Monday, January 14, 2013

Show me the sweater!

One of the joys of writing a blog is that I can complain bitterly from time to time. Today's whine: using creative photography in knitting patterns does not eliminate the need to show me the whole sweater.

As an example, consider a new pattern published today, Chocolate Stout by Thea Colman. As usual, it appears to be a beautiful design because Thea is a terrific designer. But the problem is that there are 11 photos on the Ravelry pattern page, and not a single one shows me the entire sweater straight on from the front, back, and side.

I appreciate beautiful photography, but when it comes to buying a pattern, I want to see the whole damn sweater, front, back, and center. That's the only way I feel comfortable buying a pattern. With the artsy fartsy photographic approach, it's up to me to reconstruct the sweater in some Frankenstein way. Drives me nuts.

Another complaint: why do pattern publishers use models with long hair that covers up important sweater details? Here are a few examples:

Is this sweater have raglan or set-in sleeves? Who knows?

And what does this collar look like exactly?

Check Cable Cardigan
Ditto on this one.

A La Carte
Sometimes accessories make it impossible to see how a pattern actually fits. When I looked at the projects for this pattern, I was shocked - they fit completely differently than the pattern version.


Rant over. Please designers, remember that we need to see the truth and nothing but the truth when it comes to your designs. Add all the creative photography you want, but give us some straightforward views, too. And while you're at it, don't forget to include a complete schematic so that we can make the mods we need to make your sweater really fit.


  1. Hester from AtlantaJanuary 14, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Yes to all your comments. Its nice to have pretty pictures, but please also include the realities of the garment: the collar; the sleeves; the front closing; the cuffs; the back, et al. If we knitters are making a committment in time and money to knit your sweater, we really want to know what the darn thing is supposed to look like.

  2. Hear, Hear!!! nothing more frustrating than paying for a pattern just to find out its not right for your body type

  3. This was a pet peeve of Maggie Righetti's when she wrote Knitting in Plain English, and it's still going on!

  4. What about a plus size sweater modeled by a size 2 model?

  5. I had that exact thought about Chocolate Stout! Thank you :)

  6. Hi Julie, glad you posted about this.

    I always feel that when they don't photograph the sweater so that it can be seen in it's entirety, there must be a design flaw that is being hidden.

  7. This is my one complaint about Dark and Stormy, also by Thea Colman. It must have been photographed by the same person. There are several pics within the pattern, but, no full view of the front or back.

    I'm loving the project/pattern but really wish I had a better picture to go by from within the pattern pages. Luckily, I have found a few from fellow knitters on Ravelry.

  8. kimmiekat on RavelryJanuary 15, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    Absolutely! I agree.

  9. You go, Julie! I'm often quite surprised when I see the details in ravelry project photos. Granted, sometimes the knitter has taken some liberties and modified the heck out of the thing, but sometimes I steer clear when I see how the projects are fitting.

  10. I agree totally with weaverpat. I have formed the view, from experience, that: if you can't see the top of the sleeves - then there is a problem with the fit there; if every shot has the model pulling or holding down the edges of a sweater/cardigan - it means the edges curl. Be suspicious of any pattern where sections are being held oddly or hidden in every photo.
    Most effective response is to contact the pattern designer/publisher and say "I was going to buy your pattern, but decided not to because ....". Notifying them that they are missing out on income is a sure-fire way of getting them to alter their actions in future.

  11. yeah!! good for you1 Mary in Cincinnati

  12. I just saw "Helen" by Jill Wolcott over on ravelry. Try and make sense of that one from the pictures! I thought of your post immediately.

  13. what they said............

    Yes, sacrificing clarity for art, in the case of knitting patterns, is a Cardinal Sin, and I have more than once made the decision to not buy a pattern when I couldn't tell from the photographs how it was made, how it was supposed to fit, what the construction details included, and so forth.

    --Lynda in Oregon