I’ve been meaning to write for a while about a post from Pam MacKenzie about mistakes in knitting books and the state of the industry as more people self-publish and sell individual patterns rather than traditional print books.
I haven’t written because I’m not sure I know what I want to say. I see the issue from all sides, as a designer, and a knitter, and a person who’s been a book editor (though not in the craft industry).
The discussion started when MacKenzie wrote about mistakes in Nicky Epstein’s books, and Nicky got upset and shared the rigorous lengths they go to in an attempt to make her books as error free as possible.
But mistakes happen and things don’t get seen, even when multiple eyes are on a pattern. I know there were a few things in my last book that got caught at the last second, but there may be things that slipped through that I still don’t know about.
We are all human and we’re all doing our best. We don’t put mistakes in our patterns because we’re stupid or mean, and we’re embarrassed and upset when there are problems in our patterns. So I think step one is that everyone needs to treat everyone else like a person and treat them the way you would want to be treated in that situation.
MacKenzie also talks about self-published books and patterns, and how that puts pressure on publishers to do more with less. There may be a time when physical knitting books are rarer, more patterns are published digitally and singly or in smaller collections. But then there’s the issue of whether a self-published designer gets technical editing help at all and how that affects the industry.
I don’t know how it’s all going to shake out. But it’s an interesting time to be a knitter, a designer and a producer of books, that’s for sure.
What do you think? Have you seen more mistakes in patterns lately than you used to? How do you feel when a pattern has a mistake? What do you think is going to happen to craft book publishing in the future? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
By Sarah White