I’ve been fighting with a pattern for a hat lately. I thought maybe I was making a mistake somewhere, but I’ve had Mr. Knitter go over it with me and he found some problems in it. I also went looking for comments/questions/etc and found that the designer once answered someone who was really confused about why they couldn’t get the correct number of stitches on one of the rounds. The designer’s response boiled down to, “Yeah, me either. Don’t know why. Don’t worry… it’ll still fit in the end.”
I sometimes compare patterns to open source code. In this case, I consider the code rather bloated but I can work with that. Maybe English isn’t the designers primary language. Or maybe they were trying to be really, really careful about spelling some steps out. Or maybe they’re just accustomed to things being written differently than I am. Or (and this is a BIG one!) maybe it’s just really freakin’ hard to write a pattern. To make what’s in your head turn into words that will instruct another person in how to do the same thing you did with no instructions at all.
So I’m not unsympathetic when I see “1 dc in next sc, ch 1, 1 dc in same sc” just because my brain would have processed “[dc, ch1, dc] in next sc” more smoothly. But the thing with not being able to get the right number of stitches? That’s a real problem. And it doesn’t necessarily work out in the end and still fit. I’ve had to take out a full day’s work and do it over again three days in a row. Finally, last night, Mr. Knitter and I found a way we could modify it to keep size consistent, but I have no idea if that’s because we accidently hit on the problem and corrected it, or if it’s just that our modification compensates for the problem somewhere else.
Please have people test your patterns. And please choose people who will give you honest feedback. No one wants to hear, “This is crap! I quit after the second row. I wouldn’t make this for anyone.” At the same time, it doesn’t do any good to surround yourself with people who will find the problems and compensate for them, but then tell you, “See? It’s great! Good pattern.” Find people in the middle. The ones who will test the pattern and come back to say, “Row 11 may have a mistake in it. I compensated by doing this and it came out fine, but when I did it as written I was off for the next four rows.”
And if you can’t get consistent results from following your own pattern, something could be wrong with it.