My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Next Up

I completed my Not-Viajante last week and here it is, being modeled by Gwendolyn:



As I mentioned in this blog post, I changed the rate of increase to make a wider, shorter piece, and the results are, for me, much more wearable. On the short side, the bottom of the piece hits me at the wrist, and on the long side it’s just a few inches longer. While it is not as dramatic a piece as the original, I think I’ll wear this one a lot more.

I used 3 skeins of Three Irish Girls Kells merino wool sportweight (just under 1000 yards) and a U.S. size 7 needle.

What’s on the needles now? A cardigan design called Midnight Waterfall.

This pattern caught my eye as soon as it was posted on Ravelry. I think it is beautiful. The original called for Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, but I am using Handmaiden Mini Maiden, another lovely one-ply fingering weight yarn. Mini Maiden is a 50/50 wool/silk blend and I’ve used it in the past with great results. I am using completely different colors from those in the original — my colors are wine, Cocoa, and Cactus Flower. I’m using a 3.25mm needle.

I have completed one of the back modular panels:



And have just started the second one:



The pattern for the mitered pieces is a bit different — there are a number of slipped stitches that give the pieces a stained glass look (if you follow the link above to the Ravelry page for this pattern you’ll see what I mean.) I knit the first square as directed, but in the colors I am using, the slipped stitches obscured the other color and I did not like how they looked. So I am knitting mine with just stripes, so slipped stitches.

Honesty compels me to tell you that I would not recommend this pattern unless you are an experienced knitter who can read between the lines and make assumptions about what the designer does not tell you. The pattern is very vague and, I think, poorly written. After working on the design for a few hours, I left this comment on the Ravelry pattern page:

I fell in love with this design the moment I laid eyes on it. I’ve just started knitting it and have a few questions/comments as I have found the pattern to be somewhat vague and confusing in places:

On the back mitered panels – is the first row you work for each of the squares and triangles supposed to be a wrong-side row? By trial and error I figured it must be, judging from where the slipped stitches are — one usually slips the first stitch of a row, not the last. If so, you might want to note this on the pattern as most of the time odd-numbered rows are right-side rows, not wrong-side rows.

For some of the pieces, you do not specify in the pattern which color to use (like the back middle panel, the side backs, side fronts, and collar). While one can figure this out by looking at the photos, if one were to print the pattern out in black & white (as I have), it is not obvious which color to use.

In a couple of cases in the pattern you call a triangle a square (you refer to Square 2C and Square 3C at the bottom left of the second page, for example).

It might be helpful to include more instruction on how to sew the pieces together for the back, possibly indicating the placement of the pieces on the schematic. While you can figure it out by looking at the photos, I think less-experienced knitters would appreciate more than simply “sew or crochet all 3 pieces together.”

I respectfully suggest that you might wish to expand the instructions for knitting the collar (which actually is the front band AND the collar), indicating where to start and end picking up stitches, possibly indicating where one should be on the body of the sweater at each point where one places a marker. While experienced knitters will be able to figure this out, I think it would be confusing for newer knitters.

The designer responded to my comment within a couple of hours of my posting it, thanking me for my suggestions and saying she would update the pattern accordingly. She did post an updated pattern very quickly — the same day. I appreciate such a quick response. However, the updated pattern does not address everything I pointed out, and I have since found more areas that could benefit from a re-write and more explanation.

I’m not saying this to diss the pattern. I really love this design — I think it’s one of the most beautiful cardigans I’ve seen in a long time. But it is also the most poorly-written pattern I can remember working with in a long time. Your mileage may vary — different people perceive things differently, so maybe it’s just me. But I don’t feel right about not issuing a warning. You’ll get no hand-holding or detailed instructions for some pieces of this  design. It is not a difficult pattern by all means, but it is complex in that there are a lot of different pieces and stitch patterns involved and you will have to figure out a lot of the details of construction by looking at the photos.

Okay, I’ve said my piece. 🙂 Now I have a fluffy kitty waiting to play with me!



  1. Thanks Wendy for the honest review. While I understand that some knitters want no frills patterns, others like to be guided. It would be good if designers told perspective knitters in advance which type of pattern it is.

  2. KateJonze says:

    I am one of those who need a bit of hand-holding. I can do the stitches, but have not knit enough sweaters to be able to read between the lines. I hope other designers see your note and take your advice with their patterns.

    Love, love, love Loki!!

