Mystery House

Don’t Believe Everything You Read

One of the things I’ve noticed about beginning knitters is that they tend to believe madly, deeply and faithfully in the infallibility of patterns.  Patterns are gospel from on high, instructions which must be followed to the letter no matter what sort of mayhem results!  Something really horrible is sure to happen to me if I don’t believe in this pattern. It takes a bit more experience to recognize that knitting patterns are written by regular people, some of whom are crappy proofreaders.

Allegedly trustworthy sources, i.e., big yarn companies that have a lot of resources and staff and should be taking the time to proof their very nicely-printed, glossy patterns, can be the worst.  Case in point:  This pattern published by Classic Elite.

I remember it being five or six dollars when it came out in 1995.  The pattern appeared in a full page ad on the back of Vogue Knitting, which surely cost enough money that you’d expect the product which arrived after you put your check — yes, a paper check! — in an envelope and stamped it — yes, actual mail order! —  and mailed it to Classic Elite, to be a whole lot better.

In fact, it’s absolutely riddled with errors.  Some obvious, some which sneak up on you when you think everything’s going along fine.  But all of them could — and should — have been caught before anyone forked over money and tried to knit from this thing.

Bad Pattern 1

I’m almost done with the sweater (I’m knitting the cardigan), but far from done reworking and redesigning to get around the publisher’s boo-boos.  Let’s have a closer look at that photo, shall we?

Bad Pattern 2

Got that?  Anybody want to explain to me how to K on the RS and P on the RS?  I’m also curious why I should cast on 16 stitches to work a 9-stitch chart.  Perhaps the remaining seven stitches are sacrificial offerings to Classic Elite?

Ah well.  I will not be defeated by the foolishness of braindead (or entirely absent) proofreaders and designers.  I was prepared in the first place, when I read in the pattern description that this is a “very challenging design.”

Damn straight.  But not because of the knitting.  Beginning knitters, take heed!


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  1. * Connie says:

    This seems to be all too common lately. I also knit a cape from Vogue magazine a couple years ago and had to work through a huge amount of mistakes. When it was done I actually didn’t like it and will be ripping it out for something else…go figure.

    Posted 8 years, 6 months ago
  2. * bezzie says:

    You must not be hip to the way they spelled Rong in the 90s. I got busted once by the cops for driving on the rong side of the street. It’s been over ten years now. I feel all wright riting about it. ;0)

    Posted 8 years, 6 months ago
  3. * rudee says:

    I feel your pain, sister. It’s a real tragedy when you’ve plunked down hard earned money for a pattern, and $5 in 1995 dollars was expensive for one pattern. I’ve learned, albeit late, that it’s worthwhile to check for errata first.

    Posted 8 years, 6 months ago

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