but the pattern must be wrong… (right?)

i really screwed up a project last week! it was a shawl and i knitted all the increase/decreases the wrong way. the fabric was supposed to be on the bias so this was a real problem. i didn’t read the instructions correctly and i used the wrong set of instructions. and for a split second i thought “but the pattern must be wrong!” Right? WRONG!

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when i knitted margethea a few years back i did the body in garter instead of stockinette because i was having a backward day!

i mean there can be mistakes or typos in patterns. or a pattern can be vague (which a lot of knitting patterns are unfortunately). or a pattern can include techniques/methods you are not familiar with but usually (9 times out of 10) it is the knitter who is wrong! sorry to be the bearer of bad news but it’s true.

i’ve said for years that if i think i’ve found a mistake in a pattern, just go to ravelry and find out how wrong you are. i think maybe twice i have gone to ravelry, looked at other knitter’s comments and found that someone else in the massive knitting universe had the same problem i did with the pattern in question. the majority of the time what i do find is that other people have a problem that i completely missed or didn’t see as problem. (and no i don’t know how it came out right!)

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the head hole on this sweater for will was WAY too small because i didn’t do the decreases and bind-off that the pattern instructed!

and i’m here to tell you, different people think about things in different ways. that’s one of the great things i love about knitting. there are dozens of ways to cast-on, bind-off, increase, decrease, etc. the list goes on and on. there is no way that a pattern designer can think of all the ways a knitter is going to read their pattern.

if you need the pattern to be right – completely right – here are some tips to help ensure you get a good pattern.

  • pay for patterns on ravelry – if a designer is charging for the pattern, then they have most likely vetted the instructions, had test knitters knit the item, had a another set of eyes on the pattern. not always the case but most of the time it is true!
  • check out what others have said about the pattern on ravelry – did a lot of folks have the same comments about problems with the pattern? buyer beware. or be prepared to struggle with or fight through the pattern.
  • pick a tried and true pattern – have thousands of people knitted this pattern with happy results? then the pattern is probably a good one! please avoid patterns that have less than 5 projects or were just published unless it is designer who has other successful projects/patterns.
  • beware of published patterns – one of weirdest things is that magazine and books patterns are often wrong. with press deadlines, shortcuts are taken. or the publisher has left out key notes to save space. if you fall in love with a pattern in a  book or magazine, go to ravelry and see what others have said. if it is super new, what a year and see what people have said.
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this is february lady sweater attempt #1 (exception to pay for pattern rule) and i couldn’t get the increases right. thanks to fellow ravelers who wrote notes that they had that problem too. and the ravelers who made a online calculator that could give you increase instructions for your specific pattern and stitch count!

and most importantly…

if you come across a pattern that was confusing or weird, you are probably not the only person who thought that. email the designer with your question. post in the project notes in your notebook on ravelry so others who have the same problem might learn from your confusion. we are all here to learn from each other. don’t be afraid to raise your hand!

happy knitting!
h.

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