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Following Instructions

My very first knitting project was improvised – as were several of the follow-up projects. I referenced some patterns for those early ideas, but for the most part, I wanted to see what I could figure out with the skills I’d picked up. I knit from patterns somewhat more frequently now, but I will often add tweaks of my own, whether it’s just recopying the instructions in a format that’s more intuitive for me to read, or adjusting the construction of the finished item, or even lifting a lace or color motif from one item to place it in another finished object.

That said, it’s hard to say whether or not I have a favorite pattern or designer. I own two patterns by Nim Teasdale, which is to date the most money I’ve spent on a single designer – her mix-and-match approach to lace charts appeals to my need for improvisation, and her instructions and charts are incredibly well-written. I also adore the Universal Toe-Up Sock Formula. It does what I like to do with a pattern in my head, breaking down the basic architecture of a knitted item into a series of if-then decisions to make infinitely customizable finished objects (in this case, socks). I’m always finding new things to favorite or add to my library on Ravelry, though, so we’ll have to see – maybe in 2017 I’ll really fall in love with a pattern or a designer once and for all.


The beginning of a universal sock, done with a moss-stitch texture on the top and extra fitting construction details in a worsted-weight yarn.