Continuing our February theme of what we love, I want to talk about designers I love. There are plenty of folks out there posting patterns for spectacular sweaters, hats, cowls, and more, but not all designers are created equal. In my book, certain designers enjoy Rockstar status. What makes a designer a Rocktar? You might be surprised, because it's definitely not how many favorites or how many projects their designs enjoy on Ravelry.
Here are 5 things that Rockstar designers' patterns have
Gorgeous garments that you would buy in the store. Sometimes we choose patterns because they look easy and fun to knit, but if you saw that same garment on the rack at the store, you wouldn't give it a second look. As a knitter, you're sinking many hours and many dollars into your sweater - it should be something that makes you feel fabulous and makes your friends ask you where you got it.
Clear, detailed, and specific, instructions. With a great knitting pattern, even a beginner can succeed. They specify what kind of increases and decreases to use and exactly where to make them. They spell out how to work the left front rather than just saying "Work left front as for right, reversing all shapings." It takes more time and effort, and more paper space, but since so many patterns are electronic, I think more information and support is always better.
Accurate instructions. How frustrating is it when you find that the numbers for the neckline or shoulder or whatever are totally off, and you rip it out half a dozen times before you find that the pattern is actually completely wrong in that size. Yes, pattern drafting is complicated, and we all make mistakes, but Rock Star designers are knitters themselves, and they use good test knitters and anal-retentive tech editors.
Reasonable size range. I've seen patterns with bust sizes like Small 34", Medium 38", Large 42". I'm sorry, but that is lame. Many American women are outside that size range and shouldn't be excluded from knitting good-looking garments for themselves. Yes, it's more work to draft plus sizes. You can't simply extrapolate all the measurements and expect it to work. The shoulders will be too wide, the armholes too deep, and the shaping will just be wrong.
Honest pattern photos and complete schematics. The patterns in many knitting magazines are gorgeous, but you've got to remember that these garments are all professionally lighted, exquisitely styled, and most importantly, they are probably pinned to create a particular silhouette. The garment depicted is not necessarily what you will get if you follow the pattern as written. Rockstar patterns have schematics that show you the exact size and shape of what you're knitting so that you can choose to modify the pattern to suit your figure and your taste.
So, there you have it. My standards are high, but they're not unreachable. In fact, there are loads of Rockstar designers who put out consistently great patterns. I'll post some of my favorites later this week. Stay warm and stay tuned!