the spleen – it vents


This post won’t make much sense to a non-knitting, non-Ravelry user.   Apologies in advance.


So, I write knitting patterns.   I’ve started charging for some of them, but before I got greedy wise, I gave them away for free.

As you can see by the links list on the left, my free patterns out number my not-so-free patterns by more than double.

It didn’t occur to me to charge for patterns, regardless of how many hours I’d spent knitting the samples and writing down the instructions.

Pretty stupid nice of me, hmm?

Now, let me ask you, when someone does something nice for you – even if it isn’t specifically for you but for the knitting community at large – how do you respond?


I’m a bit of a voyeur when it comes to my patterns.  That is, I love going on to my Ravelry site and seeing what people are doing with them.  Are they knitting them as-is, or are they being creative and adapting them to their own needs?

One of my favourites is the Tongues of Fire Wrap.  I love the stitch pattern.  I love the size.  I love the yarn.  Yum.  So, when I saw that some intrepid knitter had started it with some very pretty Yarn Pirate yarn, I was pleased.

I noticed, however, that while she’s stated she only had one skein of fingering weight yarn (~400 meters) but was knitting it the same number of pattern repeats as the original that used 2 skeins of fingering weight yarn (~800 meters) I was concerned.

After some consideration, I decided to message said knitter to inquire.  After all, I’d want someone to point out possible problems to me so as to not waste my precious time.

Said knitter was less than thrilled with me, saying she’d picked the pattern specifically because it said that the yarn requirements were stated at 400-800 meters.

True, I responded, but that was to include knitters who wanted to scale down the wrap into scarf-form.  I also pointed out that the printable pattern clearly stated that 2 skeins of HandMaiden’s Sea Silk were needed.

Her last message griped about how that didn’t help as she had no idea how many meters a skein of Sea Silk used and how she was immediately frogging the project because of my incompetence (implied).

Her last dig was on her Project Page where she commented “gotta love the clarity (or lack there of) of this pattern”.




Now, she may have had a point.  If I were to write this pattern today (this pattern was originally posted in 2009), I would not only name the  yarn and the number of skeins needed but also the yardage of said skeins.

However, since we seem to be all about diving straight into the defensive position and refusing to take any responsibility for our own (in)actions, let’s talk about why she’s 100% totally and completely in the wrong.


1.) The pattern is free.  You want me to take responsibility for a possible oversight?  Either pay for one or treat me with some common courteous.

2.) You’re on Ravelry.  You have a huge database of information at your fingertips – INCLUDING the ability to easily ascertain the yardage of two skeins of Sea Silk.

3.)  You’re on Ravelry.  You have a huge database of information at your fingertips – INCLUDING the ability to see more than 80 other ToF projects, several of which show GORGEOUS single skein versions and talk about how they made the pattern work for them.

4.)  You seriously thought you could get a 14″x85″ fairly densely knit shawl out of one skein of sock weight yarn?   Really?

5.) I came to you.  I could have just let you continue to knit in ignorance.  Thanks for making me think twice about advising the next person.

6.)  Knitters are supposed to be NICE.  Set down your needles and take up a hobby that doesn’t require a pleasant personality.  Like boxing.


About Angela

My name is Angela. I am a 28 year old psych and criminology graduate, but I'd rather not diagnose you. I am a cuddle-slut. I can recite the entire script of The Princess Bride, (including accents) and believe that the meaning of life is contained within. Polyanna, commercials, and Oprah 'reunion shows' make me cry. I can whistle and hum at the same time, but I cannot touch my toes. I am an expert in both listening and talking. I look good in orange. I am a writer. I kick ass in Gin, Hearts, and Cribbage but I don't understand Canasta or Bridge. I can be heard singing Broadway numbers from my shower, and have dressed up as a viking princess, (complete with aluminum foil breast plate) The Phantom of the Opera, and a Ghostbuster for Hallowe'en. I have a bird named Bean. I have a brother named Adam. They are not related. I like vanilla body lotion, peanut butter, saunas, Jim Carrey, broccoli, pets,, Muppets, Kevin Smith, Corelle dishes, dry erase white-boards, Barenaked Ladies, Philosophy, the letter J, Harry Potter, picture frames, swimming, quilting, Michael Moore, genealogy, Raggedy Anne, tacky 50's tchotchke, 'Idiot's Complete Guide To' books, tweezers, feather pillows, polar dips, aquariums, Martin Luther King Jr., and Dr. Pepper. I don't like meat, gossips, cooked carrots, American Idol, mosquitoes, sweating, politics, public washrooms, tardiness, tuition, hunting, pat answers, pick up lines, brown bananas, cliches, pine scented air freshener, Kevin Costner, bacon, candied apples, pro-wrestling, humidity, and hypocrisy. Books I've read recently The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Dark Tower, When Nietzsche Wept, What's So Amazing About Grace?, Catcher in the Rye, Not Wanted On the Voyage, The Red Tent, The Little Prince, The Way the Crow Flies, Slaughterhouse-Five, The Poisonwood Bible, The Fall, The Knot of Vipers, Calculating God, The Chrysalids, Sick Puppy, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Franny and Zooey, The Brothers Karamazov, and jPod. I am slightly neurotic. No I'm not. Yes I am.

7 responses »

  1. I have this pattern in my favs. I understood it perfectly. I bought the 2 skeins needed for the project. I think the person was just pissy or something. She should have read through the entire pattern at least twice before beginning to knit. Ugh. This pattern is next on my list after I finish this damned hat that is taking forever. Hey, thanks for the free patterns. Most of us appreciate all the hard work you have put into them.

    • Thanks, Cher:

      When I write patterns, I’m definitely not looking for slaps on the back. I’m not looking for slaps in the face, though, either.

      I can’t wait to see pictures of your ToF wrap. What yarn did you choose?


  2. I choose Cascade Heritage Paints in a green color. I think it will look really pretty. I hope to start and finish it for chilly summer evenings.

  3. I think your comments are quite articulate and I agree with you.

    While I have a basic pattern already for the felted bag, I’m
    borrowing your striping idea as my daughter in law wants a huge (feels
    like it as I’m knitting) felted and striped grey and charcoal bag with end pockets (for
    a baby bottle) and yours styling looks quite
    artistic. Thank you. I will be putting an I cord strap of about 70″
    in length before felting. I’m grateful for your generosity with the

  4. Oh…wow. I originally linked on to this from Tonuges of Fire on Ravelry. I lourve the flow of it, and am going to do one for my boss for her birthday. Now, general rule of thumb that I use when I am working with a new pattern, especially one that is supposed to be soft and drapey and fluffy and goodness, and especially if it isn’t one that I have created all by my lonesome because I am not as super awesome as the person who actually wrote it, I ALWAYS get more yarn than I think I will need. Worse case scenario, I end up with an extra ball of yarn to do whatever my heart desires with.

    Anywho, for all those who are using the free patterns, THANK YOU OODLES!

  5. I’m so sorry that someone had to abuse the gift that you worked so hard on. We of the ravelry I think realize that these patterns are for our use and a what a great gift they are. And what a statement this person made by trash talking to the pattern creator. I’m a new knitter and I’ve enjoyed having the free patterns to work on getting better at being able to read pattern. Then being able to knit following either grafts or written directions. For those of us that are willing to pay for you’re pattern, will you offer it again on Ravelry, or may we order it from you?
    As I said I’m sorry that someone so ignorant, can make it difficult for many of us.
    Please know you and your skill of writing patterns is appreciated by most of us out here.
    Thanks ago ,
    Stephanie Timm

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