I don't write about working in a yarn shop much. I had an interaction with a customer today that is all too common and wanted to share it with you. Much of the job of a yarn shop employee, at least one at my shop, is spent helping people with their knitting or crocheting. The problem 95% of the time is that they simply have not followed the pattern. There is a large group that may be new to their craft and thought they were following the pattern and missed a step along the way. There is a good portion who just made a technical error like missing a yarn over or doing a yarn over improperly.
Then there is the customer I had today. I would call these customers "over-thinkers." They approach the knitting pattern as a puzzle they have to solve. They frequently say things like, "So when the designer says X what she really means is Y, right?" The answer is usually, "no." When a designer says, "purl 9, turn" they mean purl nine stitches and turn your work. When the designer says "Knit for 5 inches" that is almost always exactly what she means. I'm a big advocate for thinking. Use your brain. Use it a lot. But don't try to find puzzles where they don't exist. If you're having a problem with a pattern, take a step back, take a deep breath and then do it again exactly as written. This will solve most "pattern problems." Just do what the pattern says.