Bordering on…

Not sure where to start.

From the beginning, I suppose.

Finishing the main triangle of my grandma’s shawl made me very happy, but not nearly as happy as the realization that the hard part of this project was done.

Or so I thought.

As soon as I hit “save” on my last shawl post, I started examining the chart for the first border, highlighted in pink here.

I immediately realized that something was wrong with the number of stitches I was instructed to pick up and knit around the triangle because the chart and the text didn’t match up. I decided to trust the chart, counted the stitches on either side of the pattern repeat and went with it.

Confusion continued. The border is labeled as “garter stitch” in two places – right next to the chart, and within the instructional text. However, the chart looks unquestionably stockinette. I don’t see a single purl in there! The shawl picture didn’t provide any additional insight. So, I had to take a guess! The first option – the chart is correct and the pattern is stockinette. The second option – the writing is correct, the chart is entirely wrong, and the pattern is garter stitch.

I went with the first option. Found a small typo right away. Continued. Made little mistakes and fudgings to correct them (it would have been very helpful to tell the knitter if the first row is a wrong-side row or a right-side row. I’m still deciding.). Progressed.

Doubted myself every second, every stitch, every row… sent Sharon an e-mail.

The damned thing is garter stitch. To quote,

“It is garter stitch. With every row worked, I didn’t try to change the symbols on the purl rows – it makes the charts too hard to read. I chose, instead, to note it in the directions that every row is to be knit.”

All gone!

Picked up 234 stitches again, knit the border as garter stitch. Eleven rows later, more than 2,500 stitches later, the meat and juice of the pattern began, and something just wasn’t adding up.

I found it.

What is wrong with this portion of the chart?


The ticks for the 14 stitch pattern repeat border off only 12 stitches. I’ve been working the wrong shit all along.



85 thoughts on “Bordering on…

  1. Pumpkinmama

    Aaaaargh. Rip it and pick another pattern – really. This is just ridiculous, and the pattern writer doesn’t deserve to get all your hard work for nothing. I’d wager that you could knit a whole `nother shawl in the time it will take you to fix the rest of the problems you’ll find.

    Besides, I had you pegged for the 17th, so I already lost the contest 😉

  2. Jess

    Oh my goodness, the frustration and anger is palpable here. I would’ve burned the dang thing long ago – you’re a stronger woman than I.

    It is gorgeous, though!

  3. allison

    This pattern sounds like a nightmare! You’ve gotten farther than I ever would have. You have the patience of a saint (although it’s sounding like that’s about to go very quickly).

  4. Christina

    I cannot believe this designer and the rediculous amount of mistakes she makes. I will NEVER knit a pattern of hers- I’m not good at catching mistakes!

  5. CatBookMom

    Your patience is incredible!! You are LONG overdue for a well-written pattern! First the Curlicue, which became the Grumpicue because of all the fixes you devised, and now this! This pattern writer may be a good person, but she NEEDS a 2-month remedial course in pattern writing.

  6. Ellen

    Oh my! I feel so bad for you! But I would finish it. You are quite close and I think it would make you happier in the long run if you toughen it out. I hope the designer will give you a reward – not a pattern, please!

  7. Emily

    You seem a pretty creative and competent and independent knitter — I think you should take a good look at what you’ve got now and come up with your own border pattern… Forget the useless, error-ridden instructions and do your own thing! 🙂

  8. baast

    Frog it, burn the pattern, tell the people that sold you the pattern they owe you a refund.

    Go have several stiff drinks, and then try to find a pattern that was test knit before torturing yourself any further. 🙂

  9. Becky

    You have the patience of a saint. I would have shredded the whole shawl by now. If the designer has any soul, she will pay you somehow for fixing this pattern. I won’t suggest that she send you another pattern. hehe That would be punishment not a reward.

  10. rebecca

    What the F#*%??? How could they actually sell this thing? (Sorry for the profanity, but just reading about it makes me insane!) Good luck with it…

  11. stephanie

    Seriously, when you finish this shawl you should have a ceremony–wherein you burn this pattern and dance on its ashes under the full moon. I’ll say a little chant with you.

