Thursday, September 20, 2012

How to: Follow Directions

Now why would I name this post such a thing? How dare I suggest that we crocheters not know how to follow directions?!? Get real! Most of us pick up a hook and a skein of yarn and we're good to go. We can look at a hat or a scarf and basically tell what stitches have been used and proceed from there to make one very similar for ourselves.

But when it comes to a "kit" project we usually take a few liberties with the directions. I've found, through trail and error, that the kit is usually right. So here's what I do when it comes to a project such as this one:

Take a moment to make sure the kit itself hasn't been tampered with. If you see signs that the kit you received appears to have been opened, you may be missing important items needed for the completion of the project.

Now compare the items in the kit to the necessary list of "what you'll need". Some kits come complete with everything you need, while others will only supply the yarn (as is the case with this one) and you are required to have the hook and "notions" yourself.

This may seem trivial to some of you but personally I hate (hatehatehate) to have to stop halfway through and run down to the local craft store for items I'm missing. Inevitably it seems to happen between paydays when we're already tightening up the budget belt and the missing item is a bit over what I feel like we can afford at the moment. *sigh* That means the project goes to a back burner and won't get finished until next year. So make sure you have all that you need before you start! Lesson learned!

Next, be sure to read over all the directions before you start. Why? Because you may come across something you don't understand or you may find errors that slipped past the proofreader. The people that do these things are human just like you and me and mistakes are made even when it's been past all the necessary steps for publication. Also, go through the list of abbreviations, make sure you understand the writers language before you begin. Is it in American or British English terminology? This is important because the American single crochet is the British English double crochet. If you run across a British English pattern you'd like make here's a cool link to a chart comparing the two: British English to American crochet abbreviations

And the last step I do is to go to the website of the publishing company that did the directions. I do this to look for any changes made to the pattern after I received my copy. Someone may very well have ordered that pattern and found errors that have been since been fixed. It takes time to get someone from the company to review the pattern, check on the spot where reported errors may be and decided whether or not a revision is required. 

Like I said before, it may seem trivial to some or most of you, but taking these steps ensures that I can just sit down and start without having to worry about something that may trip me up later. And for anyone new to the "kit" concept these steps are a good way to start some habits that will aid you in the future.

Thanks to my Mother, I'm now going to have a Gingerbread House that will last for years!

Gingerbread House by Carolyn Christmas available from     


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