Think about your favorite crochet or knit designers. Think about how their patterns look, how they make even the most complicated design seem easy, how they make you feel as though they are sitting next to you, guiding you through the pattern. This is because some of the best designers in the world utilize tech editors. Granted, a lot of those designers might not require a lot of heavy editing since they have likely learned to keep an eye out for certain items in their patterns, but I can guarantee that they still have someone check it over to find typos, math errors, schematic snafus, and problems with charts. Even the best designers might use the wrong symbol on a lace chart or miscalculate the stitch count after the yoke increase on a sweater.
The same goes for patterns you find in books and magazines: those were edited by someone, too, for all those reasons listed above, as well as to apply that publication’s style to all the patterns so that there’s a common look across all those patterns, even if each one was authored by a different designer.
Kate Atherley summarizes this pretty well on page 90 of her book (paid link), The Beginner’s Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns: “A technical editor reviews your pattern…with two objectives in mind: to ensure the pattern can be knitted, and that when knitted, the pattern produces what it says it will.” And then she goes into further detail of the various items that tech editors check, many of which are listed on my Pattern Editing Services page.
All of the tech editors I’ve met so far have all been trained to edit patterns. While we all have a natural affinity for finding errors and have an insatiable urge to get it fixed, we still received additional training on how to find those less obvious errors hidden in a complex rows of stitching without knitting or crocheting the design. We have to see it in our minds, on our spreadsheets, in the mathematical formulas we employ. Believe me, there’s been a few times that I wanted to pick up my needles or hook to work out something, but that’s not the job. We’re not test knitters/crocheters (those folks have their own important role in the pattern publishing process). We clear out the typos, the errors in logic, note the missing sections, do all the math, make sure the measurements work out, and offer tips and suggestions on how to further clarify and “professionalize” the pattern without losing the designer’s voice. In the end, we’re helping the designer bring the best version of their creation to the world.
Ready to let me help you bring out the best in your designs? Contact me now to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation!