ETA: photo changed to a delightful Mackie photo - I don't want to complain about a particular pattern or designer, as I feel this is unfair and counter to my intent, which is to have a discussion! Thanks again for all your input.
There's a constant conversation in the knitting community about the "correct" ways to do things. And I definitely think that there are many correct ways to get to the same results - it doesn't really matter how you knit, as long as you like how you knit! I sometimes get people telling me that I should switch to continental-style knitting because it's faster, but to be honest, I like my pokey English style. And I think that's a totally legit reason to do what you do: "because I want to," full stop. Knitting is for fun, and it should be fun for everybody who does it! (Unless they don't want it to be fun, in which case, that's deeply weird but probably scratches some itch that I don't have.)
I do, however, get a little more opinionated when it comes to knitting patterns, and that is because they are one person's way of thinking that needs to be accessible by many knitters of varying skill levels and learning styles. I get a little frustrated when I encounter patterns where the online errata has vanished or the charts are done in a non-standard charting system. I do understand, though, that things can be complicated: copyright can change hands and chart software is expensive, for example. I will still be cranky about it, but at the end of the day, shit happens and sometimes I have to just take a breath and deal with it.
The thing the bugs me the most, though, that's totally preventable: complex stitch patterns that are written only, without charts.
I'm the kind of learner who doesn't do abstract concepts. You could verbally tell me how to change a tire a thousand times, and I wouldn't get it until you physically put me in front of a car and explained it while pointing at things. And it's especially true in knitting. I get lost in written stitch patterns: I skip things, and I read the wrong line, and I feel fuzzy and lost without a picture of what it should look like. The second you put a chart in front of me, though? Blammo! I'm the best knitter in Ze World! Of COURSE it's a shell pattern with yarnovers on every row and nupps in the center of the leaves on the border motif! It's right there in the chart!
So it bugs me a lot when I pay for a pattern - a complicated pattern with varying stitch counts on every row - and then when I take a closer look, there isn't a chart to be found. I don't really want to spend an hour and a half muddling through charting that stitch pattern, when the designer already knows what it looks like and how it changes. It makes me a sad, frustrated panda, and I'm not sure know how to deal with it in a way that's respectful of the work of the designer while still acknowledging my needs and frustration.
And I think the opposite must be true for folks who are abstract, conceptual thinkers. I have a few knitting friends who only work from written instructions, and have a hell of a time finding lace shawl patterns that have written instructions. Bottom line is that it seems to be a common problem among knitters of both flavors.
So this prompts some questions for me: what is (and isn't) the responsibility of the knitwear designer, and what is the best way to make patterns accessible for the largest number of knitters? Does it make sense to have multiple versions of a pattern available, so that knitters who love charts can work from a charts-only pattern, and knitters who love written instructions can use those? Is it even fair to ask the designer to essentially write two different versions of the same pattern, which can take twice as much time and energy?
I'm also curious what the ratio of chart-knitters to instruction-knitters is. Is it 1:1, or 10:1, or 1:10?
What do you guys think?