I have the best timing.

April 27, 2008 at 4:15 pm | Posted in Arvika, lace, Random babble, shawls, WIPs | 2 Comments

See, I could have just saved this post for tomorrow and still been mostly on schedule for posting three times a week. Except that I really wouldn’t have had anything to post on Friday…

Anyway, I have a rant. A rant about badly-done patterns. Now, I understand that you get what you pay for, and that if I’m getting a pattern for a lace shawl for free, I shouldn’t expect the most wonderful thing in the world from it.

But I’d hope that the designer bothered to pay attention to what they were writing before they put it out for the world to knit. A little quality control, please!

I gave up on the Inanna cape. I was doing fine, cruising along with no mistakes, until I got to row 45, which is where things started to go to hell last time I tried this. Following the written pattern made the rows come out looking really wonky. Thinking I must have misread something, I tinked back, paid very careful attention, and started the row again.

Still bad.

I made a change where I thought it made the pattern line up better, but it just made the bits after the edit look even worse! So I turned to the pattern itself, seeing if I could find any problems.

I found a big one. The stitch count didn’t line up. It claimed that after that row, I ought to have 110 stitches on the needles. Last time I knit this, I had 106. This time, I’d had 106. I counted out the stitches according to the pattern. The pattern comes out to 106 stitches.

Except it says at the end of the line that I should have 110. So either the pattern’s wrong, the stitch count is wrong, or I repeatedly had brain farts just at that exact moment to make everything fall apart.

I gave up. I frogged again. On my break at work, I went and found another free shawl pattern that I could use and that would suit my needs. Oh, the 24 Carats shawl, also from Elann.com is pretty! I’ll so that one.

I was confused by row 11. Continue the eyelet pattern, increasing every 4 rows… It made no sense when you consider that the eyelet pattern increased on every row! So I went and checked to see if there were any errata.

Not so much errata as a lot of people complaining that this shawl was badly put together, most likely not test-knit, and needed some serious revisions for it to even begin to make sense. Bravo, designer! Or bravo, Elann, for not bothering to pay attention to the patterns you put out.

Now again, I understand that I got this pattern for free. I got what I paid for. But given that I take pride in the few patterns I’ve managed to put out online for free, and I occasionally do vanity searches to see what, if anything, people might be saying, and if there are mistakes in the patterns I fix them accordingly, I figure it’s not too much to ask for others to do the same. Just because a thing is free doesn’t mean it has to suck. It seems to me some places just shove out pattern after pattern in an attempt to boost their popularity, no matter how rushed or how badly written the pattern is. Places with lots of free knitting patterns get lots of visitors, and visitors might want to buy some of the for-sale patterns too, after all.

Yes, that’s a sly dig at certainly companies. But after attempting to knit two of their patterns and finding both riddled with errors, I think I’m entitled to a dig or two.

And I understand that not all Elann free shawl patterns are bad. Luna Moth, Moonlight Sonata, and Sun Ray all seem to be popular patterns with plenty of knitters who’ve completed them with no problems. I guess I just got the two duds. But I still think my point stands. Quality control is a good thing.

So anyway, I frogged again, and carefully browsed patterns in my collection last night for something that was what I wanted in a pattern that made sense. It wasn’t my ideal choice at the time, but I eventually settled on the Arvika shawl. And let me say how glad I am that I did this! The pattern is very simple, intuitive, and looks very nice even in the plain red yarn I’m using. I imagine it would look even better in a variegated yarn, which I intend to try someday. It’s also simple enough that I’d recommend this as a good shawl pattern for beginning lace knitters who want to do something impressive and big. The pattern is that easy to get into.

And you know what? Arvika wasn’t knit by a big-name designer and put out on a big-name site. But it’s well done, looks good, and has no errors. I can tell this because the pattern is actually working. So I give hearty and un-sarcastic kudos to you, Arvika’s designer, for giving me what I needed when I needed it.

To give you an idea of just how easy and quick this thing is, the picture is of the shawl as of this moment. I cast on for it this morning, and this is approximately a morning’s work, in between calls. Granted, I’m using US 10 needles and knitting at a looser gauge than I did for Inanna, but even so, it’s moving much faster than Inanna did, and I think I’ve got the pattern memorized already, so I can knit it just about anywhere!



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  1. Hi Ria,

    thanks for the kudos :-)

    I am glad that you like my pattern:-) If you want to knit something more complicated afterwards, try the Tinka Shawl. It starts like an Arvika Shawl, but ends with a more lacy edging.

    Greetings from Germany


  2. I love that picture of the shawl-in-progress because it makes it look like a slice of watermelon! (Only with no rind.) Yum!

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