  12. Heather

    I would be so furious by this point, I don’t even know what to say. I can’t believe how many mistakes are in this pattern! I would have shredded it long ago and started something else. You are very tenacious.

  13. Tania

    You should get paid as a test knitter for this item. It seems that: 1) no one else has every successfully knit this shawl; 2) if someone else did complete it, they didn’t feel the need to share anything they learned about the mistakes and such; 3)this may be the shawl from hell.

  14. Angela

    ARGH! That’s the only thing I have to say about that. That and that your grandmother will be proud to wear something you worked so hard on.

  15. ~Jo~

    Oh my goodness, you are such a patient knitter. I just found 2 errors in two sock patterns within a few days and almost gave up on socks all together. 😉

    You deserve to get paid for revising so many errors in one pattern. I’d vote for you finishing the shawl your own way, you are smart enough to not need the hassle of the pattern anymore. 🙂

  16. jen.

    Ah yes. Changing the chart would make it too hard to read. I’m sure they wouldn’t want you to get confused or anything…

  17. jsc

    What Tania said! You should so get paid for proofing this pattern, what a bunch of idiots. How could they even think of selling a pattern before it was test knit?!

  18. Norah

    I’d have thrown the thing out the window by now, screaming and swearing, and probably been put into a straitjacket! (I admire your patience and perseverance. What a crappily-edited pattern. Sheesh!!!!! I agree with what Jo said, finish it your own way.

  19. knitzalot

    I understand that writing a pattern and making it error-free is difficult, but this is unacceptable. I would have given up a long time ago. The pattern writer must be cringing at all of this bad publicity – good. She’s got it coming.

  20. Vicki

    You poor thing, you are so determined. I told my husband about your saga, he doesn’t knit and he felt for you. You are very brave, good luck.

  21. Debi

    I second Emily. You’ve come this far, ditch the pattern and add your own border. At least you’ll know it will be mistake free!

  22. Carol

    Has Sharon offered you ANY apology, advice, ANYTHING for all the strife she’s caused? She should be ashamed and you should be well compensated for your time and intelligence. It will be gorgeous in the end if you can persevere but I wouldn’t have made it past the first mistake! Go girl!! Don’t lose heart!!!

  23. Elaine

    You have my utmost admiration – I’d have totally lost the plot by now and flung the whole soddin malarkey in the bin!!

  24. Jackie

    Your Grandma is one lucky woman – your can see the love you have for her every step of the way with this project! Or are you just determined? 😉

  25. naomi

    I am impressed by your perseverance. At this point, though, I’d definitely keep the center of the shawl, but I would certainly consider picking a different border from someplace that doesn’t have quite the same potential for unidentified errors. Good luck with it!

  26. anne

    Oh no!

    Poor Kathy… I knew where this as going the minute I started readong. It’s beyond frustrating, but you have learned a valuable “lace lesson”. Many times to simplify the charting, lace patterns worked in garter stitch are charted this way with only the instructions denoting it is really garter stitch.

    Knit On!

  27. Luise

    I’m with Debi–has Sharon accepted responsibility in any way? Fallen on her knitting needle (which she should retire permanently)? So sorry she couldn’t be bothered to fix the chart; does she think knitters are stupid? In her shoes, I’d be suicidal by now. I can’t imagine what compensation would be adequate ($100/stitch of wasted effort?). You’re beyond astounding.

  28. Colleen

    This pattern needs to be pulled from publication. At the very least, head to the LYS where you purchased it and tell of your woes. A smart store owner would be yanking that pattern off of the shelves immediately.

  29. Lisa D.

    I can’t believe a pattern with this many mistakes is still being sold. Errata should be published immediately or every pattern buyer should be refunded. How does someone get away with publishing an untested pattern anyway?

