Who edits the editors?

Gotland sheep giving me stink-eye at the 2016 Woodstock Fleece Festival

Gotland sheep giving me stink-eye at the 2016 Woodstock Fleece Festival

I am fully aware that errors in patterns will occur despite the best intentions of the publisher.  Usually when I do come across errors, they aren't too difficult to correct and my degree of annoyance isn't much more than if I had made a mistake myself.  I can find forgiveness in my heart for the occasional error that makes it to print and I just assume errors do slip past even good tech editors, but my world view has had an alarming shake up this week because I have discovered that one of my core knitting tenets (i.e., one should never start a pattern without checking for errata first) is entirely useless.  In retrospect, it flies in the face of another fundamental belief of mine, which is: don't believe anything you read, especially if it's on the internet.  Yet I just blithely assumed that errata could not, by definition, contain errors--an obviously flawed notion that I have now been disabused of.

I have, for various reasons, mostly stopped buying knitting patterns--but not because I fear the errors.   I just found over the years that I'm not very keen on following instructions and buying patterns didn't seem to make a lot of sense if I was just going to modify them beyond recognition.  I so rarely follow a pattern "verbatim" that it is practically an event when I want to knit someone else's pattern as written but isn't it nice to just let someone else do the thinking once in a while?

Recently, I happily embarked on a new project using a pattern that really caught my attention last year and I have been happily stealing moments out of the past five, very busy weeks to work on this project with a beautiful yarn that I have been obsessing over and which I purchased specifically for this pattern.  As I was nearing the end, it finally dawned on me that I had been knitting with blinders on and ignoring the misgivings I had about the charts. I knew that they didn't seem right, but it's a fairly complex pattern and I foolishly convinced myself that this particular publishing outfit would not have let such major errors slip past them, especially since I was working from the charts that were supposedly updated and corrected, and that it would all make sense in the end.  It did not make sense.

What makes the least sense is that I followed the charts even though I thought there were some discrepancies, so maybe I shouldn't blame the publisher or designer for my lost weeks of knitting time.  But then again, a publisher that proclaims the quality of their work and the fair compensation they offer to their contributors for that high quality of work, really has no excuse for what I'm looking at here (which is now a nearly completed but totally messed up project hiding under a jumbled pile of highly marked up charts and quaking in fear of its inevitable frogging later today, right after I down a shot or two).

(Rest assured, I did my public duty and emailed the publisher in hopes that they pull the pattern and correct it before another hapless knitter stumbles on this pattern and nearly bursts a blood vessel in her brain.)

This situation is entirely new to me.  In the past, when I found errors in a pattern, they were not of the magnitude that a simple refund or free pattern offer could not compensate for.  In this particular instance, a free pattern would, in my somewhat biased opinion, be a woefully insufficient recompense, which has got me thinking about what, in an ideal world, would be sufficient?  Five weeks of free housecleaning service? Several home-cooked dinners for the same duration?  Weekly I.T. support for my parents?  That knitting time had to be carved out of other time-consuming activities and I suspect that's how even the most efficient people find the time to knit.

I'm going to take my own advice though and just move on to other (possibly more relevant) tasks rather than sit here brooding and writing a blog post.  I could make that new flowchart I've been meaning to work on ("Should I frog this project?") or better still, I could take what might be the only opportunity I will get to finish up last year's gift knitting before Christmas 2017.