The Olympics have ended, but I must confess that I didn’t finish my “Olympic project.” The Aran Wrap Cardigan is still tooling along, but it’s a lot of knitting. I have finished the main rectangular piece, so I have the peplum and sleeves left. Here is the obligatory photo; you can see that I have already picked up for the first sleeve and have started the short rows for the sleeve cap.
I know. It’s a bit hard to see because I was trying to squeeze a full view into one photograph. Here is a close up of part of the pattern. I think this shows the color fairly accurately, at least on my monitor. Hmmm. I think I would say that the color falls somewhere in between this photo and the one above.
This sweater, as mentioned earlier in our blog, is in the current issue of Vogue Knitting. Sort of. I say sort of because although charts are needed in order to knit this design, the charts are not in the magazine. Instead, you must either go to Vogue’s website and download them or send a self-addressed stamped envelope requesting the charts.
I understand why Vogue is doing this. At least I think I do. They want to drive visitors to their website. They also want to reduce publishing costs by reducing the number of editorial pages in the magazine. Vogue isn’t alone in this thinking. Other magazines, such as Interweave, have also offered pattern instructions online. As a consumer/magazine purchaser, this bothers me.
1. What happens if I don’t download or request a chart now?
There are ten patterns in the current Vogue that require a trip to the web or the post office. I don’t know about you, but I keep my knitting magazines and often turn to back issues for ideas, inspiration, and patterns. So if one of these doesn’t strike my fancy until three years from now, will the chart still be there? Ask someone who wants to make Sunrise Circle from Interweave. It’s no longer there. If you purchased the Sunrise Circle issue of Interweave in part because you liked that pattern, but didn’t get around to downloading the instructions until now, you in effect paid for something you didn’t receive. I don’t feel that I can count on those downloads being available in perpetuity or until my stash runs out (which will be never). Edited to add: The Sunrise Circle Pattern is now available for purchase directly from Kate Gilbert on her website ($6).
2. What if I’m on vacation and don’t have my computer?
When I purchase a knitting magazine, I expect to have everything I need to know in order to knit one of the designs right inside, waiting for me. It’s compact and portable.
3. What if I’m someone who doesn’t go online?
Anyone who knows me knows that my laptop and I are surgically attached. But not every knitter is computer literate. So there’s that self-addressed stamped envelope option. I wonder how long that takes? I’m sorry, but I suspect it’s several weeks. By that time, my inspiration might be long gone. I’m fickle. And, again, what happens when I send that envelope five years from now?
What’s the upside?
Well, if the instructions or charts are downloadable, they must be more detailed, right? That was true for Sunrise Circle (and I think was one valid reason the directions were not printed in Interweave). But the charts for the Aran Wrap Cardigan are pretty standard and that is all you get online — there’s not even a schematic (online or in print). Moreover, some of the directions for this project are a bit skimpy, which I suspect (based on comments Angela Hahn has made at her own blog) is due to Vogue’s editing. More detailed instructions for the short rows, for example, might have helped justify slipping some of the content on to the web.
In other words, I’m very wary about this new trend, and I recommend downloading the instructions, charts, etc. for any pattern you see in a magazine that you might even be vaguely interested in.
PS from Susan — I am only just past the second armhole on my Aran Wrap!