Thursday, December 06, 2007

O, the horror!

Good pattern, bad pattern, or wrong pattern??

I've been working on "Knitting that must not be named" for a while now. I swear, it's sapping my will to knit-I haven't even cheated on it. Last night I pulled out my entrelac jail project. Ahhhh. I just knit. And knit. And knit. I know it's dull, but I made progress. And progress has been very slow on "KTMNBN". The reason? It's a bad pattern. And I don't think I'm whining; I know I am a competent knitter. It came with the disclaimer "for the virtuoso knitter". I'll say. A freaking virtuoso clairevoyant knitter. Because someone didn't bother writing a decent pattern!

What contributes to a bad pattern? A complicated pattern is not the same thing-Dale makes complicated patterns, but the instructions are pretty clear-just complex. A bad pattern is the result of a combinations of many things.

Bad photography-if you can't see understand your knitting, and have a question, refer to the photo. But if the model' arm is twisted behind her back, and her hair covers that seam that you want to look at, or there is no view of the tricky part, it's useless. The more I knit, the more I think some of those photos are intentionally posed to hide an unholy mess.

Obfuscated instructions---for example, my sleeve increases must be worked in at point X. Very nice, but point X occurs 5 times on each sleeve, and not necessarily together. So exactly where DO my increases go?

Knitbabble. I worked a two row pattern for three inches before I got fed up and charted it out. Whew. Big help. Now I see it. I needed the overview.

Things that don't work, don't look like the picture, give inaccurate yarn requirements, or don't have the correct stitch count.

"Repeat as for left side, reversing shaping" or "work pattern as for the front" ---these are useless if the reference point was WRONG.

So what makes a good pattern?



Anonymous said...

Sounds like your fun meter has pegged - as they say around here when someone is really fed up.
I personally have always hated the words "Repeat as for left side, reversing shaping" The whole reason one wants to follow a pattern rather than wing it on their own, is they don't want to wing it on their own. How very lazy of the pattern writer to make the knitter do half of the work. When I read that, I don't bother buying the pattern since I'll be writing my own anyway.
I agree that a lot of photos are very deceptive. A book I bought by Maggi R? very early in my knitting career discussed that very issue. ScullyKnits

smariek said...

Sorry to hear this. I'm the kind of person who needs patterns spelled out for me, like a drawing of a person with the intestines drawn out too (that's a Chinese saying, and it translates funny into English), or patterns written for a 5th grader works too. lol.

I am trying to knit my very first vest, a gift for Mom, and it has something to the effect of "repeat as for left side, reversing shaping" in there too which worries me a bit, and I haven't even gotten to the right side yet. I'm working up the willpower to begin the vest again after having to completely frog it.