Troubleshooting Crochet Patterns

You’ve been there, done that and probably have the frogged work to prove it. You know exactly what I am talking about. You’ve hit a pattern where the wording doesn’t make sense. Do you fake it or toss it aside?

Writing a pattern is one of the most difficult tasks of crochet. Speaking personally, I talk informal and I have a lot of slang. Somedays, I don’t even make any sense. For many designers, learning how to write out their instructions is really tough and for good reason, it is a tough job. It’s really hard to communicate instructions without adding way too much information.

Behind the scenes of the crochet world are Tech Editors, these are the people who review patterns for designers and companies. No joke, apparently, once a company finds a great Tech Editor, they guard them with not sharing who they are because they are hard to come by. For me, I could never be a Tech Editor because I am not meant to be very detail oriented. I can do a lot of things but you really have to block your mind to concentrate and understand a pattern and cross check the facts.

There’s an art to tech editing, you need to be direct and to the point with enough detail for a crocheter to follow but not too much to bog down a pattern with way too much detail. That, my friends, is way too hard for me. I want to share the tips and ideas I had during the process and for me, I would score a big fat “F”.

I’m drawn to certain websites for free patterns. There are many but there are only a select few that I go to on a regular basis. Yarnspirations is definitely on that list of trusted websites for me. I’ve come to learn that each company has their own style of writing. Though tech editing should be standard across the board, which it is for the most part, there is still an essence of flavour in the final proof of a pattern. Each company has their own way of communicating with us.

I know it may be a huge yarn crime to have an error in a pattern and yes some days it may drive you over the edge, I’ve learned that to error is human. It does happen. Can I do a much better job? I doubt it. I believe today as society is moving quicker and quicker and the patience level we have is less and less. We want, we must have, and we must not experience a rock in the road. Doesn’t that sound crazy when you read that out loud?

I remember finding several errors way back in 2008 when I started The Crochet Crowd. I was giving my refrigerator door a workout as I tend to eat my feelings as I was furious about it and in disblief. When the dust settles, I’m left with pie crumbs on my desk, I come realize it’s not the end of the world. Just adapt and try your best. No one likes errors, it annoys everyone in the chain.

Today, I am more calm about finding errors in patterns as I tend to read ahead to get what the designer is asking for. I’ve only ran into two in recent years that the pattern was so way off that it wasn’t doable. One of them, the website programmer forgot to include an entire section but the pattern was appearing to be whole. The math didn’t make sense and there was no way around solving the problem. While the designer gets in trouble, fact was in this case, she wasn’t at fault. But because her name is on the pattern, we immediately jump to conclusions.

Remember when you were in school and you had a teacher that you may have liked? In the first week or two, it’s really stressful for everyone. You are not used to the speed of the teacher, personality, or whatever. You begin to adapt to understand the teacher. You start to see idiosyncrasies of the teacher and the teacher become predictable. The learning process for everyone gets easier.

What does this have to do with reading crochet patterns? Isn’t it obvious? I have discovered within myself that I tend to gravitate websites that I trust and that I can understand. That hint of writing flavour from a tech editor in the way the pattern is written becomes easier and easier for me. It’s subconscious that you may not even realize that you are training yourself to adapt to the style of writing of the pattern. Look carefully because you will see what I am talking about when you cross compare between different websites.

I had a recent experience where I was unable to comprehend a pattern about three years ago. However, I recently mastered it and question why I never got it three years ago. I’ve changed, I’ve come to understand pattern reading much better but I think part of that is understanding the language in the way it’s written too. Over the years, with potentially the same tech editors, they’ve trained me to follow them. In turn, I have set myself up to learn efficiently and follow along today with ease.

So if you are ever thinking about reading patterns and why some patterns are easier to read then others, look at your source. You may realize that you will gravitate towards the same websites without really thinking about it.