The pattern for this stole is relatively easy, and its simplicity is something that I appreciate. The instructions for this project equate about two paragraphs and are written in clear enough language that beginner knitters would be able to decipher it (perhaps, though, with some trial and error). I believe that knitters who purchased this kit were probably familiar with knitting to a certain degree, but not necessarily skilled beyond the basics. There aren’t cables or bind-offs that are difficult to complete, just alternating rows of knits and purls. However, I do think that it would be more clear for knitters if the directions for rows 1-11 were listed in numerical order rather than being grouped by knit or purl. I also think that the instruction to use “Mohairspun double” is not as obvious as saying “knit with two skeins.” Getting those registered trademarks incorporated into the pattern is important, yes?
I’m using size 10 vintage needles that I inherited from a family member. They’re 10″ needles and, in retrospect, I think a 14″ pair would have been a better choice. The use of two skeins at once crowds the smaller set more than I like. I considered switching to a different pair, but I think I will continue to use the shorter pair to experiment with how it feels to use tools that don’t match the project. I need to confirm these musings as I complete my research, but I suspect there is no guarantee that knitters would have always had access to the correct needle length or size for their projects. Nonetheless, I have a feeling that this kit was positioned in the store adjacent to products that contributed to its completion: needles (Bernat Aero needles), measuring tapes, and more.
Similarly, I find it interesting that the manufacturer, Bernat, included two disclaimers in the packaging. The first states that enough yarn is in the package, “if the directions are followed.” A second disclaimer reads that Bernat “cannot be responsible for variance of individual knitters, human errors, or typographical mistakes.” For me, it is reminiscent of companies that informed consumers that products didn’t last long not because of poor quality materials, but because the consumer neglected to care for their purchases. (See Susan Smulyan’s Popular Ideologies: Mass Culture at Mid-Century for an in-depth analysis of how DuPont used that spin on advertising for women’s nylon stockings in the 1940s).
I think this project will be completed fairly quickly and I’m eager to see the results. Will I follow directions and end with enough yarn? Do my knitting skills vary from what is expected of this project? Will I find fault in Bernat’s instructions? Stay tuned….KR