Knitting Patterns: Editors Required

by Rachel Baker on May 9, 2012

I’ve become an adequate enough knitter that if I’m paying close attention, I’m able to find an error in a pattern before I put the stitches on my needles.  Over the last few months, I’ve completed a great many projects – several shawls, a baby blanket, a purse or two, bag, several accessory bags, scarves, gloves and a few other things – and it always seems there’s an error or two in the pattern, some minor, some major.

Interestingly, the patterns most prevalently error-riddled are in traditionally published books and on yarn labels.  Any patterns I’ve gotten from independent knitters are almost always right or corrected shortly after being published online. I’m sure this is a product of the internet and being able to publish one’s work and correct on the fly – and also a bit of ego on the pattern posters part – no one wants to post something on the internet riddled with errors. <– A phenomenon I find fascinating when you consider how many self-published authors publish without a final once or twice over by someone other than their circle of friends.

When I first started knitting, I figured errors were just my lack of experience and learning a new knitting technique.  I learned a lot trying to figure out the best ways to “fix” the errors and screw ups, and I found some really awesome online resources for knitters and patterns, but now, I’m not so sure these errors were my fault.

I went to the Amazon page of one of the books I’ve been using and it turns out there’s a ton of corrections on the publishers website for this book!  First I was excited to learn that 1. the errors weren’t my fault (validation is nice); and 2. I’d progressed to a point that I was able to recognize an error and fix it. But then I got sort of sad because there’s no reason for tons of errors in a traditionally published book. This lack of editing only decreases sales of a book and ultimately makes craft books like the one in question a bad bet for a publishing house.

If I’m going to buy a pattern book, I expect it to be without error. Craft books are expensive, a lot of time and effort goes into making the projects look nice and often times the pages are glossy and camera quality is such that you can see exactly how the type of yarn is going to look – they should have patterns without errors. I do not want to go to a publishers website to find the erratas of corrections.  Further, I don’t want to spend twice as long on a project trying to fix errors because I followed directions I believed to be correct. If my experience shows me that 3 out of 4 knitting pattern books are error riddled, then I’m going to stop buying these books.

Editorial Notes: This article was going to be a review of a knitting book that I’ve been using, but as I sat down to write, I realized this was actually a bigger challenge than just reviewing a book.  I don’t want to dump on the pattern designers from a specific book so I choose to just write a general plea for editors.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Amazon Wish ListEvernoteFlipboardInstapaperNewsVineSpringpadWordPressTypePad PostStumbleUponLiveJournalPocketRedditShare

Previous post:

Next post: