Are You Adventurous?

DSC03538We’ve talked about recipes, and I’ve asked if you make the recipe as written, or if you tweak it. Many of you said you used it as written the first time and then made changes the next time (if any). Now I’m wondering about your knit/crochet projects. Do you tweak there? I’ve come to realize that I do. Probably 90% of the time. Socks, shawls, sweaters – all changed. Sometimes it is a small thing – I make the sleeves or body longer. I knit toe-up instead of cuff down. Sometimes it’s a bigger thing – I change the heel construction or move the pattern around a bit. This week, I changed the edging. This pattern was the non-sock pattern that we sent out with our March Sock Club and I love it. We asked Samantha Roshak to take her worsted weight, extremely popular “Shawl That Jazz” and come up with a fingering weight scarf/shawlette version. She did a great job on “A Little Jazz” out of Fiesta Baby Boom. I liked it so much that I cast on immediately. I was looking for a cute pattern to make for a friend of mine, that wouldn’t involve blocking when she hand washes it in the future. (That cut out a lot of fun patterns right there!)

DSC03540I wanted to use a skein of Wollmeise, because my friend Susan (not Elf Susan – she’s knitting her own!) looks so fabulous in reds and pinks. This colorway was perfect. Since Wollmeise is quite a bit lighter than Fiesta Baby Boom, I knew some modifications would be in order. I added stitches to compensate for the difference in gauge (which then changed the number of row repeats in each section) and then realized I’d still have a lot of yarn left over. So why not do the cute, pleated Mara ruffle that I like so much? It seemed like a perfect addition to the body of the scarf. I love how it turned out. And I love how there are a lot of different ways to wear this scarf.

DSC03543We do keep sock club pattern exclusive to the club for 6-9 months after they come out. I know I wasn’t too on top of that with the 2009 patterns! So I promise that this year, we’ll make sure they are available in 6 months. This pattern will go up in early September, so that you have plenty of time to make some for holiday gifts. 🙂

Back to the question I have for you – do you make changes on patterns the first time you knit them? Sometimes? Most of the time? Never? How adventurous are you? Maybe you should pick a pattern and a skein of yarn and jump in and make a change. Just for fun.

Sheri nowreadytomakeoneoftheseformyself


  1. Sheri–The mara scarf turned out great! LUV IT! I am sure your friend Susan will too! Which color of wollmeise red was it? 🙂

  2. Forgot to answer your question! Sometimes I make changes the first time I knit a pattern, but only simple ones. I get nervous about making big changes!!

  3. I usually read patterns with the idea of making changes. I rarely knit anything with the exact yarn the pattern calls for and following the pattern exactly. In fact, I am not sure when the last time was that I followed exactly …

  4. I rarely make changes unless I have to for fit when I first knit something.

    I did love your comment about not having to block at each wash. That’s high on my list.

  5. Sometimes, but usually only to the extent of shortening the sleeves and lengthening the body of sweaters…

  6. For whatever reason even though I’ve been knitting for longer than I’ve been crocheting, I find it easier to modify crocheted items. I think it has to do with how easy it is to safely rip something back in crochet. There is only the one live stitch to throw you in a tizzy!

    Thinking on most of my projects, they rarely are modified beyond length and yarn. The last time I really reworked the entire pattern for my gauge was a long time ago!

  7. When I knit socks, I almost always substitute my preferred heel, which, at this point, I can do automatically (once I’ve calculated where to start gusset increases, and I have a spreadsheet to tell me that, based on my gauge for the toe).

  8. Funny you should ask…

    Today I will be casting on a pair of socks out of Cascade Fixation from Knitting Circles Around Socks – Fixation on Lace, I think, is what they are called. I want to knit them toe-up and I prefer to knit my socks one at a time as I don’t seem to have a problem with second sock syndrome. So I re-wrote the pattern and adjusted it for my narrow feet. I’ll use Judy’s Magic Cast On and Wendy’s toe-up gusset heel.

