Patterns for Knitters to Knit
When I started writing patterns in my own style in about 2001, I was writing for the women I talked to at my workshops who said things like “I make decisions all day long, when I sit down I just want to knit” or “I get to the place where I have to reverse the shaping, and I put it aside”, or “I just want to knit”. So I thought long and hard about every word I used in my patterns. I drafted and redrafted. I edited, had people knit from my patterns, and came up with language and content that I thought addressed the issues raised by those women.
Back then, I think my patterns were probably mostly under 12 pages, and now they are easily two to three times that long, but this is because I now put in stitch pattern charts, plus shaping charts for every size, and we often present row instructions in table format to make it easier to follow your size. When it makes sense we set things out in each place you need the information so you don’t have to go in search of the information you need too often. I think I set out everything you need to know for each and every step of a knitting project, without being chatty or didactic. I know my patterns work, because I have a sample knitter knit them–from the pattern (because it turns out I am no good at this!). Wendy makes most of the charts, working from my written instructions as another way to check. I have the entire pattern combed through by a technical editor, we make changes based on her comments and corrections, and when needed, we send the pattern back for technical further review.
All in, most of my patterns probably live six months or more (sometimes two or three years!) before being published. They have undergone a lot of thought, and a lot of scrutiny. We feel we have massaged them into something nearly perfect. We do sometimes find something we miss (I feel 90 to 95% accuracy is the best you can hope for on a lengthy pattern until you launch it–then you find that thing you overlooked–most often caught within the first day or two after release) but we do a damn fine job at creating a really good knitting pattern.
Patterns That Have More
Sadly, I don’t think very many knitters know this. I am not good at talking about how awesome my patterns are, and in fact, I often talk about their content only in kind of defensive ways, when I should be shouting about how good they are at making seemingly difficult knitting pretty accessible. Oh, sure, you still might feel challenged, frustrated, or even bored while working through one of my patterns, but I don’t think that can be avoided in the course of most knitting projects. I also always answer emails from customers personally, and try to help out with any lack of clarity or confusion. I am beginning to make a series of videos this weekend to help a knitter with some questions she posed to me. I figured she was probably not the only one who might want to know, so I’ve worked out short videos to answer each of the questions she asked
Shouldn’t it be well worth it to buy a pattern that allows you to sit and knit, enjoy the experience, learn a new thing or two, and not have to do any major figuring (like how to reverse the shaping) so you could, you know, sit and knit and enjoy the experience? I throw in great design at no additional cost.
What’s Inside These Patterns
ETA: If you aren’t familiar with my patterns, take a look at this. It allows you to see the structure of a pattern from Jill Wolcott Knits. This is also helpful if you are wondering if you are an “expert” enough knitter. Look here to see the body measurements we use in our sizing. Our errata isn’t extensive, but you can see our errors here. The pattern shown is Blue Canoe done in Kiwi from Zealana. The Shawl is Belon, an excellent knit. I’ve personally made two!