Thursday, May 31, 2007

QUICKtip: check the web for errata BEFORE you cast on

(A lot of QUICKtips lately because the garden calls--I've been hoarding these short little tips up for the busy days of summer....)

ERRATA (err-ah-tah; plural noun)
Errors in printing or writing, especially such errors noted in a list of corrections and bound into a book. [Latin errātum, from neuter past participle of errāre, to stray.]

Old hands have learned this the hard way--this TECHknitting QUICKtip is for newer knitters, and was inspired by a novice knitter I overheard in my LYS last winter--asking the workers why the pattern she'd bought a few weeks earlier wasn't working. The idea that it wasn't her fault--that the pattern could be wrong--clearly shocked her.

In the old days, publishers would send out "errata notices," little strips of paper that your LYS was supposed to paste or tape into a booklet to correct the errors the publisher found out about only after the booklet was published. Similarly, when you bought a pattern book, a flurry of little errata slips often fell out as you opened the book for the first time. The publishers quaintly believed that since the error was theirs, they ought to fix it.

With the advent of the web, publishers and designers have put the onus on YOU to check their websites to see if errata have been published. It would behoove you to do that--there are pretty much no publishers immune, and magazine patterns seem particularly prone to being full of errors. Not to mention yarn company patterns.

Bottom line: check the publisher's web site for pattern errata BEFORE you cast on. Heck, check the whole web--bloggers often find problems...before publishers do...



Kim U said...

I was just thinking about the whole errata topic last night - I honestly couldn't figure out how publishers managed to get this info out before the internet. Thank goodness it's so easy to get this info now, especially with being able to check blogs in addition to the "official" errata notices :)

Gaile said...

I was also thinking about how the internet and especially blogging has changed things for knitters (and all kinds of hobbyists, crafters, etc). I can remember throwing down patterns in disgust because I couldn't figure out where they were messed up. Now I just google to see who knows the answer.

What amazes me more is the knitters who refuse to embrace the internet as a valuable resource.

Love your blog btw - I have you bookmarked.

marjorie said...

I think things are slightly better with regard to correcting errors than they were in the past because you can find corrections on the net. I have lots of those old pattern books with the copies of corrections stapled in. What a pain that was.

I do think that publishers are sloppier now than in the past with regard to mistakes. There seem to be more mistakes. This is not to excuse their lack of care, but it is really hard to proof something like a pattern with thousands of symbols and numbers. I just think working with a pattern is another case of caveat emptor--it is up to the knitter to read it through, question anything that seems odd, and adjust as you go. Whenever I think "that can't be right," it usually isn't.

Grannie said...

Your site is a godsend to all knitters - thank you, thank you, thank you! It's bookmarked for those 'huh?' moments.....

Especially thanks for the original Kitchener bind off - I LOVE it!!


CricketB said...

Just a quick update to this great advice: Also check Ravelry. Chances are, if there's an errata, it will be there.