  30. Kat

    If she felt the chart would be hard to read, she should have eliminated the garter stitch rows from the chart and left it in the instructions. I find it hard to believe that no one picked up on the 14 stitch repeat error before the pattern was published. With all the fixing and editing you’ve done on this, the pattern writer should incorporate your work in a new version adn split the profits with you 50-50. “Original Design by Pattern Writer, Perfected by Grumperina. Knit it in confidence.”

  31. Susan

    You definitely deserve free yarn for the rest of your life. I’m a lawyer — want me to write a nasty letter? 🙂

  32. Kate

    I’m with Emily. Make your own border and ignore the rest of that ridiculous pattern! Do some garter, then maybe something you’ve been meaning to try anyway, then bind off and call it a day.

    The yarn is so pretty… do what you need to do, though. If you decide to frog the whole thing so you can use that nice yarn for something else, or just put the shawl away for a big, that’s your prerogative (sp?). You’re the one who has to knit it, we just live vicariously through you! 🙂

  33. Susanne

    Holy Mother of Crap!!!I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how in hell this woman got a pattern published!! Has no one else knit this piece? or can you imagine some poor knitter, made his/her requirement of scarves, hats etc and decides to venture into this pattern? I am sure there are injuries somewhere not being reported!!!!

  34. marie in florida

    by the time you get done it will be your pattern not hers.

    keep on giving this crappy pattern the Grumpernia bulldog treatment till you’ve fixed it. your work so far is beautiful to behold.

    i find a pattern chart difficult to read if the “dot” is knit on the right side purl on the wrong side…gets me confused; i want a dot (or blank square) for a knit stitch and a dash for a purl stitch (or a solid square), if that’s clear. when i chart my own little bits of pattern that’s what i use.

    go on brave and strong. you’re a champ!

  35. Carolyn

    I think you should have Kat send that woman a nasty letter along with the publisher – how dare they think they are so perfect that they don’t need to test knit the pattern! What arrogance. You can bet your bottom dollar I won’t be knitting anything designed by that woman.

  36. Karen Hansen

    So the reason this pattern is advertised as for the Advanced Knitter is because you must read the designer’s mind? Brava, bravissima, for your stubbornness and determination to succeed!

  37. Jennifer

    Wow! Considering your journeys making this shawl and the Curlicue, I’m beginning to wonder how many people knit some of these patterns. Why weren’t these mistakes caught? Are people running into the same problems, not trusting themselves and knitting on or throwing it in the UFO pile and forgetting about it?

  38. li

    i so LOATHE bad pattern writing. it seems to be more the norm than not, and is a poor reflection on the designer. flippant! grrr i’m angry for you!

  39. gleek

    i am so going to boycott this designer. it’s utterly negligent that she didn’t bother to have it test knit AND also knew that she should have updated the chart but didn’t bother to. that is the sort of laziness that i despise. you poor thing! i suggest you fix all the mistakes and call it your own pattern! 😉

  40. Sheryl

    Typical for this project, no?

    I like Emily’s suggestion – do your own thing, and Stephanie’s – pattern burning ceremony. I only wish I could come. I also understand you will fight this pattern to the end. I feel the determination through the screen. Go get ’em girl. It will (already is!) beautiful when complete whatever you decide.

  41. Kim

    Mouth hanging open. I am speechless. How…Why…speechless. You are a far better woman than I. Your knitting it beautiful. I hesitate to say throw it out now, because you’ve worked so hard to get to this point. Chart says stockinette and instructions say garter?? Wanted the chart to be easy to read? How about easy to knit!!! I’ll stop now, but suddenly I’m not speechless anymore.

  42. Manise

    You a hero in my book. I’m struggling with DFS as it’s a little over my head and without pattern errors mind you, but you have gone way over and beyond my limits in the patience department. I agree in part with Pumkinmama, but since you’ve come this far and your dear Grandma is waiting for this lovely shawl, that you should make up your own border- because the border is probably fraught with even more errors. However, if you do re-work the border ridding it of all errata, then Sharon should allow you to keep the pattern as your own with your name attached to it, thank you very much. Just my 2 cents worth.

