A Red Hoodie for My Boy

I have a love/hate relationship with Debbie Bliss Patterns. On the one hand, I buy her books and magazines every chance that I get. I love them – they are perfect eye candy for the knitter. The designs are all so lovely, and the photography is always gorgeous. I thumb through her publications and admire the clean lines, the attention to detail. I am always inspired. I want to knit about 75% of the Debbie Bliss patterns that I own – and have knit four of them so far. This is the fourth:

It is Hoodie, from Essential Knits for kids, knit in Paton’s Classic Wool Bright Red. My Ravelry project page is here.

And it is a perfect example of all that bothers me about Bliss Patterns.

First. I got gauge. I swear that I did. I checked it and rechecked it and then I checked it again. I got gauge spot on. And yet, this sweater, that claims to be a size 5-6, knit up to be an oversized sweater on my eight year old. I had to add 3″ to the body and a whopping 7″ to the sleeves, just to make it proportional! And, do you see that hood? That is the hood for the smaller, size 3-4 sweater! What enormously fat five year old was this pattern written for, anyway? This is not the first time I have run into grossly disproportionate kid patterns in this book, or some of her others.

Second. The pattern was written to be knit in peices and seamed, as most of Bliss patterns are. Now, I know that there are those who prefer this method, and that is fine. A little brain work on my part, and I easily turned it into a knit-in-the-round pattern. But, it blew my mind, that even the collar goes out of it’s way to be knit back and forth on straights – adding a bulky seam up the side of the neck and an extra three lines of instruction to accomplish this ugly thing. Weird.

Third. How hard is it to throw a chart in there, really? I am a visual girl. Please, show me the pattern.

Fourth. This one is a minor point, but some out there may agree with me. When I have cables and ribs, I like them to blend in to the ribbed collar – like this does in the front:

Nice, right? But, look at the back:

At least the hood covers it.

Okay, end of rant.

In the end, I had about 5 yards of yarn left, and that was because I seriously cut down the hood size (which, as stated before, I am glad that I did). The generosity of my fellow knitters never ceases to amaze me – thank you for all your offers to bail me out of that potentially fatal yarn shortage!

At last, the boy has a new sweater and he knows that I love him. My maternal guilt is (temporarily) assuaged. I can knit what I want for a little while.

So, in the words of the Man, “What’s next?”

Does he know me, or what?

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7 thoughts on “A Red Hoodie for My Boy

    • That is what my husband said, too. I told him that it was kind of like writing to Tom Cruise – she is a rockstar in the knitting world! I don’t think one disgruntled fan is going to change much!

      Besides, the truth of it is this – I will continue to buy, drool over and knit her designs. I may change them to suit me, or rewrite them so that they make better sense, or make my own charts from them so I can actually knit them, but despite all my grumblings, I am a big fan. 🙂

  1. Gorgeous work, mama! I have yet to knit a Debbie Bliss pattern, but I have a book that I just *drool* over (The Baby Knits Book). It’s kind of funny because I stalked ebay and bought it while I was still pregnant with O because I *had* to have it… No TBKB knits yet though! 😉

  2. I think it turned out lovely! (Don’t tell him I said that. Tell him I said “Manly”, especially with the gun!)

    Good to know about the weird sizing in case I ever decide to actually try one of her patterns.

    I guess I just don’t see the point in seaming things. If I wanted to make pieces of fabric in weird shapes and then seam them up into wearable clothing, I’d sew. (Which I *can* do, knitting is just so much more portable, and you can put it away and take it out with ease. Sewing, notsomuch.)

    Ok. This is a comment, not a blog post. Sheesh.

    Love the sweater. Love the red.

    Now, what *is* next?

  3. I have issue with Bliss patterns, too. My two biggest are:

    the knit flat thing when it would be better/simpler to knit in the round (i.e. a hat!?!?!?!)

    would it KILL them to just put a WEIGHT for the yarn? I don’t use Bliss yarn and it annoys me to no end to have to look up the yarn. Sure, sometimes you can tell easily by gauge, but sometimes not.

    (I typically prefer to NOT knit from charts, but seeing them helps put it all together.)

    I use my Bliss pattern books for inspiration only. I can’t stand her patterns.

    The sweater is AWESOME and that red looks great on him!

    • Exactly. I forgot about the yarn thing – it bothers me, too. Even though I know that she is just trying to sell her yarns, and every designer is – “To get the same results, you MUST use the same yarn that we did” blah, blah, blah. I have only knit something in the recommended yarn once. It wasn’t any better than all the other projects in which I had substituted something that I liked better! 🙂

  4. Wonderful Shelly, I envy your talent. I’m working on it….one stitch at a time.
    You should see the scarf Josephine is knitting for her American doll, she is very proud of herself.

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