Sound familiar? If your mom never said this to you, then I don’t believe you are really human. This post is about following directions…-ish. In my knitting group, we are just as likely to call a pattern a recipe, as anything else. It may be that we are old and have problems with words. BUT, I’m going to tell you that it is because patterns are like recipes, and you should treat them the same way. So, you should read through the entire thing. You should gather your tools (remember all the blogs on yarn?). And then you can start. I do this every time (wink, wink).
Before Christmas, I have about three craft/cooking days. Things 1 and 2, as well as O all have many gifts to give. We started a while ago making gifts. Thing 2 has her process down pretty pat, and then will add something in to keep things interesting. Thing 1 and O do different things every year. One of the things I really try to stress is to read through the whole recipe (or pattern) to make sure you know what you need to be doing and when. This is intended to keep the comments of “oh, oops!” to a minimum. We are all fairly terrible at this step (or we forget in between times), so it’s heard pretty frequently. Except Thing 2’s day…Thing 2 and I swear like sailors when we screw up.
Aaah, screwing up! That’s what crafting is all about. Screwing up, and recovering from those screw ups. A couple weeks ago, I had to pull out 10 rows of the Waiting for Rain shawl because I *thought* I had remembered how to do one of the increases. I mean, sure, it had been several weeks since I’d worked on the shawl, and that time was working the lace insert, but I remembered. Except, I didn’t. So, the lesson one would be expected to learn from this is that when one puts down a project, one should re-read the pattern *again* to re-acquaint oneself with the pattern. I can pretty much guarantee that Future Tejedora will be having a similar moment later on. She keeps thinking she’s smarter than she is.
This would be like when Thing 2 and I were going to make a cheesecake for my brother. We read through the whole recipe like good little cooks–or, rather, skimmed. In the skimming, we missed that there are something like 15 different baking steps, for different times and temperatures. I might be exaggerating, but not by much. Oh, oops. Still tasted fine.
Occasionally, though, you do read the pattern/recipe, and you do follow the directions, but they still don’t make sense, or you still screw up. There can be many reasons for this. In the featured photo, see how there’s a section of nice and neat, and then 1/2 way along, stupid purl bumps? I followed the directions!!! I really did!!!
Well, except, I modified the pattern for two colors vs. one. But that doesn’t count, right? Well, um, yeah, it does in this case. So, I had made an adjustment, but I didn’t carry that adjustment throughout the project. It’s like doubling a batch of chocolate chip cookies, but not doubling the chocolate chips. It’s fine, I guess. In this case, I did not take into account how my alterations would necessitate altering directions later on. The way the lace happens in this pattern, you do short rows of stockinette lace, and then when you are done, you just knit off into the sunset. But, that means that only 1/2 of your lace insert is knitted on that row. When you come back, the rest of the lace insert is knitted, but now, it’s showing as purl. So, an adjustment must be made. I chose to leave this like it is on this first insert. It’s rustic looking anyway, it’ll be fine. But, in the next insert, on the way back, I switched from knit to purl on that last 1/2, so the insert is all smooth. This *does* mean that I have a section of not quite garter for one row, but that was more acceptable to me than the 1/2 in 1/2 out visual experience that dogmatically following the rules gave me. OK fine, you purists!!! *dogmatically following the rules after I threw them out the window in the first place. I suppose one should learn to follow a change through the whole process to make sure one understands how the change could affect things in the future. One should also live a little.
And then, Dear Reader, there are the times you follow the directions, and it just doesn’t turn out. You re-look at the directions, and re-do it so many times, and it still doesn’t turn out. This happened to me this last year with a sweater I made for Poopie. The cable pattern was not coming out right. It was Elizabeth Zimmerman, so I was sure that it was me. Clearly, I was doing something wrong. I finally looked up the pattern elsewhere, and found there really was a typo in the Zimmerman book. This one clearly taught me that even our heroes are just people. And everyone needs a good editor.
Except me. I’m going to keep telling you my typos and formatting issues are part of my charm 🙂
One thought on “Do as I say, not as I do”
Knitting and baking are very similar. I really try to read through patterns/recipes for both and visualize in my mind what it may look like. It also makes me believe the outcome will a good one as I go into the project, rather than thinking ‘this is going to be hard’. I liked this post. Regina