Sunday, April 22, 2007

In defense

In the comments of the last post, a couple of you expressed shock and displeasure over the Jenna Wilson's quote. In defense of Jenna, I want to set a couple of things straight.

First, in my email to Jenna, I asked her advice on the impossible. I am between two sizes in the Morrigan pattern. After reading the pattern, I realized that there was pretty much NO HOPE of ever resizing the pattern. If you read the pattern you will understand why. The sweater is entirely cabled. There are no stockinette panels to play around with. All the shaping in the sweater is done by changes in the cable patterns. Jenna created the different sizes for the sweater by playing around with the number and arrangement of cable patterns.

Second, the quote was only the first sentence in very lengthy email from Jenna. Although Jenna did not have a super secret way to easily resize the sweater, she gave me a lot of information about the fit (ease) of the sweater and instructions on how to lengthen the sweater. She was extremely helpful and kind.

Third, the fact that Jenna has not knit the sweater is not as unusual as you might think. Many knitwear designers, particularly big-name full-time designers, simply do not have the time to knit every single garment that they design. Most of these designers employ sample knitters—skilled knitters who make the garments that you see in books and magazines.* If you lose respect for a designer simply because he or she has not knit one of his or her garments, then I suspect that you will be losing respect for designers such as Fiona Ellis, Norah Gaughan, Annie Modesitt, and many others.

I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for Jenna Wilson. She created a beautiful and amazingly complex sweater by swatching and using math. The fact that she was able to do this without ever handling the garment is a tribute to her skill and ability as a designer.

Coming up soon:
Peter’s vest—finished and modeled!
What I did this weekend. Hint: It involved math and two people named Amy and Jillian.

* Also note that sample knitters are different from “test knitters.” Test knitters are knitters of any ability who are given the pattern to test. Sample knitters are experienced knitters who are paid to produce a perfect garment.


Rachel said...

First! How unlike me. Though I admit that in my hurry to be first, I haven't even read your post yet. I hope it's not about some horrible tragedy that has befallen you. I'm going back to check now.

Helen said...

i cannot WAIT to see that sweater. mmmm. i know you will have a grand old time knitting pink cables. again. but they're tiny this time.

okay okay. i never point out the word verification because it is generally crap. but today it is "zanynp" yes. you are zany. no prob.


LaBean said...

Wow. And to think, I didn't even bat an eye when I read that comment... goes to show just how commonplace this is. You are so right about this.

Karen said...

*patiently waits to see how the class with Amy was*

KeanaLee said...

Can't wait to see it!
Quite frankly I wish I had a litte "sample knitter elf" living in my closet. I could yarn shop all day & in the evening give him the stuff & just like that in the morning I would have a new garment. Then he could sleep all day & I would go yarn shopping again!

Cordelia said...

Yes -- Jenna had a post on her blog about how wonderful Wannetta(?) was for knitting up the sweater, and I'm pretty sure Jenna's post even had a very sweet comment about how she -- Jenna -- couldn't have done it as well.
Love math. Can't wait to hear about it. :-)

Obsessed with knitting said...

Well done! Maybe you should be a knitting editor/test knitter?

Wannietta said...

Hi Laura - I found you through your Morrigan on Ravelry. Jenna was definitely the brains of the operation! To her credit, Jenna did start knitting Morrigan, but when deadlines loom like the Sword of Damocles, my specialty - speed - comes in handy. I look forward to seeing your progress!