I’ve worked two projects (and am ready to start a third) by other designers. A funny thing happened on the way. It made me think about running into obstacles in knitting.
Let Me Explain
I have mostly picked up these “foreign” projects to get some relief from knitting that is always related to my business. I have a million ideas that I could, and maybe should, be knitting, but sometimes I just need to get out of my head. Thinking about knitting, patterns, and learning are the things always going on in my head, and for good or not, that didn’t stop just because I was working someone else’s patterns. It did set me off on a different tangent of thinking:
Unintended Obstacles in Knitting
Despite the conspiracy theories I’ve heard, no one puts obstacles into knitting instructions on purpose. But working from pattern styles I’m not familiar with, I have noticed how these unintended obstacles crop up. These are mostly related to the fact that most of us think a certain way, and designers have learned to present material in a certain way, and that doesn’t always make the most sense to the end user.
If you are curious about what kind of learner you are, you can take this quiz online. I am a mixed learner. I don’t know if that is an official term. I think the graphic is useful in showing how I process information.
I think I need to have at least two of these styles addressed to make me learn. I am not at all surprised that logic is my lowest score. I often say I am not a linear thinker, and apparently that is true!
These are the things that became obstacles in knitting for me. I know some of my patterns may be culprits of any of these things too. This is not about pointing fingers, this is about solving obstacles.
Undefined techniques: Sure I can figure it out, but I want to know what you, the designer, had in mind. Specific, not vague.
Undefined intentions: I think we are all guilty of this. When I don’t know what the designer intended, or why they made the choice they did, I begin to question, or try to figure it out. I feel I am guilty of this, but I do think this is a huge problem.
No schematic: I just don’t see a reason why there isn’t a schematic. This is so fundamental that I resent when they aren’t included.
Conflict between chart and written instructions: I am a so annoyed by this! I can’t even be tactful about it. I know I am in the minority, but it makes no sense to me.
Stitch charts and written instructions: I don’t care if you give me shaping charts, but a stitch chart along with written instructions for stitch pattern (beyond simple stitches) is the least you can do!
Your Role in the Discussion of Obstacles in Knitting
I am going to be addressing each of these obstacles in knitting in separate blog posts (edit: here they are!). I plan to discuss each, and suggest some solutions. If you would like me to add to this list, please email me to let me know what is on your mind. If there is a topic on the list you’d like to add to (I’ll put your comments, with permission, into the blog) or you want to hear more about, email me the specifics of why it bugs you.
I want this to be a conversation, so I hope you’ll let me know your thoughts! You can disagree if you like.