Friday, October 19, 2012

'Tis a far, far better thing I do, than I have ever frogged before.... is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”
(Charles Dickens, "A Tale of Two Cities)

"Damn, I just screwed up my knitting royally"....
(Bo, "A Tale of a Two Interpretations of a Knitting Pattern")

I feel that the following sad knitting tale is what I get for breaking from my tradition of designing my own patterns to following a pattern in a pattern booklet.  It may not be others' experience with this pattern but it's my experience.

(And it's also possible that I'm an idiot and didn't read the pattern correctly.)

But I'm not criticizing the author's pattern.  Nooooo.  That's not it.  It's the editors of the pattern booklet that I am not happy with.

Because I am totally embarassed to admit that I did something VERY WRONG on my current project, "Zariski".  But I don't think that it's all my fault.  Maybe it is partly my fault for not reading the directions correctly, but I also think (maybe wrongly) that it is partly Berocco Booklet 319's fault.

There I sat, knitting merrily along, following the pattern's directions and then, to my utter mortification, I realized it----I realized that according to the cryptic directions given for the pattern, I had actually knitted a square attached to another square---and I had knitted said knitted square smack dab onto an incorrect area which caused the new square to jut out from the garment into thin air!  That durn square was hanging out, flapping in the wind like the soldier's white flag of defeat!



This mistake was a time and financial costly mistake in that I had to meticulously and fearfully frog my way out of disaster for my precious "Zariski".  I ruined some yarn in the process---very costly Egyptian cotton--but which is a discontinued yarn.  I licked my bruises and continued on, pouting all the while, mentally telling the Berroco company to never do that to me again. 

(Yes, I admit it---I talk to my knitting.  But that's no big deal---I also talk to my damn cats, my mop & broom, did I say the damn cats?, my Swiffer replacement cloths, a large Tupperware container, my cooking, a cleanser bottle I grabbed which wasn't the one I wanted, errant throw pillows, Blaine's clothing which he inconsiderately drops onto the floor, and a pot of mum buds which refuse to blossom into flowers.)

Where was I?

Ohe yes, bitching about a knitting pattern.

Why, I ask you?  Why did I commit such an egregious knitting mistake?  It's humiliating I tell you.  Humiliating.  And costly.  That yarn was expensive---really expensive.  And it's not sold anymore. 

Personally, I think it's partly Berroco's fault.  But what do you think?

Strike One:  In the Berroco pattern booklet, booklet number 319, the diagram of the placement of the squares is not the correct way in which the squares are supposed to line up in the actual garment--which is totally confusing.  They should have put the diagram in a way which showed you where the squares would eventually fit, both in the front and in the back---but the pattern squares are presented horizontally, all in one piece.

Strike Two:  In my opinion, the photographs of the garment do NOT show placement of key areas of the construction of the garment.  The "yoke" isn't really a yoke.  It is completely in the back of the garment.  It is simply the part of the garment in the BACK which holds the two sleeves together.  When I think of "yoke" I think that some part of it is in the front.  That's not the case with this garment so technically it's not a yoke.  And, in my interpretations, the photos were taken at angles which make things very confusing, causing important details to be obscurred.  In fact, the picture of the side view makes you think there is square there making a "pleat"---so I ended up thinking that maybe the errant square was supposed to be part of that.  And when I found out my mistake, I felt that one couldn't refer the pictures to the help a knitter out.

Strike Three:  On the squares diagram they put the letters that corresponded to the markers on the yoke of the garment in a very confusing fashion---and with a dotted line between a couple of squares.  Nowhere in the directions is there an explanation of the dotted line.  You are supposed to already know what that dotted line means.  In short, in my opinion, the squares diagram is cryptic and vague.  Even the ones which tell you to knit between markers are confusing.  Is it me or is that confusing?

And not only that, but the pattern stated that it was for an "Intermediate" knitter.  And I called the LYS owner where I purchased the booklet and she couldn't figure it out either---and she is an expert knitter. 

Okay, I'm off my rant now.  And like I said, I'm angry with Berroco. (Ok, maybe I'm not off my rant...)  I think they edited that pattern in error and then placed the squares diagram and garment pictures in a very minimal, incomplete fashion.  I think the directions should have been more clear.  I don't for a minute think it's the fault of the pattern's author, Norah Gaughan.  And that is because, in my opinion, I think that some patterns are pared down by pattern editors to the bare bones---even Elizabeth Zimmerman complained about this facet of editors' behaviors when a knitter attempts to write patterns for books or booklets!!!  (Yes, she actually did---but I can't remember which book I read that in.)

And speaking of Elizabeth Zimmerman, if she were a pattern booklet editor, I bet you'd have NEVER caught HER editing a booklet by putting a vertical squares diagram horizontally if the actual square placement should be read vertically.  And I know she would have written the directions exactly correct, explaining things more explicitly.

(Dang it---I'm supposed to be a proficient knitter so I hope nobody is laughing at me over my error.)

(I should do what Elizabeth Zimmerman advised: “Knit On, with confidence and hope, through all crises” ---but for some stupid reason I always mess that quote up by saying it in Star Trek's Vulcan language: "Knit on and prosper" .....)

(With or without the corresponding finger placement...)

(I don't think she would mind---she is always very understanding about knitters' foibles...)

(Maybe I'm just an idiot---or was off my game that day I made the mistake.....)

Update (after writing this post)
I just called Berrocco to complain.  After my explanation of the above, the person I talked to said she was going to go talk to the designing department and get back to me within the hour.  After I explained the problem I also told her that I had had to frog very carefully and had ruined some very expensive yarn---a yarn that is discontinued.  
Update (after complaining to Berocco)
I just received a call back from Berroco.  A editor (who sounded a little condescending to me) thought the directions to the pattern were just fine, which is weird since she did admit that several areas of the directions actually WERE cryptic and difficult to understand.  In fact, she said that they were going to put changes on the website that explained things better.  She also said she'd notify the pattern author which I really regret because she is such a sweet person and I certainly don't want to insult her as a pattern writer.  So...... that doesn't help me much.  I feel like an idiot.  But after arguing about it so much, and proving her wrong in certain places of the pattern to the degree that they're going to explain it better on the website, I now know that Berroco is not somebody I will deal with again.  My experience with them was negative.  But there are other brands of beautiful yarns and books/booklets to use for subsequent projects.


  1. I hear you and complaining to Berroco was the right thing to do. And for the record (my record anyway), a yoke is not the back, ever. Knit on bo knit on... Sue

  2. HI BO
    I know your pain!

    I tried to frog a Color Affection Shawl that was too tight along one edge making it misshapen..Could not be frogged, could not salvage the beautiful yarn... whole thing went in the garbage. (big sigh) It is frustrating to do all that work and have a horrible piece at the end then to lose all that lovely wool! In your case irreplaceable cotton..Oh well, guess it happens and we must move on to another project :~} You do make some pretty awesome pieces with out patterns. I think your natural knitting talent leads you down a more adventurous and enjoyable path.


  3. Thank you very much, Robin! It almost makes me want to use cheap yarn for the rest of my life so it won't hurt so much to lose some really valuable yarn!

    Bo :)

  4. You can go to ravelry and ask if ANYONE has some of your expensive and discontinued yarn. I've had great luck with those little bits of balls no one has the heart to toss....even if there isn't really enough to make anything with.

    1. Thanks, Chloe! I think I will do that. I've looked on eBay but didn't see the same color, waaah.