Errors and Suggestions: Discovering the Difference and Communicating It

What’s an error? What’s a suggestion? What’s the difference between them? Here’s a post that will hopefully answer those questions in terms of tech editing a knitting pattern.

Hello everyone! I hope that you are well wherever you are upon visiting this blog post.

When I was learning to tech edit, there were numerous simple yet foundational things that I learned.

One thing that I learned was the difference between an error and a suggestion in knitting patterns.

As they are different, I like errors and suggestions to be communicated differently to the designers whom I edit for.

I wanted to share this information with you!


An error is a detail of a pattern that is factually wrong. An error will affect the outcome of following a pattern.

An error can be displayed in various ways.

In knitting patterns, sometimes errors can be stitch counts listed at the end of a row being different than the number of stitches that result from working the pattern instructions for that row.


Row 1 (RS): K1, M1R, K5, M1L, K1. 10 stitches (Error)

The stitch count listed at the end of this row is incorrect.

K1 (1 stitch) + M1R (1 stitch) + K5 (5 stitches) + M1L (1 stitch) + K1 (1 stitch) = 9 stitches

As a tech editor, my job is to help a designer spot these areas and bring them to their attention, but how the error should be fixed is up to the designer.

The error may look fixed by changing the stitch count to 9, but maybe the designer meant to have 10 stitches at the end of the row and needs to add a stitch into the row.

Another important error tech editors are to catch are related to sizing.

In the schematic or finished measurements, a pullover sweater’s bust measurement may be listed for a certain circumference, but when the stitch count at the chest is divided by the gauge, a significantly different number sometimes appears.


Finished Chest Measurement: 36 inches

Gauge: 8 stitches and 10 rows per inch

Stitch Count at Chest: 304 stitches

304 stitches at chest / 8 stitches per inch = 38 inches bust circumference

Again, how to fix this error is up to the designer.

She/he may change the finished measurements to 38 inches, or they may choose to modify the stitch count so the finished bust circumference will be 36 inches.

It’s the designer’s pattern! The job of a tech editor is to make sure these errors are made known to the designer not by a knitter in the middle of following the pattern.


A suggestion is a detail of a pattern that one believes can be clarified or changed to make the pattern better. A suggestion does not affect the outcome of following a pattern.

Just like errors, suggestions can be displayed in various ways.

Suggestions can be recommending that a designer labels only the first right side and wrong side rows and not every single row to help declutter the pattern.

Suggestions can ask to reword or clarify a portion of the pattern’s instructions.

Even though suggestions aren’t life or death, as errors are, for the pattern to create the knitted item, some suggestions tech editors give will help knitters enjoy their time following your pattern more drawing them back to you for future designs.

Some suggestions of modifications a tech editor may make will help your knitting pattern be more accessible to a variety of people from different places and skill levels.

Suggestions do have value.

How to Give Errors and Suggestions

I believe it is important as a tech editor to personally distinguish the difference between an error and a suggestion.

Equally, it is important to communicate my errors and suggestions differently to the designer.

When I’m tech editing, I use the color yellow for errors.

Blue is my color of choice for suggestions.

These color differences visually separate the errors from the suggestions for the designer so they can see what is most important to modify.

Hopefully, it is also encouraging to see that the errors are truly not that many as if I had used the same color for both.

I use a yellow highlighter to label errors found within a pattern.
I use a blue highlighter to label suggestions I have for a pattern.


If you have any thoughts concerning errors and suggestions when working with a tech editor, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Have a blessed day, friends! I will be back with more to share soon.

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