Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Snowy Tuesday

Flurries, at least. I'm glad. I was getting a little depressed looking at the leaves I did not rake last fall and wondering if I should put on warm clothes and try to clean up the yard a bit.
In response to an earlier question, a soaker is basically a pair of wool underpants that you put on over a baby's cloth diaper. It, uh, soaks up stuff and keeps it from getting to the kid's clothes, which go over the soaker. Back in the day before plastic or vinyl cloth diaper covers, this was what people made and used. I think there was a short article on them in the last issue of "Piecework."
We figured we'd give one a try.
So the Fool has been stirring things up in the designers group on Ravelry, talking about KnitML, his project to create a knitting markup language that could someday be used for all sorts of cool things.
One of the designers raised an interesting point that I've been thinking about in the context of knitting and in the context of other activities where people spend money on instructions, such as dropping $30 on a new cookbook.
Say I buy a knitting pattern (and this is only about patterns I buy; things I get for free, I figure I gets what I pays for). I generally expect it to be error-free. I actually get a little annoyed if I have to look up errata and can't just swatch and dive right in.
Now, suppose I start changing the pattern around. Say I add some stitches, or take some out, make parts wider or longer, maybe swap in a stitch pattern I like better, or do it at a different gauge altogether ... that kind of thing.
How much do I have to change the pattern before I decide the outcome is my problem - and not anything the original designer has anything to do with?
Basically, at what point do I start kicking myself for any mistakes and stop blaming the pattern and designer - grin.
It's a lot like cooking, which is something else I like doing. One time, I gave a recipe for linguini with clam sauce to my friend Janice. She and I were talking a couple days later and she said she'd tried it.
"How was it?" I asked.
"Great! Except I didn't have any canned clams, so I cut up a chicken breast. And I know you said it was good with sauteed mushrooms, but I only had frozen peas, so I put those in instead. And I didn't have any cream, so I just left that out, and then I realized I didn't have any pasta either, so I put it over rice instead."
"So it was good, but not linguini with clam sauce," I said.
"Sure it was! I just changed a couple things."
The thing is, if it had turned out to be a disaster and Janice had blamed me for giving her a bad recipe, I would have felt justified in saying that she changed it so much, the fact that it didn't taste good had nothing to do with the recipe and everything to do with her decisions.
Anyway, an interesting question to while away time with.
I'm slogging away on a sock. It's part of my new policy to knit one thing at a time until it's finished. We'll see how long this lasts.


Jenny in Duluth said...

I guess if the reason you don't like the pattern has to do with your own mods, it's your own dang fault. :) Presumably, you'd be able to tell what your mods did to the original, and whether you like that or not. Even seemingly small changes can have pretty large repercussions sometimes!

the fiddlin' fool said...


This is apparently an incredibly sensitive issue in the designer community (well, at least the Ravelry designer community). I imagine it has to do with the fact that they have to deal with a minority of unreasonable people who would, in fact, demand their money back from the designer, even if said changes were their own. I can't say that I share their opinion, but then again I'm not a designer so I haven't experienced this firsthand.

I think any technology that threatens in any potential way to exacerbate this situation is naturally met with fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

meg said...

Which is why I thought I'd toss it out for discussion and get a handle on whether the designers you're talking to are reacting to a very small portion of the knitting public, or whether it's a widespread expectation, that a pattern work no matter what kinds of squirrelly changes a knitter might make.

Lorna said...

Oooh, Meg, I must have rubbed off on you just a wee bit if you're doing one project at a time until it is finshed - HA!

I, too, HATE a pattern that is wrong, and not just wrong, but, obviously wrong and been knit many, many times and still not corrected. Wrong is different than 'changing it'. (ie - the broadstreet mittens). I get very grumpy when this occurs.

I think once you step outside the lines of design (not including yarn sub) then you're releasing the designer from liability. Even if it is one section. But, after that section, should you start back into the design again (as long as stitch count, etc. is the same) then you're back to accountability!

Does that make sense?

Love this post, very thought provoking and near and dear to my heart (or grumpiness)