Knitting the Luftig Tee

Hot on the heels of making my Hopeful skirt for Kunbi I decided to take on another test knit and I discovered the Yarnpond site. This is a website that functions as a hub where knitters, crocheters, designers and testers can come together. It’s effectively a database of designs that need testing from which you could pick from several designers and sign up to join their test. It has a good way of keeping on track with automated deadlines and you can communicate with the designer and the other testers in the group if you wish.

The test is done on the usual terms: the crafter gets access to a new design and free pattern and depending on the designer they may offer you other compensation for your work. I know there’s currently a lot of conversation around the concept of testing and how much payment is appropriate. The whole issue of free labour and work for “exposure” is an uncomfortable one in the crafting sphere. If you break it down, exchanging hours of work for a pattern that often retails for less than £10 is a bit odd but testers feel that they derive benefits from the process – early access to the pattern, the camaraderie of a KAL, exposure on social media. I found myself in limbo on this one. While the idea of one day making money from my crafting is attractive, I am in no position to capitalise on it right now and tbh I’m not totally sure I want to.

I’m not sure where I stand on it; I don’t like exploitation, and I think that big labels who are established, should be paying testers. However, I imagine myself trying to get started knowing that I couldn’t afford to pay multiple testers what their time and skill were truly worth. I think if designers start to remunerate crafters financially that would be excellent, but I wonder how many can. I started doing test knitting because I enjoy the buzz for a new pattern, but also I needed the accountability. I have way too many half-finished knitting projects from earlier times, having a deadline helps me finish an item. I understand some would say that exposes a level of privilege to be able to do this work for ‘fun’ but that is the fence I’m perched on at the moment.

My concept sketch

On to the make: an idea for a summer outfit was coming together in my head. I had this mustard and white striped linen in the stash and when I saw this pattern, I thought they would go well together. I drew an interpretation of this in Affinity Designer. Mustard seems to be a favourite colour at the moment. It keeps popping up in my plans.

The Luftig Tee by Ulrika @fiber on repeat consists of two rectangular panels of cable stitching, with short ribbed sleeves attached at the end. The detail is given by dropping stitches between the cables which are then unravelled to reveal ladder stitches. I made my Luftig in Drops Cotton Merino blend and it’s probably intended to be worn layered over a cami or vest as the laddered section is quite open. I would say it is suitable for beginner knitters and upwards.

When I finished both panels the next step was to unravel the dropped stitches between the cables at first this felt quite uncomfortable – you know that feeling when you have to rip out some stitches because you’ve made a mistake. A bit negative but after a while, it started to feel quite therapeutic. Not unlike popping bubble wrap, in fact. Pretty soon the channels between stitches where I’d unravelled them give the t-shirt its overall look – with the cables separated by these ladder stitches.

Not sure how I managed this

I had a little blip when I thought I was complete – my sleeves weren’t the same?! So I had to go back and change one. Despite the error, this was a relatively quick and easy knit.

I’m really happy with the finished sweater and its completion coincided with some good UK weather so I was wearing it a lot in the summer. In the end, I was able to wear it without a layer as my ladders weren’t quite as wide as the pattern, but it does depend on what underwear I choose.

Have you done any pattern testing or do you design patterns? What do you think about testing and compensation?

Thanks for dropping by,

About Elaine Batiste

I'm a teacher, a lifelong learner, a traveller, a maker, an adventurer and a 'want to do more' kind of gal.

8 Responses

  1. Emma Dennett

    Hi Elaine, really like the tee, those ladders look great and glad you can get away without a layer with the right choice of bra! Would be a shame to have to wear a tank every time. Totally agree with your reflections on pattern testing. I personally can’t be dealing with it, but am grateful to everyone who does get involved as sure it makes for better patterns. Glad that the conversation is happening and people are being transparent about it when it’s happening!

    Liked by 1 person

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