Episode 23: A Breakthrough, And the Nazis Love Me!

First of all, guys, we have to talk about something. A while ago I mentioned briefly that one of my (many) side projects is an afghan using Barbara Walker’s mosaic knitting technique, and that her book of mosaic knitting patterns is about 50% normal, pretty designs like stars and circles and stuff and 50% swastikas. I thought it was pretty random and funny enough to mention offhandedly, and I didn’t think much of it until I saw that four people yesterday alone found my blog by searching for swastika knitting patterns.

In fact, these are the top five search terms that bring people here:

What the hell, people?! Why has my blog become a haven for Nazi knitters? Why is this happening to me? I just wanted to knit a wedding dress…

On that front, commenter Sarah suggested that I try using a pattern to fill in some of those enormous question mark-shaped holes in my dress-making plan. I don’t know why the hell this never occurred to me before, but it took about 5 minutes of Googling to find this gorgeous, perfect pattern:

I’m so excited about this, I spent the entire day biting my nails, giggling quietly, and waiting for the minute I would get to go home and start knitting.

However.

I don’t sew. I wish I did; friends and family keep encouraging me to. I picked up knitting/crocheting as a way to keep my hands busy while watching TV, which meant it was a pretty social (well, for me) thing to do. Sewing, at least machine sewing, requires time in isolation with a loud machine, so I never picked it up. That means I’ve never learned to read a sewing pattern. And holy shit, you guys, they are INSANE.

This one is 82 pages long. EIGHTY TWO PAGES of strange, foreign symbols and lines. I bought it as a printable pattern, which was apparently kind of dumb because when you buy them as a book the pattern comes as this huge transparent sheet that you’re supposed to put on top of your fabric before you cut it. By contrast, a knitting pattern for an article of clothing is usually 2-4 pages long and comes with a nice little line drawing to show you what the dimensions are supposed to be. I guess I was just expecting a line drawing, maybe with some arrows or something, and helpful brackets explaining how long each piece should be. That, it turns out, is totally not what sewing patterns are.

This is not at all what my sewing pattern looks like.

So stay tuned for next time, when I hijack a room of my house and tape 82 pages together on the floor, then attempt to decipher it! Exciting! Fun! Not at all intimidating!

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7 responses

  1. Yay! I’m glad you found one you like! Boo, it’s 82 pages long!

    Is the file email-able? I CAN read patterns (and draw them) … so I’d be willing to take a look at it and decipher it, if you’d like. =)

    • Thank you so much for the offer! The pattern is super secure, though — I can’t even save the PDF, and I only get two or three downloads to print it. It looks really scary printed out — like a book of Picasso’s blueprints for a house, as transcribed from a fever dream — but I’m hoping once I lay the pages out in order it’ll make more sense.

      • Ah, ok. In that case, here’s a quick primer for reading a pattern:

        The first few pages will be minatures of all the pattern pieces … telling you which ones go to which dress (since there are 2 patterns in there) … and all the instructions. SAVE THESE PAGES, THEY’RE SUPER HELPFUL.

        From there, you’ll have the ton of pages that make up the pattern itself. There will be multiples of each piece (for different sizes), so don’t worry about that. You’ll be looking for the pieces to dress B (you can find all the numbers on the first few pages). There will also be overlay and lining pieces … you’re looking for overlay, to correctly shape your lace.The rest can be thrown away.

        From looking at the mock-up on the pattern website, this actually looks like a pretty easy (I know you hate to hear that, but to someone who works in patterns, it is) design. My guess is there will be 3 pieces to the skirt (the front, the “side-back” or “side-front” (you’ll need 2 of that piece … one for each side) and the back (you’ll need 2 of these, too, if you’re not going to make a hugely wide piece of lace).

        The easiest would probably be to cut sheets (or other cheap fabric) out, so that you can pin them together and see how it works. As a bonus, those cut pieces become your pattern and you can ditch the paper.

        Ok, that was pretty confusing. If you need help, let me know!

  2. That actually makes a lot of sense (at least until I have the pattern in front of me and suddenly can’t figure out what matches up to what). It’s nice that it probably comes with a pattern for the liner, because I actually am planning on trying to sew that myself. First I have to learn how to use my sewing machine, though 🙂

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