This post is a follow-up discussion on the “reductionist” pattern format used by Junghans-Wolle for women’s cardigan Modell 434/2, free on its website. (I reduced its size below.)
I like the way the patterns change for the back and front pieces for the larger sizes rather than simply making the smaller sizes bigger. Kudos! (I worked in a yarn school when I was in grad school and saw far too many larger women who were disappointed with finished unflattering garments clearly designed for smaller women.)
I like the abbreviated instructions. Combined with the schematics, the user would have to carry with her (or read electronically) only 2 pages! (I’ve used U.S. patterns that were 8 pages long, and the rambling narrative serves only to, at best, frustrate me, and, at worst, annoy me. I also find it difficult to commit to memory patterns written in rambling narrative.)
It took me a bit to “get” the German instructions – especially when they were abbreviated. I went among DROP’s on-line knitting translation site, Heathman’s Knitting Languages, and people experienced with German knitting terminology until it “clicked” in my head.
I think there are serious drawbacks, however, that could discourage many knitters from using a pattern like this.
The instructions appear overly complex.
- The use of abbreviations and characters (such as “x” meaning “times”) could intimidate newer knitters or someone knitting without a more experienced knitter by her side.
- The user could get lost “in the numbers.” As I saw too often when I was teaching, many people are intimidated by numbers. I regularly heard protests of “I don’t do math.” (One student said, “I didn’t think this was a calculus class!” Hmmm. If he thought if the math knowledge I expected in my classes was calculus, he had no business being in college.)
One person – an experienced knitter and designer – told me she thought the Junghans-Wolle pattern daunting and the instructions overly complex, especially for a simple garment. She commented that it looked as though Junghans-Wolle was trying out the Japanese way of writing patterns. (I hadn’t thought of that!)
So, in sum, while I really like this very reductionist style of pattern construction, I don’t think this is a good pattern format for …
- for those who want/need step-by-step instructions;
- beginners and, perhaps, many intermediate knitters;
- people who have not read and knit from pattern instructions written in German (and are unwilling or unable to put in the time to figure it out).
What do YOU think?