sleeves are just a touch too long. They measure about a quarter inch longer than I specified in my measurements - this could be a slight gauge issue on my part or a slight problem with the pattern calculation. Either way, sleeves are always too short on me so this will be a novel experience. The dart fitting in the body of the sweater is spot on and the close fit fits exactly as I would expect.

    Custom Fit is in its infancy. The styles offered are very basic, there are not yet any collar options, you can only specify one gauge for the entire sweater - even with the custom design option. At least some of this should be available in future enhancements to the program.

    What Custom Fit does do fabulously (in my one sweater experience, though backed up by photos and comments in the Ravelry forum) is calculate a basic pattern to fit your measurements using the gauge you specify. This is just what I need. I can superimpose a stitch pattern on top of the basic pattern and adapt collars or pockets, etc. to be used. I don't need to meet a pattern designer's gauge or use the same yarn - the Custom Fit pattern will account for the gauge I specify.

    The hidden cost is this: if you want to knit a sweater from a pattern available from a designer (and this includes Amy's patterns) you will need to purchase that pattern. Then if you want to Custom Fit the measurements or the gauge of that pattern, you will need to purchase a Custom Fit pattern that mimics the original as closely as possible. Then, to actually knit the sweater, you will need to follow both sets of instructions - using the original design for the stitch definition and other details and the Custom Fit pattern for the sizing details.

    For me this is a great option - it makes the part I find tedious and error prone easy. But it won't be the answer for everybody.

    Lois K

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    1. This is an awesome comment L - thank you for continuing to demystify this process. I thought that too - when I went to the Ravelry page to buy a pattern and noted there were 2 patterns to use with Custom Fit. Then I got confused and clicked off. Do you think that Amy will eventually mush the regular pattern with the Custom fit pattern? Or would than not be feasible. I mean, I'll pay more - but I'd prefer not to be looking at all kinds of different paperwork.

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  6. Never heard of the gauge swatch lying issue. (Well, I've heard about something similar but it had to do with the person knitting maybe two inches and counting the stitches with the knitting still on the needles.) The solution offered in the article is interesting. Could be because that's how I knit - with the stitches all bunched up close to the tip so they can just fly right off.

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    1. I knit with stitches close to the edge - but occasionally they go a bit farther back on the needles. I don't know if this could be an issue for me - not that I think of it as a terrible issue since I've got work arounds - but I'm going to try and knit very close to the tips from now on.

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  7. I haven't used Custom Fit yet but am planning to do so when I start my Aislinn cardigan. I loathe doing the maths for knitting (even though I've only just started paying that much attention to my knitting) so will happily pay the extra for the Custom Fit instructions. I'm also looking foward to being able to "design" my own knits using their basic shapes.
    The range is fairly limited at the moment, but it's very early days yet, and understandably they have to start somewhere. I'm sure I've read somewhere that they are currently working through their existing catalogue of patterns to ensure each of them have a custom fit option and all new designs will be published with it. My understanding is that they will also extend the range of design options as time progresses.
    I'm watching closely to see how this develops, but, for me, it's already a great additional resource.

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    1. I love that cardigan. And I do think this system is perfect for you because I know you hate the maths! I mean, I don't love it, but I can kind of pretend it's fun for a while. I too am going to keep watching and waiting. I don't think it's yet time for me to jump in, but I'm sure it will be soon.

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