Sunday, 22 November 2009

FOs and others

It's somewhat hot through  Sydney today, forecast maximum of over 40 deg C.  I have two finished objects so was up early this morning to put them in to soak.  If the weather is reasonable, I'll take photos tomorrow.  I'm sure they are dry already.  It's very hot here and there's a nasty northerly wind and very low humidity.  However, I'll leave them pinned till tomorrow.

The first is the fancy foliage lace scarf, yet another Evelyn Clark design.  I made this from sock wool I bought from Wired for Fibre about eighteen months ago.  The colour is called Lava.  An easy knit, this will go into the present basket.

The second is part of a present for the youngest granddaughter of the three girls.  It's Llani, a top down garment from Katya Frankel at Bingeknitter.

So what now?  I decided on the Lacy Kerchief Scarf, from Interweave knits.  I had the pattern and found some Bendigo fingering in a plummy shade in my stash.  When I see how it goes, I might get something more luxurious, as I like the look of the scarf.

However I have a problem with the pattern.  No, it's not difficult.  It's the whole set up or should I say layout of the pattern which is a downloadable PDF.  When I look at it, I would  think the whole pattern is just taken from whatever file they had set up to print it originally in the 2005 edition of the magazine.  The layout looks remarkably like the patterns in the back of those editions I already have.  This probably means the publishers are making fairly easy money from the sale of the pattern.  It's downloadable once payment is made, a fairly easy thing to  set up.  It's also cheap to manage.

This pattern costs US $5.50.  Not a great deal more at the moment in Aussie dollars as the dollar is currently high.  Now the latest actual magazine I bought was a couple of weeks ago.  It was $13.50AUS.  It has a lot of patterns in it, many more than the 2.5 patterns at $5.50 each.  So selling individual patterns is probably a nice little money spinner.

Now my gripe is this.  There are three pages in the pattern itself.  The first is a good clear picture.  Great.  The third page has a few pages of the pattern written out and the chart.  The chart is reasonably clear, not minute type, but it could be much better according to the standard I've been using.  Evelyn Clark's charts and also those of Gudrun the Shetland Trader are very clear and easy to read.  This one is passable.

The middle page is appalling.  There are two columns on the page, so each is fairly wide.  A smallish picture, different aspect to page 1 takes some of the first column.  The last quarter of that column and ALL of the second is printed instructions.  No, not the pattern rows written out in full.  That starts at the very bottom of the second column and I use the chart anyway.

Some 60 rows form that column and it's one long paragraph.  No space anywhere, just row after  row of typed instructions.  I mean instructions, not pattern.  Things like, "do set up row, then finish pattern repeat.  Do rows 1-8 5(five) times.  By then ..."  "Work in patt., repeat, work rows 2-8 then 1-8."

You get the picture.  It's in small type and everything is crammed up  together.

It's unattractive and confusing.  When I start a new pattern, I take a highlighter and a coloured pen.  I work my way through the pattern before I begin to even cast on.  I highlight important area and things like stitch numbers.  I underline major instructions.  I put asterisks in the margin which to me denote something to be careful of and occasionally I may put a tentative question mark near something which does not seem clear.  I may even annotate the pattern in a different colour ink again.

I find this helps me in my understanding.  Working this way is a hangover from student days, even my recent Honours degree.  It used to help me understand what I was reading in a scholarly journal and also helped in the notes I made.

There's no way I can easily do this here.  I did try .  The pattern is a PDF  (fair enough), so I can't put returns etc in myself.  I can do some highlighting online when I open the PDF but it's not enough for me.   I could do some cutting and pasting in Word, but that would be very laborious and time consuming.  I may as well go through it with a fine tooth comb on my printout.  The point it that this should not be necessary.

I really think IK need  to address this sort of thing.  It makes the pattern totally unattractive to use and it makes me very wary of buying another from them in case  it is the same.  I really guess it would be, as it's come from their files.

Many patterns now are easy to read, clearly and attractively set out.  Space and clarity have been considered.  Why not this?  After all, the publishers depend on purchasers to keep them going.


2paw said...

Blogger wouldn't let me comment yesterday so I'll see how I go today. I agree about the patterns, I always colour code charts and I like each pattern row of written instructions on a new line. It seems quite poor quality.
I hope it may be cooler for you soon. We have had coolness and rain, a bit of relief.
The Lacy Kerchief looks gorgeous though, I hope it knits up well!!

Anonymous said...
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Lynne said...

How frustrating!