June 18, 2004

Attention Gloria Steinem

I'm sort of ticked off.

Remember the tank I just knit? The blue one ( yeah sorry, that doesn't help much) the ribbed one with the cable up the front? The one where I spent several hours of my life fixing the ribbing with a stinking crochet hook because I had screwed it up? You know, how I was (despite my education, ability and experience) apparently unable to correctly execute a ribbing pattern? I had to drop down 17 stitches correct their orientation and ladder them back up again. All because I wasn't paying attention to the pattern. Thought I was, but I guess I just sort of faded to black there for a minute and knit something that bore no relationship to the pattern. Oh well, there's nine hours of my life I'll never get back, but I have only myself to blame.

Well get a load of this. Sitting here this morning, again with the trusty cup(s) of coffee and reading my e-mail. There is one there from Fibertraditions, from a lovely knitter named Linda. Now it just so happens that Linda is knitting the same tank top, and when she got to the armhole armscye her ribbing was all screwed up. Clearly Linda has better self-esteem than I do, because instead of beginning a shame spiral of self doubt and degradation....Linda checked the Vogue Knitting Corrections webpage, and lo and behold...

The pattern is wrong.

It's not me...it's them! Them, them, them! For the rest of this post I will be attempting to ignore the fact that this error cost me nine hours of my life. I will have you know though, that I have not forgotten this, and that I am merely putting aside my bitterness and resentment for another day.

Here's where I'd like you to pay attention. Here is a page of errata for knitting books. Here is errata from another magazine, here is another, and another. I have put this many to make it clear that I'm not picking on anybody. There is obviously a lot of error in knitting patterns.
(We will also spent the rest of this post ignoring that despite the fact that there is tons of errors in knitting patterns, and despite my belief that I am a decent knitter, when there is something wrong with my knitting I instinctively blame myself ...)

This is what makes me mad, a search of Fine Woodworking, revealed that there is apparently ONE ERROR they would like you to know about, not in that issue, in the history of the magazine. This magazine has no error corrections on their site, and this one has one correction for the last year.

Given that these magazines also supply patterns, charts and complex materials lists, am I the only one who thinks it's odd that they have such a lower number of errors? Without giving in to my natural tendency toward conspiracy theories, do you think that it's possible that it has anything at all to do with the fact that most of the knitting magazines are bought by women and most of the woodworking magazines are bought by men? Note again that I am not picking on knitting suppliers...the issue is widespread and besides, I don't think it is their fault. I think...(deep breath) I think it's our fault.
If one of Joe's electronics magazines cost him hours in a frustrating error, he would never buy it again. I confirmed this with him. No way..."my time is worth something" he said. I would appear that the magazines that he reads know this, since this quote was found in their writers guidelines.

"Double and triple check your facts...Publishing corrections in subsequent issues will not recover missed opportunities, hurt feelings, or damaged reputations."

You betcha. Joe's time is worth something. There is no way that magazine expects that he would continue to buy their schematics and patterns if they are error riddled. He simply wouldn't stand for it.

Now me....I've been buying error riddled knitting magazines and books for years. Something which is really, really my fault, since I've never even complained. Nine hours of my life....gone, and not only do I not say a word, I blame myself for not checking to see if the pattern was wrong before I started, and I have every intention of buying it again, and again and I still love them. I've also bought lots of excellent books and magazines, with no errors at all. There's lots of great vendors out there, and this rant is in no way directed at them.

Since Gloria Steinem is unlikely to address this knitting pattern issue any time soon (what with women still owning less property, making less money and holding less political world power than men) I think I'll settle for dropping the magazine a polite note, (before I buy my next copy - 'cause you know I will) just to let them know that I care, and my time is worth something.

(PS. the mango tank is fine ...no mistakes)
(PS again...I just finished reading Carol Shields "Unless". That could explain a lot about this post, It could get anyone going)

Posted by Stephanie at June 18, 2004 11:33 AM