Saturday, 17 September 2011

I have to write

a pattern for something I have knitted. I was good. I kept notes all the time I was knitting it. I knew I had to write the pattern at the end of it. Right. It should not be a problem. It is. I do not like writing patterns.
Writing patterns is difficult. Writing the instructions for anything is difficult. I am very conscious of this, perhaps too conscious.
This time there is an added problem. I have to be particularly clear because the pattern is for beginner knitters.
I can hear the non-knitters among you saying you would not know where to start . I can hear the knitters among you saying, "Ah, right."
Knitting has a language all of its own - or should I say "languages"? Australian and British knitting instructions differ from American knitting instructions. There is talk about tension (Australia, UK) and gauge (American). This means the number of stitches and rows a test piece must measure if the overall garment is to end up the right size. That is often a problem, especially for beginners. There is "casting on" (both) but then there is "casting off" (Australia, UK) or "binding off" (American). There are also other differences.
I wrote a pattern for something else recently. It was going to America so I wrote it in American. The recipient merely accepted it. I assume she is aware of the differences in language (she runs a yarn company) but no comment was made. I am sure something would have been said if I had written it the way I consider to be "right" - right for me.
Then, this morning I was sent another pattern to look at. It is written in German. There is a chart as well. I can read the chart with no difficulty. I am used to that particular charting method. I can actually read the pattern as well. This is not because I am particularly good at reading knitting instructions in German but because the pattern is written in a standard way and I know enough of the vocabulary to work out the meaning. If I wanted to make it (and I do not because I am allergic to the patterns of other people) then I could do it.
I also have a book of Japanese knitting patterns. It is no secret that I do not read Japanese but I can read those patterns. The Japanese have been wise. They chart all their patterns. They use western style numerals and a standard method of charting everything. If you learn the basics of this you can follow any pattern "written in Japanese" or, more accurately, written in the Japanese style. It really is much simpler. There is a picture there in front of you of what it should look like. All the numbers are there for you.
As a westerner who does not read Japanese I would need to apply common knitting knowledge to make a garment of course but I believe I could do it. I have seen confident knitters do it.
It really is a pity I cannot draw. I could make a diagram. A picture would be so much easier. It really would be worth a thousand words.


Anonymous said...


You are not the only one allergic to other people's patterns!

Judy B

widdershins said...

My Goodness! ... you multi-lingual knitter you. I have enough trouble following a pattern written in English. Come to think of it I haven't followed a pattern ... erm ... ever!