Anectodotal Observation – Knitting Patterns vs. Crochet Patterns
Perhaps it’s just me. And I know this might be controversial. But my recent experience with two crochet patterns indicates crochet pattern writers can be so much lazier than knit-pattern writers.
Some Crochet Patterns Really Suck
I know there are shitty knitting patterns too. It is also clearly acknowledged that this is a first-world problem. But recent personal experience seems to indicate to me that there are more shitty crochet patterns out there.
April Showers Shawl is a pretty design. And my recent crochet basket project looked like a fun, easy project.
But both patterns could use a full rewrite.
April showers uses complex stitch repeats and references to sc spaces that could be very confusing. I was fortunate to be on a daily Zoom meet-up with another crocheter who had completed this project. Tommy walked me through the design so that I could eventually memorize what to do. As a less-experienced crocheter, I just assumed it was me who struggled with the pattern writing. But Tommy also had difficulty with it.
As for the scrap yarn crochet basket, I really picked the worst pattern/blog description I could have imagined. Pages and pages of descriptive text before it got to the most bare-bones description of how to make this project. This project is not easy. It is rife with possible problems. Especially if you’re not an experienced crocheter.
Fortunately, there is a very good video tutorial out there if anyone wants to make this project. It’s too late for me to go back and try to unravel 7 plies of yarn. But if I ever decide to try this out again, it will be much better.
Are you bi-stitchual? What’s your experience with the caliber of patterns in knitting and crochet?
All that being said, I have decided to continue on with the scrap-yarn crochet basket.
It’s not going to be as sturdy as I’d imagined (the sides flop down). And it takes a LOT of work for something so bulky. But Perseverance is my middle name.
I also banged out another West Coast Watchcap (if you didn’t notice from my feature photo).
Not my favorite colors, but I really love the interesting mix of Noro colors in one ball of their yarn.
36 comments on “Anectodotal Observation – Knitting Patterns vs. Crochet Patterns”
I’ve been crocheting for 52 years and knitting for 17. In that time I’ve run into many more badly written crochet patterns than knit ones. I consider myself to be an expert crocheter, and I’m really good at interpreting patterns, but sometimes I have to look at the picture to figure it out. If you’re not an experienced crocheter, it’s hard to do that.
I’ve been crocheting for years and a bit of knitting. I agree with you in crochet patterns, sometimes I have to look at pattern to figure out how I want to proceed. Crochet is more “forgivable” when it comes to mistakes (except edges) than knitting which I find to more precise…I hope that makes sense. I like this guys humor.
I agree! I recently purchased 3 different crochet patterns from 3 different vendors on Etsy. I would have done better had I simply asked for a photo of the finished product. Furthermore, I had to wait 24 hours for one pattern to be sent to me and another that had the wierdest instructions to download.
Joe, I think you are right about crochet patterns being poorly written more often. Your mentioning a sc space reminded me of a nice pattern I’m working on that needed a ch-1 space before and after each motif in order to stay flat. Is there is less tech editing and less test hooking being done?
I’m glad you stuck with basket. I like those colors strandedd together.
Thanks Tom…the original “pattern” (and I use that word charitably here) for the basket had one of the most odd descriptions of how to hook a flat circle…that part alone took me three attempts. When I realized it was just as simple as six increases per round on every round, I think I screamed, “Why didn’t you just write that!”
On a positive note, I am starting to trust my crochet skills more now.
I totally agree, Joe. I have been crocheting since age 9 and consider myself an “Advanced” crocheter. I can read charts, conquer difficult motifs, and translate UK crochet terms to US without rewriting the entire pattern. I have unravelled numerous crochet projects due to poorly written patterns. It is not just you and your skillset. Just my 2 cents.
BTW, the hat is amazing. I love the colors.
I too have been crocheting for at least 40 years. And you are correct about poorly written patterns.
I try to stick with patterns written by “professional” crochet designers. By that I mean professionally published! Although that’s no guarantee. It seems anyone thinks they can put a pattern on the Internet and become a “designer.” Also, if they use a “found” pattern and rewrite it with the most simple change, low and behold, they’ve created something totally new and this seems to mean they can write it in any style they choose. There are standards for crochet patterns just as in any other craft.
More than once I’ve told someone, “read the punctuation!” Every period, comma, parenthesis means something!
Crochet patterns do cause a lot of muffled swearing in this household, although it may be learned behaviour. My Gran was an amazing, and compulsive knitter (I once saw her go off in an ambulance wearing an oxygen mask and clutching her knitting bag). She always said crochet was the Devil’s invention.
I would agree with Marcia though, the problem does seem to lie with “amateur” patterns. Perhaps proof reading is called for, it might make sense to the writer but less so to anyone else. That’s not meant as a criticism of anyone, I fiddle around with my own knitting designs, but know my jottings would make no sense to others!
I have seen graphed crochet patterns and they’re so much easier, I don’t know why there aren’t more of these like we see with complex knitting patterns.
