Friday, April 24, 2015

FO Friday: Newborn Vertebrae Cardigan

Now that it's been gifted, I can share this FO here on my blog! I recently knit the Newborn Vertebrae cardigan for a family member who's expecting a baby later this spring. The pattern is available for free on here Ravelry, and I have seen so many cute projects posted on Instagram, Ravelry and blogs in my reader that I couldn't resist making one of my own.
I used a beautiful skein of hand-dyed yarn from Anzula, a fingering weight blend of Seacell and merino called Sebastian. The colorway, Curry, is the most gorgeous color of yellow I've ever seen - and perfect for a unisex baby project!
While I think the resulting garment is cute (and the folks I gifted it to certainly loved it), I can't say I was totally in love with the pattern. For whatever reason, I seemed to be cursed from the start - I keep messing up the decreases as I knit and had to rip back a few times. I also am not totally sold on the frontless cardigan for a baby - or for anyone, for that matter! I did add about 6 stitches to both sides to try to add a little more fabric to the front, but even that doesn't seem like enough to me.

I think I'm just done with free patterns, because it seems like you get what you pay for. And I'm not saying this is a badly-written pattern, though there were a few things which I thought could have been better worded here and there. As far as free patterns go, this is probably one of the better ones out there - in general, the ones I've come across have been rather atrocious. While I'm speaking in generalities, it seems like most free patterns do lack a certain completeness that prevents them from being truly great patterns, and I can understand the why behind it: who in their right mind would want to invest a great deal of time and effort into something which doesn't give them a return on that investment?
The subject of free patterns is a pretty heated one, especially amongst the designer community on Ravelry. I can totally understand the arguments on both sides, but as a crafter I can tell you that my preference is now to purchase a pattern from someone I know and trust to have accurate, complete patterns. There is nothing more disappointing that purchasing a pattern that is poorly written and maybe even unknittable - that's for sure, and free patterns can be a great way to sample a designer's work to see if their style of pattern-writing works for you. And there are definitely some well-written free patterns out there (Stacey Trock, I'm looking at you!), but I would rather rather purchase a pattern and support knitwear and crochet designers and give them a reason to design more of their time, money and effort into their work. To me, it's worth the risk that I might, from time to time, purchase a disappointing pattern, but to be honest, I haven't had that experience in quite a while.

But enough of my rambling - I'd love to hear your thoughts on free vs. paid patterns in the comments below!


  1. A lot of people seem to post free patterns as 'practice', too. Just kind of dipping their toes in the waters of designing. For that purpose, I think they're useful. Similarly, they are helpful in knowing whether or not you like a designer's style. Nothing bugs me more than to buy a pattern that I hate using for one reason or another. But I agree, paid patterns are generally better value, ONLY if they've been test knitted/tech edited. I've paid for shitty patterns that were definitely not worth the money.

    1. Also I meant to say, the open front cardi thing might be useful for babies to avoid spit-up and spill stains! But otherwise, I'm not a fan of the open look, either.