Hello everyone! I hope that you are well wherever you are in this world 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 designers whom I edit for. I wanted to share this information with you!
An error is an aspect of a pattern that is factually wrong. An error will affect the outcome when 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 you spot these areas and bring them to your attention, but how the error should be fixed is up to you. The error may look fixed by changing the stitch count to 9, but maybe you as a designer meant to have 10 stitches at the end of the row and need 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 bust is divided by the gauge, a significantly different number sometimes appears.
Finished bust measurement: 36 inches
Gauge: 8 stitches and 10 rows per inch
Stitch count at bust: 304 stitches
304 stitches at bust / 8 stitches per inch = 38 inches bust circumference
Again, how to fix this error is up to the designer. They 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 an aspect of a pattern that one believes can be clarified or changed to better the pattern. A suggestion does not affect the outcome when following a pattern. Just like errors, suggestions can be displayed in various ways. Suggestions can be recommending a designer labels only the first right side and wrong side rows and not every single row to declutter the pattern. Suggestions can be ways to reword or clarify a portion of the pattern 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. It is equally important to communicate my errors and suggestions differently to the designer. When I’m tech editing, I use the color yellow for errors while blue is my color of choice for suggestions. These color differences separate visually 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.
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! Happy knitting to you all!