  43. Jen

    OH CRUD! You poor, poor thing. I’m so sorry, I agree with everyone who says you’re a hero, and whatever you decide to do – burn the shawl, rip it, keep going, wad it up and stomp on it – I support you utterly.

  44. Melissa

    I cannot believe the angst you have gone through with this shawl. It is absolutely stunning, though! At this point you could have designed your own pattern and be selling it — error free! The pattern writer owes you plenty for all the work you’ve had to do.

  45. minnie

    in all honesty, if this is a pattern you paid for, i’d ask for my money back. this pattern sounds so poorly written, and especially when the lady who wrote it admitted that it wasn’t test knit before publication, makes this doubly atrocious. good god, go get a real pattern, this sounds like muddled up junk.

  46. Carolyn

    Just think of the valuable knitting lesson you are learning…there is one ins’t there? Grandma will love it…she will, maybe she won’t really understand the whole process that you had to go through to knit it…but she will love it.

  47. elizabeth

    When you finally finish this shawl, I will write a letter to the president telling him to declare a natinoal holiday. Schools will be closed, gifts will be exchanged, assorted gods will be prayed to. Get psyched.

  48. Michelle

    I’m a lurker on your blog, but this last entry has me spitting my diet soda rightout of my mouth! As far as I’m concerned, this designer owes you for test knitting and re-working the pattern for her! I can’t believe your determination; I would have frogged it or burned it by now. You’re obviously great at designing; why not dump the instructions and design oyur own border?

  49. Risa

    Ugh! I think the pattern designer should pay you for test-knitting the pattern that she obviously failed to do herself. And obviously give you a refund for whatever you paid for it.

    I wouldn’t stop with the nasty emails to the designer either. And maybe recommend to her that she stop writing patterns until she figures out how to count?

    But other than that, it’s beautiful.

  50. freecia

    It looks wonderful so far, even pre-block. Feeling the angst with you, too, though. You can glow and feel superior at being able to figure out all this, though, ’cause I’d have ripped it long ago and trashed it on knitter’s review.

    A simple apology from the pattern designer would be nice. Even without the errata. Really, in recompense for all this agony, a basket of yarn with a Sorry note should be sent to your house.

  51. Pat

    UNbelievable !!!

    I’m also a lurker, and I can only begin to feel your frustration. Have you even gotten some semblance of an apology about how totally inadequate this pattern is?

  52. Winter

    All I can say is that I sure hope you didn’t pay any money for this pattern. For the amount of mistakes you’re having to put up with, they ought to be paying YOU to kinit it for them! Honestly, to publish a pattern that hasn’t been test knit, that comes with so many errors, and has conflicting instructions because the designer didn’t want to change some symbols is just . . . It makes me fume, I tell you! Fume!

  53. Michelle

    The errors in this pattern are way beyond ridiculous. Seriously. I could have written it better and I am about a detail oriented as a sledge hammer.

  54. Monica

    Oh boy, that really stinks. I think it’s safe to assume you will find errors throughout the whole danged thing. Good time to step back and think about how you want to approach finishing the rest. What you have is beautiful, maybe you can improvise your own edging? Or figure it out from the photos… Or work out the pattern before you actually knit it… What a pain.

  55. janna

    You must be the world’s most patient knitter, to even attempt to figure out this mistake-ridden pattern! And, personally, I’m glad I didn’t enter the ‘when will this be finished’ contest! 😉

  56. Kylie

    Holy Mother of Purl,

    save us from the negligent and befuddled designers out there

    and deliver us from the temptation of knitting their patterns.

    Lead us not into their border stitches fraught with the barbs of mis-printed charts

    and keep us safe in the folds of the “just difficult enough to keep us interested” shawl.

    Grant us in thy beneficence the alpaca, the merino and the cashmere, amen.

  57. Kris

    After all that you’ve been through you ought to send them a bill for having to re-write their entire pattern. I understand a pattern having a few mistakes but this pattern appears, instead, to have only had a few things right.

