Sunday, December 21, 2008

Have you ever bought a book on-line, then wished you hadn't? I usually read the reviews on amazon before I buy a book, but the front cover of this one  sucked me right in: Pretty in Punk.
Punk rock might have totally passed me by  (wrong generation!) but I was a Goth by inclination long before it became a non-fashion trend, and a free-former before that, so I was hoping for some magical and inspirational patterns that weren't tired old reproductions of tatt you can find in your local thrift shop. And not only that; I was hoping for a US written or published book that acknowledged the existance of knitters around the rest of the world and gave metric needle sizes as well as local ones; that uses non-brand-specific yarn so we don't have to do extensive research and swatching to find a local substitute, and hey! a few measurements wouldn't have gone amiss to make sure that mini skirt at least went around the person it was knitted for as a belt, even if it didn't cover what its meant to cover! Lack of consideration of other readers these days comes across as arrogance on the part of the authors.
I can wear my stupidity in buying it, we all make mistakes like that at some point, but if I sent back the books I have bought that ignore the needs of the vast majority of knitters, who do not use American terminology or American sizing, I would not have much of a library! I would also be better off, and probably banned from amazon!
This is not an anti-american rant, but an anti-editing rant. Its up to the editors and publishers to make pattern books more user friendly. Ok, its a bit  hard if the author is sponsored by Lion Brand or Berrocco, but would it hurt to have metric sizes in brackets beside the US needle size, or give how long a ball or skein is, or how many WPI for the yarn, as well as describing it as "chunky"? Particularly since books are no longer country-specific?
Congratulations to the authors, editors and publishers who do this already. Its those books that get re-read, used and recommended to friends. And as many more authors realise the value of catering for the whole of the English-speaking world, rather than the bit that lives in the USA, I hope my library will continue to increase in size with lots of inspirational books containing patterns I'd love to knit. Pretty in Punk will not be among them.

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