This blog post has been sitting since January, waiting for me to hit the publish button. Why didn't I publish it? Well, I felt I needed to step away before releasing this out into the world. This past holiday season was so busy and I spent more time answering messages than I did knitting or designing, which I'm happy to do.. except for a couple of messages that lingered and left a bad taste, prompting this post. I sat on this for a while, but then it happened again, through an Etsy purchase. So now I am revisiting this because I think it's worth the post.
As a knitter, I sometimes have questions and don't know where to turn when it's a pattern released by a company or yarn brand. Who provides the pattern support? Do you contact the company support or the designer? Do you even get an answer back?
I've been there, both sides. I wanted to answer some of the more common questions I get and share some perhaps unpopular personal opinions. The questions and answers get more intense further along, so take it with a grain of salt.
Just remember: You'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar!
A: While fur sources may be more protected by pom makers, most of us don't mind sharing where we purchase our poms from. If you are on Instagram, many of us tag the pom makers in the caption or on the photo itself. There are many pom makers if you just search around and way too many to list here. If there's one you really love and there isn't a tag, just ask!
If you truly need a copy emailed because of something outside of the above, you still need to provide us enough information to verify your purchase: pattern name, where you purchased it, order number, and the email/ username you purchased with. Please refrain from asking if a pattern can be sent to a different email address though - it just puts us in a difficult place to verify that it's still you.Q: A pattern was updated - how can I get the updated version?
A: Easy peasy on Ravelry! Updates to all buyers can be easily sent all at once and you'll see a link to update your pattern the next time you check your library.
For the most part, since my patterns are mainly accessories, they can be resized by changing the number of repeats or the needle size. This information is usually included in the patterns. I am better able to provide suggestions if you let me know what you're trying to do. Some patterns lend well to resizing while others do not, so it is always important to give the following information: Pattern name, yarn weight (yarn is also helpful), resizing larger or smaller (age is helpful, but a head circumference is even better), and your typical gauge with your materials. For head measurements, there are charts and tables readily available that you can find online to help you with length and circumference as well.
Another note: If you don't gauge, please don't blame the designers for making a pattern that doesn't fit you. Not everyone knits with the same tension or uses the same yarns, which will affect the fit. Adjust your needle size or the number of repeats rather than leaving a poor review for patterns that have been thoroughly tested and work.
From my perspective, and this may be an unpopular opinion, saying that a pattern is frustrating or that you are frustrated by a pattern implies that the pattern is the problem. Most of us put patterns through a full testing phase before publishing (I always do). There simply isn't a way to make every single person happy, no matter how a pattern is written. Designers have to decide what works for them. (For instance, I have had people wanting me to change my formatting and order of presentation, and it affects the entire flow of the pattern as I see it. It has to make sense to ME since I am the one providing pattern support.) Remember that we are all at different stages of knitting and experience, and that years of knitting experience does not equate to a specific level of knitting. There is never a need to verbally attack anyone over frustration.
A: I get this question a LOT. While many people make videos, I do not. I will provide links when I can and if something needs more explanation, I will make a photo tutorial. I always strive to make them clear with written instructions to pair with the photos as well. I have found that many still print the patterns and a majority of patterns do not need further explanations with photos. Please refrain from asking for a video before trying out the stitch using photos, one step at a time, following the written captions with them.
* Here's another unpopular opinion: My thought on video tutorials is against the majority frame of mind these days. I think we rely too much on technology for things like this. Looking at old knitting and crochet books, these are mainly illustrated rather than actual photos. The ability for mass videos didn't even exist. Even today, the Vogue Knitting books are illustrated! I think it's important to keep our critical thinking skills sharp and not rely on videos for everything.
This is far from a comprehensive list of what I get in messages, but it's a start. Bottomline is to just remember that there is a real person behind the scenes answering these emails and questions. Most of us do not have a team managing social media or pattern support.
So just be courteous and kind as you start typing those messages, yes?