Jamie and I were working through one of our epic Zoom sessions on how to quantify one of the things we need to conquer in our pattern calculators and I said “things look so different at the top than they do looking from the bottom.” I wasn’t speaking of top down and bottom up knitting (although that is true!), rather that we set off on a journey with one idea. Along the way that may shift and change, or we encounter things we didn’t know we would, and our view and viewpoint makes things look different when we get there, even when the actual concept may not change.
Working With An Intern
I have been working with Jamie for about six months. She has skills in the area of logic and linear thinking that I lack, but we seem to have had some sort of mind meld that keeps us moving forward and discovering new ways to collaborate. Jamie likes detail. Me, I like thinking about detail, but I don’t like doing it. I have a very big picture and she can burrow into details that enervate me! Our different approach to seeing and understanding is giving us a much broader picture.
My idea when taking on a Paid Intern was to free up some of my time to work on my book on fitting a sweater. That has happened, but most the marvelous thing is we are seeing things I do in new ways. I have to quantify what I do so that Jamie can translate it into spread sheets that do the calculating. Each time I explain some, to me seemingly small, thing I know, we have a break through in clarifying and quantifying how things are. We spend a lot of time talking, and I draw crude sketches and hold them up to the camera. Jamie puts together power-points!
A Few Things Look Different
So here are some ways our viewpoints have clarified:
Skeleton is so important
- The body is built on a skeleton.
- Growth of the skeleton is impacted by genetics, hormones, diet, and environment.
- The skeleton is the framework for adding tissue (skin, adipose, muscle, organs, connective).
- The skeleton is covered in various tissues.
- The tissue put on the skeleton is determined by genetics, hormones, diet, and environment.
- After creating the necessary tissues and organs, excess tissue is added in the form of adipose tissue or muscle, but not uniformly, or by everyone. This is not fair.
- Tissue does not build up in the same way at joints as it does over bone, which can create some very interestesting fitting challenges.
- Breasts are another type of tissue, although they also contain many other tissue types.
Standard sizes and what we need to know
- Standard sizes are not “standard” at all.Standard sizes are based on averages.
- The Standards are not changed frequently enough to adequately address changes in diet, environment, hormones, etc. that are seen in real bodies.
- Any “standard size” not built on size standards is not accurately replicable.
- ASTM is the best resource we have for developing sizing.
- Using Bust as the most important measurement for choosing your size is likely not the best route for achieving an accurate fit.
- Garments, particularly knits, hang from the shoulders and upper body, yet those crucial measurements are rarely taken or disclosed.
Bodies are not standards. We work within standards to create things that are “likely” to fit. But if you tweak things a bit, you can take that standard fit and make a personal fit. At this point, I feel I could fit any body. But it costs a lot to do it. Ease is often mistaken for personal fit preference. You need to learn what your personal preferences are to make the correct choices.
Things Continue to Look the Same
Designing garments, then grading them, and presenting them in a comprehensive and comprehensible pattern is difficult and doing that in more than a few sizes is a massive task. Taking into account that there are different types of body shapes within sizes makes the task gargantuan.
Add to that the written pattern, charts, schematics, explanatory text, graded numbers throughout the pattern, and creating a final graded knitting pattern is a massive undertaking. Design time, grading time, add in time to make and add drawings, schematics, charts, shaping charts, and pattern layout, all add to the complexity of what knitting patterns offer. On top of that there are photographs, tech editing, advertising or social media, selling pages, and videos. Things look different if you consider all the information.
How Things Look to You
We all have lots of choices and are free to exercise them as we wish and as fits our budget. I cannot say how things look to you.
I saw someone’s post this week that their cardigan took 60 hours to complete. That seems about right. They had done a very nice job; I have no idea what pattern or yarn was used.
But think about that statement: the knitter spent 60 hours making her cardigan. It is my strong belief that the entertainment and mental health value makes that a good use of your time. Remember Opportunity Cost? Every time you make a choice to do one thing, then something else has to be let go.
Let’s say the knitter spent somewhere between $70 and $150 for yarn but spent less than $10 for the pattern.
I currently pay between $0.20 and $0.25 yard for a sample and that quickly becomes a $350 cash outlay. If you are not paying for the knitting you are giving up your time. I am just quantifying time in dollars.
Breaking Down the Inputs
Looking at the values makes things look different. Where you start and where you end are based more on the knitter+pattern+yarn+time than on the price/cost of the individual inputs.
|Item||Cardigan 1||Cardigan 2||Cardigan 3||Cardigan 4|
|Knitting Cost||60 hours / $350||60 hours / $350||60 hours / $350||$350 / $350|
|Expenditure||$80 + 60 hours||$90 + 60 hours||$160 + 60 hours||$170 + 60 hours|
|Expenditure||$80 + $350 = $430||$80 + $350 = $440||$160 + $350 = $510||$160 + $350 = $520|
|Pattern as %||2.3%||4.6%||2%||3.9%|
Knitters tend to think of the most important input as the yarn. Things look different if all inputs are made equal, and the outcome and process are where the value is. What is the value of a project before it is started, and what is the value of a successfully completed project.