I was walking to the nearby market after running Sunday morning, and considering what I would offer up for lunch. One of the options was peanut butter and toast points. I started thinking about why toast points are so much more appealing than toast. It struck me, like I’d walked into a tree, that how I “say it” in my patterns is one of the important things that make Jill Wolcott Knits patterns different than other patterns.
I have formulated my own hybrid for presenting information based on what works for me and feedback I have gotten from knitters. Some of these differences are big, but mostly they are just small things, that add up to what I think is a coherent whole. That is not to say that someone won’t find some piece of a pattern slightly baffling–that is why we answer questions from knitters–but I think they work pretty well, because I get surprisingly few questions. I spend a lot of time thinking through how things should be said, and when I miss something, Wendy usually questions it. Then Cindy, the tech editor brings every single thing that is questionable to my attention.
How it starts
This is what the beginning of my patterns usually look like. Notice how there is a lot of space. I put every instruction onto its own line (if longer than a line of text they go onto multiple lines). I think this makes it easy to read and follow.
In the first sentence of every pattern I tell you which cast on you should do. I have favorite cast ons, but I do tailor every cast on to the project. This may seem insignificant, but if you have ever ended up with a beginning edge too tight or too loose, knowing which cast on to do can be huge!
As you begin working the instructions, you can tick off every row as you complete it if you like, or put a tick at the end of that instruction that says “Work Row 1 a total of 4 times.” Or turn your row counter, or whatever works for you. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to explain that repeat of a row or instruction. A knitter suggested that “work” was better than repeat, because you have probably already worked the instruction once (the first repeat) by the time you get to the instruction for how many times to do it. Most instructions tell you how many times to repeat, but I always found myself questioning whether they included that initial working, then I had to get a paper and pencil to figure out the TOTAL number of times, so I decided to just give the total! Often this instruction give a different number of times for each size, and the lowest number would be 1, since you’ve got to do it once.
If you don’t know how to do that particular cast on, you can go find the explanation of how to do the technique on my website.
Route 1: Click on Library and it will put you here. You can see I typed in flexible long-tail cast on.
Click Continue reading for the full description.
Route 2: Put your search term into the search box in the upper right of my Home page and hit return or the arrow.
Do you need to know what you are going to encounter before you get going? You will love this box in every pattern (at the end of written pattern, before the charts). Because we all take in information differently, I try to have things presented in multiple ways. Techniques introduced in a pattern are presented in full in the pattern itself. Perhaps there is a difference between toast and toast points.