    As far as sweaters go, I would only change the length of the sleeves or the body. Maybe when I am a little more experienced in sweaters I can make other changes comfortably.

  9. I usually do my heel and toe pattern, but other than that, I follow the pattern. There aren’t many patterns I repeat. I like to do a variety.

  10. Love your modifications, Sheri. This turned out really great!

    I just caked up my Fiesta yesterday to do my sock club Little Jazz shawl. Looking forward to casting on. : )

    As for modifications, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. I think I’m getting braver with experimentation. But some patterns are so perfect just as they are, I go with the pattern – at least the first time around. As I’m knitting I make notes on the pattern about what I’d change then next time.

    I love that knitting allows our creativity to soar.

  11. I almost always make changes. Sometimes just adding selvedge stitches, sometimes adding or deleting rows or stitches to adjust the dimensions to my preference. I generally consider patterns to be suggestions or starting points. I’m short so I got into the habit of modifying as I knit long ago and have never stopped.

  12. It depends on the pattern, I guess. I do tweak for length/size, of course. Often if I make a change it’s to take out something fiddly and do something simpler. Most recent example: Evernstar Mysyery Shawl KAL. I was supposed to do a circular cast on. I suck at those, so I did a long tail. Who cares about a teeny tiny hole in a lace shawl? Not me! I love it.

  13. I want to make that! I want that pattern!

    I am new to knitting, just a few months, but I try out a new stitch pattern each time I try a new yarn. (My current favorite yarn is Malabrigo worsted). Right now I am really only making scarves, neck cozies and fingerless mittens (all the easy stuff) but I want to do wraps and shawls and cowls too. I sell my scarves every year and already have orders for the coming winter – although with the 10″ of snow that fell here last night I don’t think winter has left Colorado just yet!

    So while I am learning new stitches, I am not yet up to changing a pattern. Although I don’t really use a pattern for what I make now, just select a stitch, select a yarn and needle size and go for it! Not sure how adventurous that makes me!

  14. I am not to the point where I make a pattern more than once, with few exceptions.

    I like to make modifications, but I have had some good luck with not needing to… and rather than knitting it again with changes, I pick a new pattern.

    I do wish that I had cast-on more stitches on my Little Jazz that I am doing now. I am at the “knit until you do not want to knit anymore” instruction and I have a LOT of yarn left.

  15. I have to change patterns quite often because of sizing problems. I have a rather big size but not the shape that average designs for “big woman” are made for. Apart from that I sometimes change little details like the way the ribbing is knit or knitting a collar instead of a hood.

  16. I don’t know that I have ever knitted anything with the recommended yarn….lol The reason for that is that I usually choose the yarn first and then go looking for pattern to go with it. But as I have told you before I am 6′ tall and I ALWAYS have to make adjustments to everything that I knit. Which is fine at least I know that they are going to fit. Love the Mara Scarf! What colorway is that I love RED!!!!!

  17. Yes.
    Translation: Sometimes I get really fixated on making a pattern exactly according to the directions. Sometimes I can’t be bothered to rip back to fix a mistake and I can imagine a way to shift things so that the mistake becomes an inspiration. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

  18. Hmm. The answer to this is ‘it depends’. If I am familiar with the item, then I will probably adjust/modify as I go. If it something that I am not familiar with then I will go ahead and try to knit the pattern as written.

    Love the red shawlette for Susan!

  19. Usually some modifications. If it’s a sweater, I modify it to fit, of course. If it’s socks, I modify it just because I can. 🙂

  20. I mostly follow the pattern as is the first time. I’ll make changes if I have to, but only if I’m pretty sure that the item will still turn out ok….. LOL, guess I’m not an adventurous knitter after all. 🙂

  21. I like to tweak patterns to my specs. Mostly on socks because that is what I mostly knit, I substitute my favorite heel and top ribbing and toe and just do the leg in the stitch pattern til I’m ready to move on. Sweaters I’ll make longer and sleeves shorter because I usually only wear 3/4 sleeves or bracelet length. I hate anything constricting on my wrists. Hats I’ll pretty much leave alone as well as most cowls/neckwarmers. Mittens I’ll also modify to my standards.

