I have completely embraced the whole knit design idea. I love coming up with ideas. I love testing them out, even when they don’t work. I love the anticipation of starting out on a new design. I really don’t like the whole back office stuff. I don’t mind getting all the information together, filling in row upon row of spreadsheet for yardage, weight, gauge etc. I just find sitting down and writing the pattern a chore. It’s complete nonsense, of course as I can’t publish any of my ideas without the pattern, but I have to book time in the diary and make myself sit and write the damn thing down. I always leave it alone for a couple of days as I know I’ll have made some sort of rookie error that I’ll pick up on the next read through. I still miss some bits though – thank goodness for the tech editor.
I can’t express my admiration for tech editors highly enough. It’s bad enough going through my own patterns but trying to make sense of someone else’s would have me banging my head on the keyboard in a very short time. As part of my ‘day job’ I sometimes work to assess bids for funding of digital projects. In some of these, the enthusiasm jumps off the page. The proposal is going to transform the education landscape and provide a perfect solution for lots of students. What is often missing in these gushing wonderful texts is the crucial detail of what they are actually going to do. So I can cope with detail in that scenario, but I’ve knitted for so long, I make all sorts of assumptions on the reader’s knowledge and understanding and these tend to get transferred to the pattern. I always have my patterns tech edited before opening them for testing.
Test knitters are the most effective and delightful way of finding out just how clear your pattern is. The tech editor, like me is very experienced and understands knitting. When someone who is perhaps not so experienced or even doesn’t use English as their first language, comes to try your idea, then you really find out if it works or not. Their ideas and suggestions are always helpful. I am also often surprised that the bits that I thought might be a bit tricky quite often don’t pose any barrier at all. At other times, a simple layout can confuse a knitter. I use Stitchmastery, for creating charts and the written instructions. It produces a simple chart that by default adds a slightly darker line after each 10 rows or columns. In the Tanilba Bay the ‘water’ pattern is an 11 stitch repeat. One tester kept forgetting the last stitch because of the darker line after the 10th stitch. It’s easy to remove the line but I wouldn’t have thought of it myself. I also use Yarnpond for finding testers and managing the testing process. It’s simple and effective. What more could you want. I’ve also ‘met’ some lovely people from all over the world in a very short time.
So in summary, hurrah for tech editors and test knitters. You are all fabulous.