Test knitters are goddesses

Well, it’s clear enough I can’t get my shit together when it comes to the Fibo (evidence here and here). I work too hard, I don’t work hard enough, it comes out too big, it comes out too small, I rely too much on math, I don’t use math enough, I should ditch the pattern, but I want it to look like the picture, I use too many obscure geometry tools, I haven’t yet whipped out my abacus (is there any doubt I know how to use one?), I worry how it’s going to fit once I change everything, I should just squint one eye and wing it, and so on. Maybe the beaded sweater was just meant to be knit the way it’s written? Maybe this particular design is too rigid to allow alterations to de-poof the sleeves and make them longer and rearrange the beads following the Fibonacci sequence? Whatevs, dudes, I’m leaving it alone for now.

Some knitting things in my life are going quite well, though! I don’t think I’m revealing a secret (because I’ve told this to so many of you in individual e-mails), but I’ve been working on patterns for the Tivoli t-shirt in extended sizes!

I often notice that knitwear patterns just proportionally increase or decrease various measurements for multiple sizes. It makes sense to make a bigger bust circumference for a bigger person, but does it also make sense to make bigger armholes or a bigger neck opening? Or make the garment longer? I am learning like the rest of us, so when thinking about making larger and smaller Tivolis, I recruited real people, with real shoulders and arms and bums. We made a deal: I would ask them for their measurements (and some were really out there), and I would create a Tivoli pattern to the best of my garment-construction knowledge. They would knit the pattern and give me feedback. Then, I would make the new size available to the public.

Because my test knitters are loyal blog readers and I like to think of them as my friends (awww!), I did not get all Grumperina on them, and let them use whatever yarn with whatever gauge they wanted :). I think that’s only fair. Perhaps confusing in the long run (uhm, for this size the pattern is written in Yarn X, and for this size the pattern is written in Yarn Y), but observe as I don’t care. Lalalamwahahalala!

After receiving the test knitters’ measurements, I wrote the patterns, and that was really painless compared to freakin’ de-poofing the Fibo sleeves. A little time went by, and I saw the pictures of the first completed Tivolis from Carolyn and Tara.


And then I got very emotional. There was a bit of calling the co-workers over to my computer and letting them marvel at the t-shirts (they couldn’t understand how a well-fitting tee someone else was wearing made me so happy), and a lot of clasping of my hands in delight, and maybe even a shriek of glee :). Why?

When Joelene knit a beautiful iPod cozy, I was so happy! However, there was no surprise because I knew the cozy would fit. Unlike people, all iPods (of the same model) are all the same size! So, knitting an iPod cozy following the pattern is guaranteed success.

Not so for the Tivoli tee! How could I know that the numbers and directions I think would make Carolyn and Tara good-fitting shirts would actually work out? (And in the case of Carolyn’s pattern, they didn’t at first: what you see is the second version of Carolyn’s Tivoli.) It’s hard to describe, but writing a pattern that I will never knit, based on someone else’s dimensions is a very distant, removed, uncertain process. I write, knit 36 stitches then SSK, but I’ll never touch the yarn and the needles and actually do it. Weird.

But now they’re done, and I took one look at them, and they were well-knit, good-fitting, and Carolyn and Tara are happy. Folks, how can I argue with that?!?

Why do I have to be such a sap? I guess a good-fitting pattern does that to a woman.

Bottom line: two more Tivoli sizes are available! Finished bust dimensions: 31″ (knit from Debbie Bliss Cathay) and 37″ (knit from KnitPicks Shine). Click on the sidebar icon to read all about it!


33 thoughts on “Test knitters are goddesses

  1. Stephanie

    WooHoo!!!!! I just want to drop the stupid Zip Cardi and start on mine. Maybe I will. As soon as I finish this sleeve. How fabulous that they worked out (I had no doubt that they would, just so you know), but very cool none the less.

  2. Joelene

    What an awesome idea. I can imagine how great it must be to see you work be well fitting. I am learning alot from you in how to make a well fitting sweater, becasue I have issue that prevent “well fitting.” Anyway you really are an inspiration.

