Knitting Nuances

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Interesting Results of our Pattern Survey

Wow! What a great response we got from you in our pattern survey. I loved reading all your comments, which were thoughtful and specific. We’ve included a few excerpts in the results below. A lot of you also said hi and thanks for the Nuances. It kind of made my day.

The impact of your comments was broader than I originally planned. They had me rethinking not just the pattern format, but how the blog, website and patterns all work together. As a result, you’ll see a whole new format for all three and much better integration. There’s a list of how we’re changing because of your input at the end of the post.

1. Do you print out the patterns you download online?

  • Why we asked? Are the number of pages to print and ink usage an issue for you?
  • Results: 87% of you print them out
  • What you said:
    • I prefer to have a pattern with pictures to look at online, but like to be able to print it out easily without them. Saves on ink and I can always look at the picture online if I need to.
    • I pay for my printing and appreciate the opportunity to not print the pattern tips page
    • I love that you have each pattern/skill on a separate page. I often print only the pages of a pattern that I need and having them on single sheets is the best.

2. Do you load PDF files onto your tablet or phone?

  • Why we asked? How many of you are going portable electronically
  • Results: 40% download, 35% sometimes and 25% don’t
  • What you said:
    • I print the chart and immediate pattern instructions and leave the rest on my phone and tablet. I want everything available in one place (tablet) but really appreciate the all-on-one-page instructions (printed).

3. Would having chart files in JPG format be helpful?

  • Why we asked? A lot of people are better at downloading photos than files.
  • Results: 65% said yes, 35% said no thanks.
  • What you said:
    • charts in jpg format would be a larger size of file so I like pdf better

Pattern_Survey_Changes4. Do you like to play around with patterns or follow them exactly?

  • Why we asked? We want to get to know you better and to determine how much info you need. If you are modifying the pattern, it is more important you know how it works.
  • Results: 35% make no changes, 55% make a few, 10% play around a lot

5. How comfortable are you trying new knitting techniques?

  • Why we asked?  How do we help you become comfortable trying a new idea.
  • Results: 55% will try them with good instructions and 45% say “bring it on”. Not one of you said you’d rather not, but I guess that’s why you’re here!

6. If provided instructions to try a technique in a swatch would you knit it before you start the project?

  • Why we asked?  Space constraints. Some knitters want short patterns. Some want lots of detail. Swatches are a good way to try a new technique, but not if you don’t use them.
  • Results: 30% of you well behaved knitters will always swatch, 55% if it looked complicated and 15% will jump right in.
  • What you said:
    • I’ll swatch to learn a new technique and/or see if the yarn I chose works well.

7. Do you prefer charts or written instructions for stitch patterns?

  • Why we asked?  I’m a chart reader, but when I taught a class recently I was surprised at how many are not. We will always use both in our patterns but I had been using charts only in some blog posts. No more!
  • Results: 35% prefer charts, but a big 65% prefer written instructions!
  • What you said:
    • I like both charts and written instructions. Sometimes one clarifies the other.
    • I like both charts AND instructions, in case one or the other has some glitches.
    • Don’t make the print or charts too small, and don’t overlap a chart to the next page.

8. What level of knitter are you? 

  • Why we asked?  Our Nuances and patterns to date are targeted at intermediate knitters and above, but we’re starting simple and will get more complicated as we go along. I may also add more ‘how this works” for experienced knitters who want to modify patterns.
  • Results: Just 2% are newbies, 8% are advanced beginners, 60% of you are intermediate and 30% experienced
  • What you said: 
    • The more experience I gain, the more detail I want … Now I know more, and I appreciate the “nuances”
    • I like to discover new techniques and then apply them to old patterns when possible. Knitting Nuances keeps my interest to continue navigating the site. There is always something new for me to read about and learn. Thanks

9. Which of the 3 pattern designs do you like best?

  • Why we asked?  We have our test knitters working on a few more complicated designs. We had varying and sometimes conflicting feedback from them which is what prompted this entire survey. We want to get it right before the patterns get longer.
  • Pattern_Style_ResultsResults: 
    1. A detailed pattern with integrated tips on each page = 55%
    2. Move all the help to the end of the pattern just in case = 37%
    3. Keep it short and simple, I’ll go online if I need help = 8%
  • What you said:
    • I hate directions that use language such as reverse shaping for other side. I prefer to see it spelled out.
    • I prefer to have all the information right there in the file which I may pull up months after I found it on line.
    • As a mainly visual learner, I like photos or drawings of new techniques.
    • Having info ONLY available online is a definite negative for me. Having it on my computer, even though I’m unable to get to a printer is best.
    • I’m a teacher. I love this long format.
    • I appreciate all your reasoning and explanation, not because I think I need help, but because I like to understand more and more, deeper and deeper, as I go, as I’m doing it; and I like to think about what’s going on, and observe whether what you experience applies also in my case
    • When I use your patterns (& Sally Melville’s), I need to highlight the instructions to see them among the extensive comments.

10. Other Pet Peeves and general comments

  • Dead links in patterns, or yarn suggestions that don’t include enough detail, i.e., yardage/ yards or meters per gram, yarn composition, etc.
  • My pet peeve is patterns for sweaters that do not have schematics! It is important to me to see finished dimensions throughout the garment before I begin so that I can make adjustments,
  • I have found it difficult to FIND your patterns. Since you reference them in your blog so often, I’d love if you had direct links to wherever you want me to get them on your site.

How we are changing our patterns, blog and website based on your comments

The printability of patterns was the most commented on of the questions.

  1. Photos: Keep most pictures on the front page so you can choose not to print the ink heavy page. Only small ‘how to’ photos will be included on the pattern pages.
  2. Designer comments: (oh, that’s me!) These will be included in the blog post with very clear and direct links in the pattern so you can find them.
  3. Sidebar Tips: Tips will remain integrated into the pattern pages, however, they will be on the side of the page so as not to interfere with the flow of the pattern instructions. If I really want to make a point mid-pattern I will put a box around it. The reader comment about having to highlight the actual knitting instructions really struck a cord with me (Q#9).
  4. Pattern Summaries: For longer patterns I will try to add a 1 page summary for those of you that like it simple.
  5. Tutorial Pages: Many patterns include 1-page Nuance tutorials. We will segregate them at the end of the pattern where you can choose to print them or not. This way you can also print them to use in other patterns.
  6. Website Integration: Turns out most readers did not know we have a website. My fault. A graphic with a link to our website has been added to the bottom of every blog post going back to the beginning. Blogs are chronological by nature and hard to organize by topic. Our website does that by Nuance and by pattern.
  7. New look!  And it’s not just a pretty face! The blog pages list is easy to find, past posts easy to see and Catagory posts easy to scan.

Wow (again)! That’s a lot of information. I am very excited and energized by your feedback. Many of the changes on the blog and website have already been made during a marathon computer session over President’s Day weekend. Our first patterns with the new format (Seismic and Telluride) are out and we will reissue existing patterns over the next few months.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!  If after reading this post, you have more ideas, please comment below. You’ll inspire ideas from other knitters too.

If you took the survey but did not use your Ravelry coupon yet, send me a note and I will give you an updated one. You can email me (with this or any other question and comment) at laura@knittingnuances.com.

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One comment on “Interesting Results of our Pattern Survey

  1. Pingback: Take our Quick Pattern Survey | Knitting Nuances

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This entry was posted on March 2, 2015 by in General, Patterns and tagged .

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