Rating System

July 11, 2006 by

Don’t we all love looking through pattern books, catalogs and of course the internet dreaming of projects to take on? Certainly, I spend far more time than is prudent partaking in this kind of dreamy state than I care to admit. Also included are cookbooks, garden design books and seed catalogs. Rowan long ago captured my heart. My first one, Number 12, was a revelation for me. I made 6 different pieces from my dear, dreamy Number 12. It is safely tucked away because I really would cry if something happened to it, and with the boys it is a strong possibility. Over the years, I have collected almost all of them. Sigh.

Now, I have begun to amass the Rowan/Kaffe quilting/patchwork books. I love them too, though the commentary takes away from the overall effect- reality intruding on my dreaming. I do prefer to let my mind drift and imagine things as opposed to having it all explained to me.

As with both sets of books, they rate the experience level a person should have to undertake a project. With the knitting books, this never really bothered me, I simply ignored it. But now as I spend more time sewing, I find I pay attention to the stated difficulty level more. This bothers me immensely on two fronts. First, it bothers me that I pay attention to them and hear myself thinking “Oh, that has THREE stars, I couldn’t make that”. It is maddening to me and I consider this a flaw in my character. Second, closely tied to the first, is why bother rating them at all? If you tell somebody that something is difficult, then it IS difficult. Why not let me have at it and see where I end up. Maybe I will learn something new. With the boys, I really try to limit my telling them something is difficult. I will absolutely tell them it is dangerous (which will not stop them), and shy away from saying something is difficult (which will stop them).

If they insist on a rating system, don’t you think they could come up with a more encouraging one? How much Joy will this bring you? How many generations of your family will get to enjoy your beautiful creation? How special will the recipient feel when they receive your gift? How much will you learn or better how much your confidence in your abilities will be boosted? That is the kind of rating system I am interested in.

And this little baby, is a ten out of ten on the How much Joy will it bring you scale. I am smitten.

3 Responses to Rating System

  1. Susan

    I completely agree with your observations about difficulty rating scales. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at something, wanted to make it and then been put off by dumb little stars. One of many goals this year was to blow those little scales off. What do they know?
    I’ve been thinking about quilting…a lot. Any advice on a good beginner book/pattern?

  2. Emily

    If I did a rating system, I would have very different categories. They would be like, “It is a good idea to know how to work a sewing machine before starting this one!” And, “Tricky, but not impossible. Look up cabels before starting.” Or maybe, “If you don’t know how to purl, this is not a good pattern to learn with. Get this book back out after you’ve made ribbing. ” More like advisory notices, really.

  3. Alison

    Rating systems – usually I don’t look at them till after I’ve fallen in love with making something, then pretend I’m much better than I might be….
    The reds are gorgeous – it’s going to really burst with life :)