  3. Jen

    Your T looks fantastic! I have some cotton fleece that I am absolutely dying to use for something, and if I ever finish the other summer thing I am working on (I’m an impossibly slow knitter), I’m totally making this.

  4. Christiane

    Absolutely marvelous. I printed out your original pattern, and was going to adjust it for a 37″ or 38″ size, so I’m grateful you saved me some time.

    Thanks so much!

  5. Judy

    How ‘out there’ are those measurements? Being a person of, um, generous proportions, I’d be willing to test-knit something for you some time, but I need sleeves to cover up the bat wings. 😉 Anyhow, if you ever need a plus-size tester, let me know!

  6. dragonridermom

    Those sweaters are so flattering. Although I am sure these women would look great in anything, your Ts make them look freaking gorgeous!! So now I need to loose some wait and you need to make the next size up. Pretty, pretty please!!

  7. Purly Whites

    You are so impressive! Congratulations on all your work. It’s so great to have such a thoughtful and detailed knitter doing this sort of thing. It helps me learn so much about the process of knitting things that actually fit. This is definitely on my list of things I want to knit.

  8. Laura

    Kathy, you are now officially my knitting hero. (Ok, you were pretty much my knitting hero before, but now you have sealed the deal.) Thank you so much for posting more sizes of your T-shirt. I volunteer to test knit anything for you in the future.

  9. paula

    Wow! How cool are you? 🙂

    They both look great. I must have one now — despite my flabby arms. Hehehe.

    It must feel so good…

  10. Karma

    And you are, still, and maybe even moreso, my personal knitting rockstar. I will make a Tivoli for myself, I will! I’m counting down the days until my summer break begins and I can become completely knitting project consumed. Until then, I will just sigh and smile and feel happy for the others whose Tivolis fit them absolutely perfectly. 🙂

  11. Tara

    Girl, I’m blushing! I’m so very very glad that you’re so happy with our results. 🙂 And how completely random that Carolyn and I finished at the same time? Thanks for the opportunity to “help out”. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, so don’t hesitate to ask again!

  12. blossom

    thank you so much for a wonderful pattern, i’m definitely going to make this one! you should start a reader gallery!

  13. Betsy

    Yay, I get to be a goddess!

    I love how these two look. I think you did a great job choosing a range of body sizes. And I’m just so happy because so far mine’s the brightest!

    Good job Kathy and fellow test knitters! 🙂

  14. andrea

    “Lalalamwahahalala!” hee, i love it – i tried saying it out load a good ten times and it immediately made me laugh and laugh 😉 thanks – and beautiful pattern, i’m printing it out right now.

  15. jacqueline

    I am so impressed. I have a friend who is a rather strange size who has been lamenting this very fact for years. One of her pet grips is that by proportionately increasing patterns – knitwear designers give her shoulders that look like a football player.

    I’m also happy because you test knitted my size!

  16. CatBookMom

    Well, y’know, it’s just what you’ve made us expect from a Grumperina Design – Fabulous! Attention to detail! Well-documented! Accurate math! Etc!!

    And then there’s the fame factor – after all, to have your blog come up #2 and #3 on a google of the Pretty Comfy sock! – that’s at least 20 minutes, right?? And Elann, and the Annie thing…

    Guess I’m going to have to visit Massachusetts before you get too busy to SnB with your left-coast buds!! LOL!!!!

  17. Kate

    Woop woop! They look beautiful — great job to the knitters and the designer.

    Yay for the Tivoli! I may have to knit up one for myself now…

  18. sharon

    the tivoli looks awesome, i think i have to try it in the larger size, good think weight watchers is working…maybe by the time i have the knitting done, the top will fit – its nice to see a pattern for a more “womanly” shape


  19. Tipper

    Darn, I wish I would’ve known about this, cause I would’ve submitted my substantially chubby measurements. 🙂 I love your pattern; I’ll probably just end up tweaking it myself!

  20. emy

    I must be twice lucky today. The smallest size is exactly right smack with my own body measurements. So I really have to knit it up right? 🙂

  21. Yuvi

    Your Tivoli looks really great!! I really want to make one for myself, despite my more-than-flabby arms. You’ve got my size, and I’ve got the same yarn in the same amount!! How great is that????

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