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Internet Knitting Etiquette

October 18, 2011
by Erin B

I understand that part of what makes the internet great is the free sharing of ideas.  I also really hope that someday as a knitter I can draft a pattern worthy of sharing.  Until then I am very thankful to all the people out there who do share their patterns for free so that beginner knitters (like me) can try out a few things with out spending hundreds of dollars on patterns.

Take my last project.  I broke down and paid $5 for the pattern.  No big deal.  Except that the problem with the previously mentioned knitting divide is that the pattern (as written) is not really usable for my style of knitting.  So, either I was out $5 or I had to try to completely re-write the pattern so that I could use it.  Which I did.  Badly.  I am happy how the item turned out but it no longer looks like the pattern I paid for.   Also, there are places where the mental translation let me down and the (slightly) lace pattern has irregularities.

Which to me is the big pitfall of buying patterns.  No one lists what stitches you need to know to be able to complete the pattern until after you buy it.  No big deal for experienced (or conventional) knitters, but when you are a beginner and knit in a heretical style, it is.  It took me over an hour to figure out the ssk looks sort of like a p2tg.  Not exactly, but close enough for me to continue.  I’m not even sure if p2tg is a real notation or if I just made that up!

(Quick Google search reveals: it’s a real thing, but not even close to a ssk)

Nevermind that my k2tg is also different!  Basically, I will have no idea if it is even possible for me to follow a pattern until after I pay and there are no returns if I can’t use the pattern once I look at it.  And it’s unclear if I can legally sell the pattern if I can’t use it.  That’s a whole other issue, but that is very upsetting too.

Free is good.

But it isn’t ALWAYS free.

This is something else I don’t understand.  There are people out there that offer their patterns for free (Thank you!) but encode then so that you are forced to download and install special software to read them.  OK, on one hand I can understand that they are protecting their copyright if they ever want to sell the pattern later, but on the other hand….  what a PITA to look at a pattern!  Once again,  major hoops with no idea if I will be able to use it at the end. And talk about an easy way to spread an internet virus to little old ladies, market it as a “free knitting program” and you will have 10,000 downloads by lunch!

Now, if you excuse me, I’m off to contact a famous combination knitter for help with my ssk.

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