  22. I almost always make changes. If I’m going to spend all sorts of time and energy on making something for me, I want to get it exactly to my tastes. Of course, when I’m knitting socks, I often don’t use a pattern anyway. I just pick a stitch pattern I like, figure out the gauge, do the math and go!

  23. The scarf is stunning! Red was the right color for it!

    As for the changes. … I am a two at a time sock gal, and love Nancy Bush patterns I have to constantly make tweeks so that my heels line up right on my needles as she loves to center her heels between needles 1 & 4. For other garments I don’t usually make many tweeks unless it’s regarding sizing. Adjusting guage to fit my flabby arms or making the waist shaping a little more dramatic to fit my odd bod. But the more comfortable I get with making a particular garment (scarf – blanket – sock – sweater) the more comfortable I get making changes 🙂

  24. Beautiful scarf! I often tweak patterns but I might not on a more complicated pattern. It just depends on what I think needs tweaking!!! But if I do then, yes, I would tweak it the first time I knit it because it’s not often that I knit a pattern twice.

  25. Love the scarf in RED!

    I do make changes….making them longer. And making them out of different yarn than it is called for. And for my socking knitting, sometimes I will mix it up somewhat.

  26. Yes, I make changes in knitting. Sometimes they are unintentional. Then they become “design elements”. 😉 There are no knitting police, so I view a pattern as “guidelines” for a project. “This is my shawl, based on the idea of Jane Doe’s Winter Wrap II.” Now, since I have not yet successfully knit anything to gauge on purpose, I’m not sure what I”d do with, say, a cardigan pattern with gobs of cables. But I’m willing to try. And part of the fun of this whole knitting, fiber, craft thing is to make something unique to you! Anyone can buy a sweater off the rack. Not everyone can knit one in that perfect yarn blend, hand dyed a wonderful color, that fits your arm length, shoulder width, hips, etc.

  27. I generally don’t make changes unless it’s clear after I’ve begun that I’ve got the gauge wrong and need to change needles or the yarn I’m using is too thick, too thin, too fuzzy, too springy or whatever. I often make the leg of the sock longer or change the kind of heel or toe, but other than those I follow the pattern as written.

  28. When cooking i feel the recipe is more of a suggestion than something written in law, of course baking does not quite fall into the same category. When knitting, i stay fairly true to the pattern. I may tweek a sleeve edge or something, but otherwise i try not to play too much with the math written out in front of me, smile!

  29. I like to dabble in designing and have several “recipes” on Ravelry (needles54) so yes I do tweak probably too often Its never because I don’t like the original design its just my creativity takes me in a different direction, mostly its yarn amounts that cause the tweaking, Like extra or less repeats, different edgings etc but there are definitely some outstanding patterns I would NEVER dream of messing with the designers thought process. Like cooking patterns – tweaking is what makes it all new again. Love the red wollmeise, very pretty!

  30. I’m a pretty linear thinker and tend to stick with the pattern the first time around. I think I changed a sock heel once or twice.

  31. Unfortunately, I almost always change the patterns… but on the sock club patterns I stick to it unless it calls for conventional cast off on toe-up socks – I do want to be able to pull them up!! I also always change sleeves – my arms are long and my shoulders are broad, so the sleeve increases or decreases need to be spread out differently. I don’t necessarily think of this as creative, but product oriented.

  32. Hi! I’m still new, so I don’t make too many drastic changes….usually just yarn weight or number of repeats. As I get more confident, I’m sure I’ll tweak more.

    BTW….How did you add the ruffles? I have the original pattern (or will soon—swapped yarn for it!) but I LOVE the ruffles on your version.

  33. Well my intent is to not change the pattern, but I never knit anything usually without some error. This error is totally “not on purpose” but I usually see the culprit too late to fix it and it, therefore, lives forever in the project. I guess I feel I am making it my own….Sounds good right? Very rarely is a project error free, but that is okay with me.

