Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More Pedantry

I just noticed this pattern because Nicole finished it. It's by Primitive Needle, called "Kindred Spirits." But the pattern (you have to scroll down) says "kindrid spirits." Why name it something different than the verse? Why correct the spelling for the title? Of course, "kindrid" is no mere mistake; it's meant to be "primitive." I have a lot of bones to pick with these designers of primitive pieces! From the research I've been able to do (and frankly, without the OED, I'm not happy with the research) the primitive version would be "kinrede." Can I just ask if you're going to be primitive be accurate?

Stitchers who stitch embroider reproduction samplers reproduce spelling mistakes, and I'm okay with that. But inventing "mistakes" and reinventing the past, just don't fly.

I started writing this post days ago, and then I came across the new pattern by Only One Ewe Needleworks "Speak not lest you improve the silence" on Carolyn's blog. I've always heard that "Do not speak unless you can improve the silence." Lest you improve the silence means something along the lines of "oh no! what if you improve the silence?" where the original means you should only talk if you've got something good to say. (And not in the juicy sense of good.) The resulting piece actually means the opposite of the proverb I know and flout. (I could scan my earliest report cards as proof, "She is such a good student, but what a chatterbox.")

"Lest" doesn't mean the same thing as "unless" according to the dictionaries I've consulted (and again, I'd have to actually get in the car to check the OED). The two words co-exist as far back as Middle English. Even then, since this is a Quaker piece, and Ackworth was founded in 1779, we shouldn't need to go back that far. Seventeen seventy nine was a long time ago, but surprisingly people were speaking modern English even then. Given how we speak English now, I think the saying--even if there is some etymological reason to use "lest"--is completely confusing.

Of course, all this means is that I won't be stitching either of these designs. You are completely free to make whatever choices you want about butchering my favorite language in the world.

I mean how many times have I told people that game boards are 8 squares by 8 squares and "light on right" and it's been that way since 1475 when the rules for the modern game of chess were written? (There are renderings showing "light on right" as early as 1283.) But that doesn't stop crazy designers from making "primitive" boards that are 7 squares by 7 squares! Oh no. But you can't make me stitch them.

Thanks all for the gerbil love. Ew...that's a little Richard Gere somehow, isn't it? The gerbil has been replaced and all is, well, let's not hope all, is forgotten. There are valuable lessons for us all to take away.

14 comments:

doris said...

I feel somewhat educated. I'm usually put off by what I thought were cutesy intentional misspellings, but I'd never taken the time to research what I've seen on samplers. Thanks for the info.

Nicole said...

LOL! I never even noticed the difference! What does that say about me? :)

Silverlotus said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one put off by intentional misspellings and the like. (I also like to change things to have the Canadian spellings, but that's my little obsession.)

If I remember right, there was a design last year that had one word unintentionally doubled. That was bad. You'd think the model stitcher would have noticed.

Annemarie said...

You know I'm not a native speaker of English, so I really think I should stick to minding my Dutch, but I couldn't agree more. There's one primitive design on my to-stitch list that says 'it's' rather than 'its' and that is *my* pet hate.

karenv said...

I thought of you when I saw the new SB design Holy Night and the return of the "infamous" wisemen ;) I thought that verse of the OOE design didn't look quite right which is a shame, as it's a pretty design otherwise.

mainely stitching said...

Just for the record, I've done my best to research the spellings behind my designs. ;)

Vastitcher said...

I love the look of the silence sampler, but couldn't make heads or tails of the verse. I'm glad you explained, I knew it didn't sound right at all!

Katrina said...
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Katrina said...
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Charlene said...

I love your opinions! Thanks for sharing them.

Anonymous said...

There is no need to link these designers websites to your blog post purely for the purpose of trashing them. It is rude and inconsiderate.
Also, you can't assume that the designers intentionally make these mistakes. Most likely the designers are not intentionally making things up and the "misktakes" that you are referring to are truly just mistakes. Unlike you, the designers probably have other jobs and don't have the luxury of sitting around and researching every single verse they find to be absolutely sure that it is the correct original verse.
There is already enough negativity in this world but that doesn't stop crazy bloggers like you from bringing more into it. The name of your blog is an extremely appropriate name and I couldn't agree with it more.

Jeanne - WillowTreeStitcher said...

I'll stitch a design if I like it but I might change it if something like this bugs me. You know there is a designer who does embroidery patterns under the name "I done my best". Somehow, it annoys me everytime I see them. I'm just one of those people to whom errors (intentional or not) jump right off the page.

mymarkdesigns said...

Poor grammar is the 8th deadliest sin, you know. When you catch me making a "misktake", I hope you'll go easy on me... and include a link ;)

chujo said...

Just to let you know the pattern does come with two versions- the misspelled one and the correct spelling. Not that it makes up for the original mistake or anything...

My guess is that many designers don’t feel the need to conduct any research into their patterns unless they are selling reproductions like Needleprint or the Scarlet Letter.