I’m fairly new to knitting (2 years) compared to crocheting (6 years) but in my little experience, I have to agree. With crochet I can read written patterns, but I tend to simplify them myself and rewrite them as I go so when I get to the pattern row repeat, I can write it more in concise knitting pattern style, which I didn’t even realize I was doing until I learned to knit lol Like for example some crochet patterns are so wordy, “3 Dc in next stitch,*dc chain 1 skip 1* to last 2 stitches” I will write “3dc, *1dc ch1 sk1* til last 2sts”. I also appreciate crochet diagrams a lot! And pictures, or even videos explaining a particular stitch or part of the pattern that may be unique or difficult to word. Like the Virus pattern, written it looks like a NIGHTMARE. And I’ve seen it written by many talented people, but the stitch pattern itself and where exactly to place stitches for a beginner is very difficult to interpret without any visual. A square virus blanket was my third crochet project ever, and I had to use a video tutorial instead lol That was also around the time I learned to read crochet diagrams which make the written pattern issues a lot easier to deal with.
Don’t knit much so can’t comment on knit patterns but both amateur and professional crochet patterns are terrible any more. I’ve only been crocheting for 60+ years
I can’t speak for knitting patterns but man!! Crochet patterns?! I consider myself very intermediate w crochet and I notice mistakes in more patterns than not! I go into it half expecting to find significant mistakes that I end up having to translate myself. It’s too bad. ESPECIALLY when you pay for them AND the designer will not write you back when you contact them for help! It’s really too bad!
I would like to offer one of my crochet patterns to be used to show that there are crochet designers out there that can write some great patterns. It frustrates me when I try to crochet someone else’s pattern and it doesn’t make sense. I have been crocheting off and on for the past 30 years and started designing patterns on 2015. I think having people test your patterns is very important and I think some designers don’t use testers to find mistakes.
Angel, can you identify one of your patterns,. I would be interested.
I have been crocheting for 45+ years and knitting for somewhat less than that and am self taught for both (I sent $1.00-four quarters taped to an index card-in to the US magazine Seventeen and received a “how to knit and crochet” brochure back from them). Now, I watch YouTube videos to help with techniques that I don’t understand and can see that the way I taught myself to do certain things aren’t necessarily correct. For this reason, I tend to think that if something isn’t working for me, it’s me, not the pattern. But you’re right. I’ve run across many crochet patterns that I could just not follow and almost no knit patterns. It doesn’t seem to make any difference, though, if they’re “professional” patterns or not. I once tried to crochet a child’s sweater from a magazine and could not make it come out right. I used exactly the yarn called for in the pattern, but there was no way on earth to follow those instructions and get the correct gauge. I even wrote to the designer for help and got an answer to the effect, “there’s nothing wrong with these instructions, if you can’t make it work, it’s because you aren’t doing it correctly.” Pretty sure it wasn’t….
Crocheting patterns are always a source of frustration. So many are poorly written and for whatever reason, a lot of them aren’t tested before being published. I have found even paid patterns have left me angry and I end up rewriting them because you can tell they were written with just enough knowledge to be written but not enough experience to know what they are doing. I always have a pad of paper and a pen when trying out a pattern because I have experienced so many bad patterns.
With knitting, most of the time I only need sticky notes and a pen so I can make a tick sheet to keep track of what row/round I am on. I have come across very few errors in knitting patterns. It is why I prefer to knit over crochet.
Most crochet patterns are poorly written. I usually start with a pattern but most of the time after a few rows I veer from it and go it on my own. It is really a shame but it is what it is.
Love the color of the Noro yarn…could you tell which one it is and the color number? Thank you.
Thanks Bethany…I’m a huge fan of how well Noro combines unexpected colors in a very appealing way. This one is Kureopatora in colorway 1009 (lot C if that matters to you).
I definitely agree. I am bi-stitchual, but started with knitting. Learning crochet patterns has been difficult for me as quite a few of them seem….open to interpretation….. So far, the only saving grace for me is that I can usually fudge the stitches around to MAKE them work…..this is not as easy to do without folks noticing your mistakes in knitting, and that is the gospel truth! So while I find crochet delightfully free form, I definitely find myself wishing frequently that the patterns were NOT.
I’m pretty sure this is part of the reason for the knitter’s guild courses. To streamline ability and pattern writing finesse. There is no such guild or committee I know of for crochet, which means it’s willy nilly and unreliable.
It only really bothers me when it’s a pattern I have paid for. I expect with the exchange of currency that there have been pattern testers and actual gauge/yardage calculated.
You made a gorgeous hat! Thanks for venting, it’s how I’ve found your blog! 🙂
Those who say they’ve never encountered a poorly written knit pattern have never attempted the Gail/Nightsongs shawl. I’m bistitchual as well, and agree that crochet patterns tend to be less well written. But then again, it’s easier to fudge over a mistake, or if needed, WAY easier to rip back than tink back. I think that’s why bad knitting patterns frustrate me more than bad crochet patterns.
