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February 9th, 2012 at 09:53 am

Standardization Dilemma

In a pretty much unrelated conversation in a designer’s group, a comment was made that “got me thinking” about one of my favorite topic – Standardization.

This is not really to say that how a technique is taught should be standard, but what the end result “looks like” should have a common name.

As most know, I Love Standardization and several of us are currently involved in trying to get some into Crochet beyond the 5-8 basic stitches. There is another group that tries very hard to create at least standard terms in “English” for Japanese Braidmaking – Kumihimo.

Not making a judgement here, but I have never understood calling the part of a “threaded needle” project that was the “Stitch Key” a graph or a chart. Although I can, for purposes of illustrating stitch placement see where either term could be reasonably interchangeable.

However the dilemma is that terms “cross craft”. We could spend hours and pages on why, but let’s don’t and just stipulate that it is so.

Using graph as an example, to say that it is limited to Cross stitch just does not work. Graph is commonly used in Crochet, Knit, Beadwork, weaving – Not to mention the one place where it does have a fairly standard meaning – Math and in every case including Math – if there are more than one person at the table, we could site at least 1-4 other terms commonly used to describe again placement be it of stitches or color.

Parallel development is so common in craft technique that there is always going to be someone who thinks they “invented” a stitch or whatever and even when others can, often as not, show that the “end result” of the stitch already exists, with a different name but with the same steps in its execution – they will still choose to claim authorship and name it as they please.

Then you have the main stream (or as main stream as niche publisher can be) craft book houses who have, because of the vacuum in established standards, make their own so at least the bulk of their publications would be the same and thus more usable for the consumer.

Is there an answer to this? Probably not, that won’t stop some of us from trying to make it easier for those who love the techniques from trying to make it easier for all to share.

Maybe we need a “Design Author Pledge” where egos are set aside and common factors are defined, common names used, and then it will be up to the individual to decide how to teach the process/technique.

Okay obviously I needed something to rant about – but really, what do you think?

Enjoy the Making


P.S. A thank you to Linda Reinmiller for her comment that helped me “finally finish” this commentary

  • 1

    Your goal of standardization, at least a bit of it, is laudable. The likelihood of ever achieving it is dubious at best. There are too many people trying to milk the stitchery cow and naming each bit to suit themselves. In just crochet, there’s the divergent naming of the basic stitches in the UK and in the US. Pre-Internet, there wasn’t much chance for most of the US population to run into UK-written patterns. Since the Internet, it’s all to easy to fall in love with a pattern, charge right in and find that something’s not quite right … You’d think that just standardizing the terms in a single language would be possible, but it seems not to be.

    Good luck!

    Jessica-Jean on February 10th, 2012
  • 2

    Every country and culture has their differences, even with the same thing ie. knitting or crocheting or bobbin lace, etc., etc., etc.

    Standardization can be done – up to a point. The rest is getting to know the other culture’s views, and them ours.

    “Design Author Pledge” — who makes the decision as to what will be right? The USA, Japan, China, England? (just to name a few countries that have people who stitch)

    Marny CA on February 10th, 2012
  • 3

    ‘Standardization’ can all too easily mean the name I am accustomed to. To expect everyone to use MY terminology is bullying. People in different countries use different terms. It’s perfectly easy to work these out. Get over it.

    An example – the term ‘stitch key’ is one I’ve never seen before, and seems quite odd to me, whereas “chart’ or ‘graph’ makes perfect sense. Are you suggesting that I’m wrong, and should therefore change to the term that you like?

    John on March 24th, 2012
  • 4

    Thank you for sharing your view.

    To clarify, I am suggesting working toward a consensus.

    For example it could be agreeing to include a line above the Stitch Key “Pattern Uses UK Terminology”

    When a single line can make a large difference, why not “expect” it to be used so that those new to the craft or less experienced can more easily complete their project instead of spending time “working it out”

    BTW Stitch Key is NOT a graph or a Chart.
    It is a list of the stitches used in that pattern, again a courtesy of the Author/Publisher to make it easier to use the pattern. Stitch Keys may or may not include grahpic symbols, written instruction or even step outs (step by step instruction) for forming special stitches used in the project.

    The object is to make it easier for all to

    Enjoy The Making


    wheat on March 24th, 2012
  • 5

    Yes I don’t disagree with you. Perhaps I’m less enamoured of the notion of consensus than you are. If, for example, I look at a crochet pattern, I also check to see if the instructions are US- or UK-based. I then know exactly what is meant by single, double, or whatever. The terms are not wrong; they’re just used according to their own tradition, and I’ll happily deal with them all.

    My problem with the idea of consensus is that in reality it’s usually anything but. It’s someone deciding that ‘this’ is the way it should be, then pushing that decision onto other people. If it happens that I prefer the British ‘double’ over the US ‘single’, then that’s my privilege, and I’ll easily translate the US instructions into a form that my brain finds more logical. Other people will work differently, and that’s good.

    John on March 24th, 2012


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