  3. Wendy: I do appreciate your reviews of the patterns you knit as I don’t have that much knitting time (at least until I retire) nor do I knit as fast as you. You are very experienced, and your comments save the rest of us a lot of frustration. Can’t wait to see the finished product. Loki looks so at home….

  4. Hysterical. And you’re so polite about it. Lol. And the cat is still gorgeous.

  5. That is a beautiful cardigan, and I really like the colors you have chosen. I also appreciate your constructive criticism of the pattern. What you have pointed out could be really helpful for anyone looking to write a pattern. Your observations are also very informative to knitters considering this pattern.
    Sarah´s last blog post ..Dispatch from the Patch

  6. Linda Broglan says:

    Beautiful sweater, and I love the look.
    I would need a great deal more than handholding to knit it though, and I’m glad you post regarding the experience it needs to complete it.
    Loki gets more and more handsome with each posting! You must agree with his mental well being.:-)

  7. Love seeing pictures of Loki. He must be really happy and well cared for because he is getting more fluffy in each picture.
    did you say he was a rescue cat?

  8. Gail Roach says:

    Wow, I too fell in love with this cardigan. I’ll also have to change colors as that yellowy green makes me look very ill. I appreciate the concerns you expressed on the pattern. Since the designer responded so quickly, maybe the other areas are being adjusted, just take a bit more time. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.

  9. It is a very interesting cardigan and so glad you followed up with the designer. Glad she responded promptly and hope that other areas will be addressed. Having someone like you to review patterns so clearly is very helpful. Big thank you! Give Loki a treat for me!

  10. Mary Tole says:

    I truly appreciate your input on how the pattern instructions are written and possible ways of altering the pattern as you did with Viajante, which is lovely by the way. I consider myself an intermediate knitter but I guess I am not a visual person and I hate guessing at what the instructions mean. I keep muttering to myself….why can’t you just say what you mean. I am working on a pattern like that now, I love the designer but I don’t always grasp her instructions. The fluffy king is looking gorgeous and so sweet.

  11. The colors you chose for the cardigan are stunning. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished sweater.

  12. Love your Not-Viajante; you did a fantastic job knitting it. Regarding the new cardigan you are knitting; love your color choices. Also, not being that an experienced knitter I sure do appreciate your input regarding the pattern instructions.

    Loki is looking more fluffy each and every picture you post.

  13. I really appreciate your pattern review. I love the sweater too. But I cannot spend the money being charged for a pattern that is not a pattern,

  14. Beautiful pattern and I think the colors you’ve chosen are equally lovely. This is not a pattern I would ever attempt, since I’m pretty much a novice. However, reading your analysis and your comments always helps me learn a little – if nothing else that I need fairly explicit patterns.

  15. Loki, you are workin’ it! You look like a glorious feather boa!

  16. Wow, I can see why you fell so hard for that sweater, it is gorgeous and just the kind of thing I love to knit as well. Your colors will take it to the next level. I appreciate your honesty about your experience with the pattern. A little heads up before buying a pattern like that is a valuable thing. I sometimes hesitate to buy patterns from designers that I am not familiar with for that very reason. Will you be posting your “clarifications” on your project page or in a forum for anybody else who might be thinking about buying/making the pattern?

  17. The pattern is very attractive, and I can see why you fell in love with it. Your colors are beautiful! Thanks for giving the advice about the pattern.
    Suzanne´s last blog post ..Experimenting with Design

  18. Annastasia says:

    The world needs more tech editors. I could not believe how much tech editing I used to do when we received patterns. It was atrocious. Ugh.

  19. THIS is why we want you to keep on bloggin’!! That is one gorgeous cardigan and your color choices just sing to me!! I can’t wait to see the finished product. Maybe by the time my skills and available knitting time increase enough to consider this, all the kinks will be worked out. Okay, that’s an oxymoron. If I have the skills, I’ll be able to work around the kinks… Help Loki, I am losing my mind!!

  20. It’s a beautiful piece, but thanks for the warning! I’ll make sure to read through it with a notepad, a highlighter, and Ravelry on speed-dial (so to speak) if I decide to knit this one.
    Nicole´s last blog post ..ROW Update: Week #1

  21. Sharen Warren says:

    Thanks for the “heads up” since I often find that I want to knit your projects. I did order the pattern because I have a stash of Koigu in similar colors to the original, May have to make vest though unless I buy more of the semi-solid dark blue, but that’s what happens when you shop your stash lol!