The competition was announced very shortly after I'd had a double-echo-chamber-escape few weeks, with an article in the Guardian and a talk at Ignite London 4. Fun as those both were, they were quite hard work, and I thought that for my competition entry I'd do something a bit more like recreation, and a good deal more off the wall...
|...Introducing 'Classmark mittens', a librarian's answer to cold working environments and a compulsion to knit.|
Why on earth write a knitting pattern?Firstly, it's fun. Secondly, it's a way of connecting with lots of new people. There's a social network for knitters (and crocheters, spinners, designers and so on), Ravelry, with over 1,000,000 members in lots of countries. It's a brilliant resource - with hundreds of active fora on specialist and general topics, an enormous (and gorgeously organised) patterns database, yarn databases, space for members to record their projects and yarn and what patterns they own and the like, and space for designers to publish their own patterns.
So, for my LISNPN competition entry I've designed a library-inspired knitting pattern, popped a wee smidgen of library advocacy into its introductory text, and set it loose.
You can get the pdf here without needing to be a member of Ravelry.
Ravelry's pattern database contains over 200,000 patterns: these are all catalogued with relevant metadata including the sort of yarn they use, the type of garment, size/age/fit/gender, amount of yarn needed, pattern source and availability, needle size needed, and so on. That's one way that I hope people will find the pattern - by browsing for a pattern that meets their specific requirements.
I've also publicised the pattern by using a pattern testers group to find volunteer test-knitters who've ironed out lots of typos and unclear bits in the pattern as well as created their own project pages for it, including difficulty and pattern quality ratings. I'm also posting to various relevant groups that have threads for designers to show off their new patterns. I'm not expecting this pattern to become a blockbuster like some (Ravelry's most popular pattern, 'Fetching' by Cheryl Niamath, has 17,640 registered projects), but it might reach a few people, and that's not bad for something I really enjoyed putting together.
|Anatomy of a Mitten|
About the mittenThe pattern is for a fingerless mitten with a thumb gusset (not an afterthought thumb) and a mid-length buttoned cuff in a mistake-rib pattern. The cuff is knitted flat and the knitting is then joined in the round for the hand and thumb. The hand and thumb are knitted in stocking stitch and finished with a mistake-rib and garter-stitch edging.
The pattern on the cuff is inspired by the appearance of bookshelves. After extensive swatching, I decided I just couldn't work out how to represent 'information services' in knitting, and opted for the easy (and stereotyped) option!
I'm not really sure if a knitting pattern, of all things, help to dispel the grumpy-grey-haired-bun-wearing-cardigan-toting-librarian stereotype, but probably everything that keeps libraries in people's minds is a good thing.