Standards. This 9-letter word can be so easy to understand, yet so difficult to achieve.
To be honest, it's one of the things preventing me from sharing free patterns (well, that and laziness). Most knitting and crochet designers should know that patterns (particularly those for sale) have to follow certain standards when publishing their creative works.
Fortunately, the Craft Yarn Council has devoted many resources to help out designers in need. Check out www.YarnStandards.com for more information on standard yarn weights, knit/crochet abbreviations and symbols, skill levels, and body measurements. There are a couple of downloadable resources for designers available: Downloadable Guidelines in PDF and Downloadable Skill and Yarn Weight Symbols.
I do understand that following these standards would benefit all crafters in general. It might be a pain for designers to have to follow ALL of these instructions, but I guess it doesn't make sense to release a pattern that nobody could understand or follow. Still, I have a few concerns:
- Not all crochet stitches are included in their list of abbreviations and symbols
- Skill levels are difficult to standardize--what's "easy" for one person can be very challenging for another. Good thing the CYC defines the skill levels on their website, but not everyone knows how the skill levels are defined.
- In the Standard Yarn Weight System, yarns are classified based on gauge. We all know that crocheters and knitters all have different tension in their work. A more accurate classification would be by wraps per inch (wpi).
It might sound like I'm nitpicking on the website, but these are just my thoughts. I think all crafters should be aware of this. We should all contribute to make these standards work for everyone--so this should always be marked as a work in progress.