  34. Usually on socks if they have a short row heel I will change it to a heel flap. I also do a heel stitch instead of some of the pattern where the pattern goes down the heel.

  35. I don’t change the pattern much…I figure these people designing patterns know more than I do . I did make some changes on some scarves – no big deal – but I thought I was a real smarty pants.

  36. I knit socks two at a time and tend to change a pattern to avoid the dreaded YO at the beginning or end of the row. After all who notices an extra knit or purl stitch. Right? I will also usually do what I refer to as my favorite heel in all of the socks I knit because once I finally figured out how to turn the heel etc. Well if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
    When it comes to most other projects I will often pick the yarn first then find a pattern that works, so I think it’s safe to say I don’t use the yarn called for in the pattern unless it’s an accident. Speaking of accidents, I refer to all my knitting errors as happy accidents because since I belong to the I hate to take out something I knit school of knitting I will try to find a way out and thus it becomes a Happy Accident when it works!

  37. Forgot to tell you I really love the shawlette!!! Love the color etc. Certainly looks like you hit on the right yarn for the right pattern combination that we all strive to achieve. Or should I have said right pattern with the perfect modifications.

  38. Most of the time I don’t want to go to the time or trouble to refigure so other than lengthening body, sleeves or adjusting neckline I knit sweaters by the pattern. Sox are subject to my favorite heel and toe but will try different cast on, bind off, etc. Just get right to the knitting, right?

  39. I invariably change sweater patterns. For example, Mr Green Jeans I didn’t change needles and left off some decreases before the cable rib section. I also will omit body shaping decreases in the “midriff area.” I don’t need to decrease there but to increase to help cover the fat rolls. I also will add length to sleeves. If making top down/all one piece, I’ll pick up sts rather than cast on so I don’t have to sew a seam.

    Most of the time, I don’t change other knitted items but that may change.

  40. Unless it’s obvious, I knit as written first. I’m not against frogging to make changes on the fly or knitting a whole new item if it’s small.

  41. Depends.
    If I commit to making, oh, say, a sweater in a TLE knit along and I buy a pattern for an awesome henley, then I will stick to the plan. I swatch and measure and count.

    If I am playing around in knitting and designing, I do all kinds of things, knowing I may need to tink back. I reknitted my first sweater/shell 3 times. I completely unravelled the arms on another-did not like the look.

    In crochet, I just make stuff up. I will look at a stitch or a pattern, but I like just doing stuff. I am making socks in single crocheted Wollmeise and am just tickled with them.

  42. I am a quilter as well as a knitter. I look at all patterns as “suggestions” and then go from there. I like to do my own thing on certain things. I think I change every pattern I use just a little.

  43. It is a rare pattern that I don’t change. I just knit “Skew” and that was the exception that proved the rule: I didn’t dare change that, since the geometry of that sock was so different — so skewed! — that I wasn’t sure what effect changes would have.

    I started out knitting “Mara” with all good intentions, but before I got to the ruffle had totally redesigned it in my head, so it didn’t really turn out as a “Mara” any more (Ravelry link to what I ended up making, I do really like it and should write up the pattern: ).

    Either I’m modifying the yarn or I want to try a different stitch, or I’m doing reverse construction, or or or…. there’s always something! I love creating. It’s what makes knitting fun.

    It’s also what creates a certain amount of frogging, but that is part of the design process, yes?

  44. (I’m just casting on Sam’s pattern with totally different yarn too, so am majorly modifying it. It’ll look great with the mods, too, just hope I’ve guessed/calculated about right with the new stitch count for the amount of yarn I have!)

  45. Almost always a pattern gets changed, just like in my sewing – in order to fit the person it’s meant for (in size and or style) or to use my preferred way of doing things. I follow a pattern as is if it is already the way I want to do it.

  46. I probably change everything I knit, but most of those changes are because I wasn’t paying enough attention to the pattern and don’t want to rip back!

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