    You surely do persevere…. I would’ve buried that thing long ago.

  58. ChiaLea

    I would make damn sure that the people selling this pattern don’t use your pictures except in a link to the blog entries that clearly state “THIS PATTERN IS FULL OF ERRORS. DO NOT BUY IT.” How are we going to show designers that this sort of crap is not acceptable if we buy it? I’ve been using google to find blogs where people have used a pattern I’m looking at to see whether the pattern is at all correct. I don’t have the time to deal with that crap, and no one should have to.

  59. Anna

    What you’ve got so far is beautiful. But I’m beginning to wonder if the pattern is way more trouble than it’s worth. You’re more determined that I am. I’d have frogged that thing a long time ago! Glad you’re sticking with it, though, to give all of us something to aspire to. 😉

  60. Wannietta

    OMG – I think that anger is a mild reaction giving the plethora of errors in this pattern!!

    What is the name of this pattern & designer/company? Just so that I don’t accidentally purchase it myself – I don’t have nearly your patience!

  61. Samantha

    Holy cow! Whoever wrote this pattern really didn’t know what they were doing … or something. The completed part, so far, is beautiful, and once you are finished and see the joy on yout grandmother’s face when she receives it, I’m sure it will all have been worth it. Are you going to let the company know about the extent of the errors in the pattern? What a pain in the arse.

  62. mia

    Every time you write about this scarf, I feel a little bit more sick to my stomach! I can’t imagine a chart and pattern SO poorly written, nor a designer who tells you that she didn’t change the knits to purls because it would be too confusing…what an ass! At this point, I think you deserve a refund, and some free yarn, at the very least. I would think that the designer would be quaking in her knitted socks to think that blogland is NEVER going to buy one of her shoddy patterns again!!!

  63. Tam

    Good Grief! You must be a crappy chart magnet. If there is one out there, it seems you get it. I echo the sentiments of the other commenters: I admire your tenacity. I would have pitched that piece o’ crap chart out the window LONG LONG ago.

  64. Kenny

    You poor thing. You are suffering so much with this project.

    I have a question. During the times when you’re not knitting, like when you’re working or whatever, do you like continuously obsess about the mistakes in the pattern, and keep wondering and trying to figure it out?

    I ask cuz I’m like that with my knitting. Thinking about it 24/7.

  65. Stephanie

    Shit! Are you freaking kidding me? She just decided not to make the chart accurate? WTF? And hello? There is a substanital difference between 12 and 14! I’d have thrown the darned thing out the window of the bus by now. Kudos for sticking with it.

  66. Jennifer

    You are a much better woman than I. I would have given up eons ago. Seriously. I know this has already been said, but you should be sending a bill to the pattern distributor. Just reading about the mistakes in this pattern gives me a slight twitch next to my left eye so I can only imagine what it’s doing to you.

  67. Vicki

    I can’t believe you’re still knitting on it and still communicating civily with designer – I would have given up ages ago!

  68. Shannon B

    I am SO glad you posted this… after your previous link to the designer’s site I went there and admired their shawl gallery, decided to order one, and was just delaying to decide which one to get. Now, I think I will do more shopping around until I find a reputable designer whose work is more reliable.

    If she’s not absolutely crapping herself right now, she should be.

  69. Julie H.

    Bless you for pushing through this for your grandma – she’s going to love it when it’s done.

    Heaps of ashes upon the head of the designer who apparently couldn’t design her way out of a paper bag, though. If this were Project Runway, she would definitely be OUT.

  70. Julia

    Oh Grumpy! I’m nominating you for the Knitters Hall of Fame for the stamina with which you continue to work this pattern, even though you’re practically writing it yourself. In fact, that would have probly been easier.

  71. Jacquie

    Woman I salute you. I would have pitched it and said some very not nice things to the designer. I haven’t YET experienced a pattern that mucked up.

    Still to have come so far. Rests. Frequent rests. And a huge gift certificate from the designer when you’re done proofing her work.

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