Saturday, January 29, 2011

It’s not a mystery novel

Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2011

We had a couple of wake-up calls this week and they both involved the perils of poor preparation. We ought to know better and yet we often jump right in. We’re so anxious to start that sock or quilt that we forget not all patterns and projects and recipes are created equal. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, mistakes happen. Typos are introduced. Whole lines left out.

It’s so easy to depend on the designer or a big-name company to spoon-feed us the steps to success. However, it’s really important to remember that anyone can make a mistake. Glossy magazines are as guilty as independent pattern makers. Grandma Coco has been known to withhold an ingredient when asked to share a special recipe, but that’s a whole other story.

With the magic of the internet, it’s easier than ever to check to see if there are
corrections. Go to the magazine website, the designer’s website, the publisher’s website… get the idea. For knitting patterns, check with Ravelry. Even if the pattern’s good but someone’s already been there, done that, it’s amazing what short cuts and tips other knitters can offer. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel.

So, you’ve got your pattern, you’ve checked for errors and you’re ready to go, right? Whoa, not so fast, pardner. Take a breath and do something you may never have done before: Read the directions. All the way through. Right to the end. Try to get a handle on what’s going on. After all, it’s not a mystery novel. You won’t spoil the ending for yourself. In fact, with any luck, you’ll catch little ouchies like “continue increasing at the beginning of every 3rd row, until the piece measures 12” and then increase every 2nd row for 2”,  WHILE AT THE SAME TIME doing so and so”. Don’t you hate that? If you hadn’t read ahead, you’d be ripping back now. Read the pattern first. Save time and effort later.

The other thing to do while reading through is something Grandma Coco forgot to do this week. (And boy, is she bummed.) When you’re asked to cut strips and join them together to get a strip set that is “x” inches wide, it’s pretty doggone easy to do the math yourself and make sure that when you cut those strips, and stitch them together, you’ll get the expected width. Grandma Coco got excited. She fell for the lure of spoon-fed pablum but never again.

Read the directions.

Because Grandma Coco Sez So…That’s Why!

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