I’ve always had my own world view, but when it comes to knitting, I have had to develop my own style in large part because it seems I’ve got some road blocks in my brain that don’t allow me to easily see things when presented in certain ways. Not exactly what you expect to hear from someone who writes knitting instructions right?
So here are (some of) my challenges:
- I have a hard time digesting instructions that are written in paragraph form.
- I can’t remember what a stitch is supposed to be “on the WS” if the symbol (absence of one) is the same on both right and wrong sides, but you do the opposite. I.e., knit on RS, purl on WS (but they are both empty boxes).
- If I see a pattern repeat I expect it is using the same stitches going in both directions, so that the repeat is on top of the same stitches as on the previous row/round.
- I know which is my right side and which is my left side, but I have to actually check in with my body to make that distinction.
- I cannot just “reverse for the other side.” I need to see both sides presented–you know they aren’t really “reverse” anywayso they aren’t really the same.
I didn’t realize that everyone didn’t experience these issues until I started teaching, and realized that there are many, many ways people see and perceive. I don’t want to assume that my way is “correct” but it is correct for me and while I can adapt patterns to the “typical” styles, I have to write them out in a way that makes sense to me first. So when I started producing my own patterns, I decided that since I was doing all that work, I’d just present them in the form that made sense to me because it would surely be easier for at least some people.
I get responses from knitters and shop owners that would lead me to believe that at least some people are grateful that someone else is “doing the work” that seems like difficult mental gymnastics to those of us with different brains. From other knitting professionals, I get responses that range from scorn to pity. I try not to take it personally. But I do get feeling a little defensive about it whenever I’m getting ready to release a new product.
We tend to forget that things haven’t always been done the way they are now, and the “standards” are just those–they aren’t laws. That much of the “conventions” we observe were arrived at by publishers to save space–which isn’t necessarily the most important consideration in communicating instructions. Barbara Walker was the first to make charts–they are that new. I have stitch references that all use different methods of setting out stitch patterns, and among english-language knitters, we don’t always use the same terms. So I’m going to go into some depth in subsequent posts about why/how to use my instructions and you might like to come along for the tour.