Love your use of bi-stitchual, by the way.
I have been knitting for 4 or 5 years now and have used lots of patterns with hardly any problems, so I didn’t expect to have much issue when I taught myself to crochet using a book from the same publisher from whom I learned to knit. Boy was I wrong! I have been trying pattern after pattern several times a piece and have only successfully completed 2 projects, and one only kind of looks like the picture! I thought I was doing something wrong since I’ve only been crocheting for a few months but this post makes me feel soo much better! I didn’t realize I needed to be more discerning with what pattern i chose, because with knitting I just had to watch for techniques I didn’t know how to do yet. Unfortunately I’m very new to crocheting so I’m not sure how to go about finding a good pattern now…
Hi…I’m a crochet pattern tester…and sometimes patterns as you said are written poorly…..I even had patterns which were written in both Uk terms and US terms.in one pattern…which is unreal…
I saw your basket…I suggest like 2 strands of worsted weight yarn #4 with J hook….or you can use 2 strands of Bernat Blanket yarn which is what I’ll be doing shortly…..
Well good luck….my name is Fran 🐱
Oh completely agree! I’ve been knitting for about 5 yesterday and only crocheting 2-3 years. I started a star stitch blanket for my daughter and had to restart it 3 times because each pattern I tried following was poorly written and they caused the blanket to start having increases or decreases (some were very apparent early on, but another I didn’t notice until I was over 4 skeins in at 590 yards each- my hubby broke down and bought me a yarn winder after I broke down in tears that time)! I ended up tweaking what I noticed worked out of the multiple free crochet patterns and now her queen sized blanket is almost 6 feet long and looks great.
Good job not giving up! I started an “heirloom” afgan about 6 months ago. I put it in quotes bc i feel like no one in my family is going to get it until right before I die, that is how long it’s taking me since I restared 4 times. Haha I had also reached the halfway point when I realized about half of my chord stitches had gone the wrong way bc I forgot to take out my secret spy decoding marker and read the invisible print!
I wish I had my grandmother’s skills. She could look at a crocheted item and copy it without a pattern. She did not like to use patterns. She had samples of edgings and stitches that she would use to jog her memory. But she could make just about anything by working it out on her own. I can work out simple shapes with crocheting, because crocheting is more like drawing. Knitting is a bit harder to work out as you go along, for me, anyway.
I have found the Craft Yarn Council’s website, http://www.craftyarncouncil.com, to be a very useful resource for guidelines on how to write crochet patterns, including graphical ones. They also have useful reference tables for sizing for various clothing staples.
There is also a Crochet Guild of America with chapters worldwide IIRC. They publish Crochet! magazine.
But yes, crochet patterns do seem to suffer from lack of editing or proof-reading.
Give “Hooked on Sunshine” a try. Best written crochet patterns I have ever used. There are also videos in case you need them.
I love the idea of bi-stitchual! I can’t knit to save my life, and I don’t know how to read a crochet pattern…I can tat though, so I don’t think I’m a complete loss…
I cannot tell you how glad I am your “observation ” popped up just now! I love crocheting, I’ve been doing since I was little. I’ve tried my hand at knitting a fee times and decided to put it aside for a while because I told myself I was more comfortable with crochet. So, I pick out a few quick blanket projects bc I love snuggley blankets and sweet baby Jesus. Then I told myself, lets try aome thing smaller, so I purchase a sweater pattern I want to make for my son for the fall. This time I thought I was really smart bc I read the reviews and all of them said the pattern was so easy to follow, well written, and so forth. I took it out last night with all my yarn I purchased just for that, and well, that lady must have paid those ppl to leave that review.
Thank you so much for giving me the confidence in knowing it is not just me!!!
I completely agree. In my 16 years of knitting and crocheting, I have purchased quite a lot of patterns. More recently I have noticed many crochet patterns do not include photo or written tutorials of complicated stitches, but instead will link to other people’s youtube tutorials. That isn’t very helpful to those who prefer to print their patterns instead of leaving their smartphone, tablets, or computers open while they crochet. I also take issue with designers who use the same stitches and stitch counts, move a few rows around, and then release the “new” pattern for $5+.
Reading this article and the comments has made me realise that this is why I prefer to learn crochet stitches but am happy to follow a knitting pattern. I much prefer having the stitch pattern with rows, how many stitches and so on that I can then translate into whatever I want it to be by multiplying it up. Knitting, I like knowing the stitch bit I’m more likely to follow the pattern closely than build a project from the stitch.
I created a pattern for baby animal nests for a sanctuary using both knit and crochet. It’s like a small bowl. The bottom is a 5-6″ SC crochet circle. Then 3 or 4 rounds even. Then pick up the stitches (usually 48) on a circular knitting needles and do 3 rounds of ribbing and then bind off. I don’t publish my patterns or designs. Just make things for charities. The hook and needle size should match. Experiment!