C'est Si Bon! The Quest

On March 14, 2011, I was searching knitting patterns on Ravelry.com and stumbled upon a scarf that I immediately fell in love with. Now, I'm not prone to "love at first sight" when it comes to knitting but, for some reason, the look of this particular piece was captivating.

Unfortunately, all the viewable projects (about 7 at the time) were in French.

It even LOOKS French, doesn't it?
So, with the help of Google Translate (and a few years of high-school French), I emailed one of the French knitters to see if she could help me secure a copy of the pattern. Fortunately, she responded in excellent English which she, like most Europeans, claimed was "not good." She sent me the email address for the shop that created and printed the pattern. Achievement unlocked: Find the Source.

I promptly emailed the shop, again with the help of Google Translate, and received no response.Ever. Fail.

At that point, I went back to the photos of people's work-in-progress and finished projects to see if I could suss out the pattern myself. I mean...it's a scarf. It's not like it's rocket science but I was stumped about how the stitch pattern was created. I'd never seen anything quite like it before. Fail.

In order to not drive myself completely insane, I let it rest for a long while. I didn't taunt myself by looking at the scarf or obsess about the fact that I couldn't have it - although I really, really wanted to. Achievement unlocked: Patience.

A number of months later, I was browsing my Ravelry Favorites, saw the scarf, and the old love was renewed. I decided to take up the quest again.

My English-speaking friend's scarf.
By this time, the number of completed projects had more than doubled and - lo and behold - there was one in English. I emailed the English-speaking knitter and explained my plight. I told her that, if she could just provide me with the stitch pattern, I could fake it from there. Again, it's just a scarf - a great, big triangle. Unfortunately, she had just moved and couldn't find her notes so she attempted to remember it as best she could. She provided a couple of very valuable pieces of information that helped explain the elusive stitch pattern. Unfortunately, once I started knitting, it was obviously not quite right. First Actual Attempt: Fail

Now I was obsessed. I wracked my brain trying to think of ways I could get my hands on an actual copy of the pattern. I could deal with translation after the fact. I thought of friend-of-the-blog, @pinkundine, a crafty-blogger who lives in the UK. Maybe, just maybe, closer proximity to France could facilitate securing the pattern. So, off went a long, convoluted email about my quest and, while she couldn't find a way to purchase the pattern for me, she did LOADS of internet research in an attempt help. Honestly, she went above and beyond. Achievement Unlocked: Secured Awesome Crafting Friendship.

Finally, Cassandra said to me, "Doesn't your friend Mary speak French? Why don't you have her call the shop and see if she can convince them to ship internationally?"  *face palm* How could I have forgotten that one of my best friends in the world is a proficient French speaker (although she claims her French is "bad"). So, one morning after brunch I asked. She looked at me and said, "Why don't we just ask Carrie to pick up a copy for you at the shop? She'll be here in a couple of weeks and she can bring it with her."

Seriously....my head nearly exploded. It's one thing to forget that you have a friend who speaks a foreign language. It's entirely another to forget that you actually KNOW a person who lives in the city that you need something from. And, she was traveling to us within two weeks. Could it be more perfect?

Mary emailed Carrie. Carrie agreed to secure the pattern for me and bring it with her. This past Saturday, at exactly 7pm, I completed my quest. The pattern is mine. QUEST COMPLETE!

Now, I just have to get it translated*.

- Alex

* If any of you know of any proficiently French-speaking knitters, PLEASE get them in touch with me. Thanks.


  1. Yay, I'm so glad it is in your hands finally!!! Is there a group on Ravelry that might be able to help with translation? I know there are some for Norwegian patterns, so there might be help from a french speaking group.

    And you're more than welcome for the help ;) In fact, I may have a small quest of my own to email you about shortly!

  2. Hmmm - tenacious OCD - takes one to know one.

  3. Why don't you go to your local High school and have the French class translate for you. They could use it as a class project. I'm sure the teacher would be agreeable. Mary Frey. vanilladoll@yahoo.com

  4. @Mary - thanks for the tip! I did a couple of people help with the translation and I think I'm good. However, there are a lot more patterns in that book so I may just use your idea in the future.