I'm a little irritated by the lace top I've been trying to crochet. First, I ran out of thread and of course it isn't available in any quantity locally. A couple of nights ago I found some at Wal-Mart again, presumably because they are redoing the floors and things have been shuffled around. I guess they found it somewhere. *sigh* Still, only three more balls of black #3 cotton, and that won't be enough. (Gee, the pattern description seems to be wrong on that account... Looks like I'll need at least double the amount of thread specified.)
Furthermore, the instructions specified that at the end of the round I'm on, I will have 42 qdc groups. Well, I have 42 now, and I'm not quite halfway around this row yet. I've been carefully counting my stitches as I go, so I'm a bit confused now. I know how to follow patterns -- I've been doing it nearly 30 years. So... Hmm. What to do? Finish the section as it is, then try it on to see if the blouse is going to fit me correctly? Finish a sleeve as well?
Just by luck, I actually found software online to create crochet charts using symbols. It is called Crochet Charts and it is made by Stitch Works Software. They allow a free trial, so I figure the least I can do is give it my unprofessional review. So far it looks like it can be used to design patterns in the round, in rows, and freeform. I'm going to test it out on my possibly faulty pattern, and see where I messed up. IF I messed up. There's always that vague possibility that I'm not the one in error. After all, the pattern designer did act like she was sending me the second pattern I purchased from her as a free bonus, when she left it out the first time after I'd already paid for it. *sigh* I guess if I buy any more of her patterns, I'll get them from Ravelry (instant download and more accurate thread and hook size descriptions) as opposed to Etsy, where I had to wait on her to email me the patterns... and then wait on her to email me the WHOLE patterns, and then wait once more for her to email me my second purchase as if I hadn't already paid her for it. Caveat emptor, indeed.
From my quick read through, the software seems to have been around only since October 2011, with upcoming promised additions of more stitches, such as Tunisian stitches - my favorite. :) From what I've seen, there are already lots of stitches available, and the software is only $50. Plus, it is licensed by user, not by computer, so I can possibly use it on my PC at home and on my MacBook laptop for portability. No iPad versions yet -- though I get the impression that if there were enough demand, that might happen in the future.
Okay, problem. Prominently used in this pattern is a quadruple crochet (wrap 3 times, pull up a loop, then pull through 2 loops 4 times to complete the stitch) and there is no such stitch available in the pattern. Argh. I guess I'll just have to use the tallest stitch available and then see if I can stretch the scale. What the heck, I'm just checking my work against the pattern anyway.
I just realized that I can create my own custom stitch sets, but as I was trying to save what I had made as a new stitch, the program crashed. I am aware that the trial version of the program does not allow for saving or exporting, so that might just be what caused the crash - I was trying to do something not allowed in the free demo. So I will reserve judgment on the stitch editing feature until I've played a little bit more with the software. Update: I checked the Ravelry users' group and someone mentioned this particular crash (copy / paste stictch group) a couple of days ago. The programmer said that he is working on a fix and hopes to have it ready in a couple of weeks. Darn. You know I like magical instant fixes. :) Still, it is a huge bonus that the programmer is within reach when you have a problem. However, until this problem is fixed, I don't think I'll be able to use the program for error detection on an existing pattern, unless I can define my groups of stitches as new stitches without crashes.