Collaborative design

Conventional wisdom has it that no good project comes out of a committee. Too many cooks spoil the broth, we say. I definitely see the point in this. If too many people are involved in making a decision, it can get to the point where no one feels responsible for that decision, and the process flounders.

But then sometimes, design by committee works. About a week ago, a knitter on Ravelry posted to the “Knitting for Boys” group that she wanted to find a pattern for a robot sweater. Her kid didn’t want a sweater that had pictures of robots on it, but rather a sweater that would make him look like a robot. She couldn’t find a pattern that fulfilled this fantasy.

I was really intrigued by this idea, not least because ultimately the request was coming from the little boy himself. So I wrote back and said I loved the idea and wanted to design a new pattern for her (and others) to knit.

What’s been happening since is really interesting. A number of other knitters have been chiming in with their own suggestions about what features this sweater might have — including a few who have reported their own sons’ reported specifications. Many have volunteered to test-knit. Each time a new report comes in, I refine my design idea a little further, and it’s getting better with each passing response.

Of course, at some point, this has to stop, and I have to pony up and commit to a design and work it up. And maybe that’s where the “too many cooks” idea still holds true. At some point, I have to step in as head chef and make some decisions. But for now, this is a really pleasurable process, hearing about what boys and their knitter moms want, and thinking about how to meet their wishes. More soon on what results!

3 thoughts on “Collaborative design

  1. Oooh! I am not, nor have, a young boy, but something appeals to me about a jumper that makes you look like a robot, is such a fun idea! I’ll keep an eye on this one, and I’m sure at some point a boy in need of a robot sweater will wander into my life 🙂

  2. Pingback: Rivet the Robot « Dark Matter Knits

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