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Evaluate a knitting pattern - how it looks on the model

Updated: May 12, 2022

“I wish I knew how to evaluate a pattern to know whether or not it’s ‘good’ before I start knitting.”

I’ve heard so many variations on this one. We want to make sure we, as knitters, are investing in something worth the time and money. This post is the first in a three-part series on evaluating patterns - today we'll cover how to evaluate modeled photos. Part two covers the information provided by the designer (with a deep dive on schematics) and part three talks about how to get the most from other knitter's projects.

Let's make sure we have the right framework for this evaluation

But before we dig in I want to reiterate something I say as often as possible - there's no wrong way to love knitting. A pattern is 'good' if you enjoy working from it and it creates the thing it says it will.

It's very easy to get caught up in whether something is the best, follows all the rules, or otherwise does things 'the right way.'

This industry tends to be staffed by women doing very low-paid work, with very little power when it comes to third-party relationships. That power relationship can be further influenced by systemic racism.

Many designers come to this work because of an inability to work in other industries - maybe they have child care needs and can't be available regular hours, they are nuerodivergent, or they have an ability difference. There's also a range of financial resources - some with the capital to tap lots of experts, others, not so much.

It's worth holding these intersections in mind as we challenge what patterns 'should' offer, and to interrogate whether our expectations are reasonable for a $8-$12 microbook.

So with that in mind, I hope you get some value from this series, and are able to make a more informed purchasing decision!

Reading a sweater on a model

Modeled photos are the gold star for evaluating how a designer envisions the finished sweater’s look, feel, and fit - with a caveat.