Find out what to do when you have a problem with a knitting pattern and aren’t sure what to do next!
We’ve all been there, you’re super excited to start your new knitting project, you’re cruising along, and then suddenly…you don’t know what to do next. You have a problem with your knitting pattern. Ugh. Either the instructions don’t make sense to you, or what the pattern is telling you to do doesn’t seem to work!
I know we are all tempted, in this situation, to just frog the whole thing and forget it when it gets frustrating. Or we want to stash that WIP in the back of a closet and move onto something newer and easier and more fun. But if you can work through the problem with that knitting pattern, you will feel so accomplished and proud of yourself. And you’ll probably learn some new things too!
So today I’m going to lay out some steps to follow when you have a problem with a knitting pattern. If you need to troubleshoot a knitting pattern, follow these steps, IN ORDER, and hopefully you’ll get your knitting project back on track!
How to prevent problems with knitting patterns
- Read the entire pattern BEFORE you start. Often instructions that seem confusing in the middle may make more sense in context of the entire knitting pattern.
- Look up abbreviations before you start. Some patterns will put a stitch abbreviation section near the top of the pattern and if they do, make sure to read that. If not, Google it. Google will solve all of your knitting stitch abbreviation problems.
- Don’t attempt a knitting pattern WAY above your ability level. If you just started knitting, maybe don’t jump from a garter stitch scarf to a colorwork sweater. Learning to knit is a process and you should take on one new skill at a time. Maybe start with simple knitting in the round. Then add mosaic knitting, then stranded colorwork, then move on to sweaters. If you try to do too much at once, you’re bound to have problems.
What to do when you have a problem with a knitting pattern
Take a break. Seriously. I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me they got super frustrated and hit a snag and the problem turned out to be that they were working too fast or for too long and had just read something incorrectly in haste.
Whether it’s a five minute break or you need to sleep on it, take a breather and then come back to it and try again. (Just don’t let it turn into a 6 month break!) This will solve 50% of knitting pattern problems, maybe you skipped over a word, read an abbreviation wrong or miscounted your stitches, approaching the problem with fresh eyes often helps.
Google it. If the issue is simply that you don’t understand a term or abbreviation, Google it. This is another 30% of questions that I get. “What does the abbreviation ‘xyz’ mean?”
It’s not that I don’t WANT to help my readers, I do! And if you ask me these questions, I will help you!
But you’ll get a much faster answer from Dr. Google. Good designers will use common knitting terms and abbreviations which means there will be readily available explanations for those terms and abbreviations to find with a search engine without waiting for a human being to reply.
I also LOVE this book for all my knitting abbreviation and technique questions.
Go to Ravelry. Ravelry is one of the BEST resources out there for knitters and crocheters. If you are having a problem with a knitting pattern, search on Ravelry for the name of the pattern and the designer. From there you will want to look for:
- Errata – This is a list the designer keeps with any known problems and corrections for a given a knitting pattern. Check there first! You can find a link to any errata (if there is one) on the pattern page.
- Projects – Click on the projects tab on the pattern page (here’s an example), there you can see example projects from other knitters who have knit this pattern. Read their project notes and you may find someone else who had the same problem and you will be able to find out how they solved it!
- Forums – Visit the Ravelry forums. If your designer has a designer’s group in the forums you may be able to ask questions there. Otherwise there are plenty of boards where you can ask for help with all kinds of knitting related problems! Just make sure you know that it is not allowed to repost entire patterns in those threads for copyright reasons. But you can certainly ask specific questions about wording etc for portions of patterns.
Visit your Local Yarn Store (LYS). This is such an underutilized resource, friends. The people who run yarn stores are a wealth of knowledge and they want to gain loyal repeat customers so they’re happy to help you.
So, if you have a problem with a pattern, pop in to your local yarn store and ask for help. Even better if you can visit on their group knit/crochet night when there will be a whole group of experienced fiber lovers to help you!
Make sure you return that favor by buying yarn and supplies there as often as you can, we want to keep our beloved local yarn stores in business!
Contact the knitting pattern designer. I’m going to put this as the last step in the troubleshooting process. I hope that’s not controversial. Again, it’s not that we don’t want to help you. It’s that this is likely to be the slowest way to get an answer and my goal with this post is to get you your answers FAST.
Some of us get tons of emails and messages. Many of us are running small businesses in small leftover scraps of time and don’t check email every second of every day.
And most all we really do care about you, so we don’t want to dash off a short crappy answer. We will wait until we can sit down and really write you a good answer. Which, of course, may take a while.
The other options above are likely to get you help with your problem knitting pattern much faster.
BUT if you have definitely, for sure, found an error in a knitting pattern, by all means, let us know!
Happy knitting, friends!
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