Saturday, November 29, 2014

WTF, Sally Melville?

I have the trilogy of Sally Melville's basic Knitting Experience books, which includes (1- The Knit Stitch, 2- The Purl Stitch, and 3- Color).  I don't necessarily have a problem with the "fashion" of these patterns, albeit a good number DO look a little dated to me.  The books' patterns (particularly those in Book 1) are mostly odd, asymmetrical, boxy things that don't really look good on someone my shape and size.  But the books have value for me not because of the patterns, but for the basic knitting instructions. It is what sets Melville's books apart from other knitting books.  The patterns are laid out very clearly with detailed information about gauge, yarn, needles, etc. 

Yeah, not so much in the 3rd book, sadly. The quality of the pattern instructions has really declined.

As of the date I am typing this, I am currently trying to knit "The Seventies" poncho pattern for my seven-year-old niece. She personally picked this pattern out. First of all, I am about 1/3 of the way done and I just noticed that the charted snowflake pattern that I've been diligently knitting does not match the pattern as it appears on the garments worn by the models in the pictures. It's not terrible---in fact it is the same pattern---just slightly different, like it's centered differently or something. So referring to the pictures is NO HELP when trying to determine if I'm staying on course. 

Second, I have also noticed that my poncho is turning out really small. Like toddler sized. According to the pattern instructions, the child size fits sizes 4 to 10. My niece is very tiny; she still wears a child's size 6. I must have missed something somewhere, right? So I looked back at the written instructions. There it mentions the unusual increases in the chart rounds. I haven't had any problems following the chart and the increases at all. But the instructions mention "rounds 69-77." chart ends at row 69.

So, Oops, I guess?

Thirdly, I decided to check the internet and, lo and behold, there are errata available for this book of patterns, and this pattern in particular.  Do they address the charting being off-centered? No. The missing 9 rows? No. But the errata DID mention that the entire poncho should have been knit on size 7 needles and not size 6. Awesome. Thanks for that.

So now I don't trust that anything at all is right with this pattern. I was getting gauge on size 6, but maybe that gauge is wrong? Maybe I was supposed to use bulky yarn instead of worsted?  What ELSE is screwed up?

I'm not ripping it out. I need to have this done and sent to North Carolina in time for Christmas. I am just going to have to extend the chart out on some graph paper.  Hopefully, I can get it close to the 20-inch length that it's supposed to be (not counting fringe). As it is now, if I don't do something, it will be like 14 inches long.

Hey, Sally, did anyone bother to test knit these patterns before you committed them to the book? This is like knitting patterns 101, here, Sally. Come on. Very disappointing.

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