Susan Hislop Tech Editor
How I Work, The Tech Editing Process for Knitting Patterns

Last updated: 09/13/2018
What/When/Why
Tech editing a knitting pattern basically means proofreading it without actually knitting the design. See What I Check below for more details.

If you plan to have your pattern test knitted, I recommend having your pattern tech edited first (and in any case, naturally before publication). There are several advantages in doing this:
  • You get most of the corrections/changes to your pattern identified all at once, allowing you to concentrate on changes/updates in one sitting, rather than having to return to your pattern many different times as test knitters notice potential issues over days/weeks. 
  • It reduces the need to send revised pattern versions to test knitters.
  • Minimizes confusion for test knitters.
  • Avoids potentially embarrassing test knit situations where a garment just doesn't come out as it is supposed to due to a critical oversight in the pattern.
  • When the test knit is run on a public forum (for example, Ravelry), less of your pattern is revealed to non-testers and non-purchasers.
In other words, it saves you time and allows you to concentrate on your next design.

Why, in addition to the above:
  • Tech edited patterns look professional and neat.
  • It reduces questions from knitters who've purchased your pattern.
  • Knitters appreciate error-free patterns and are more likely to give a higher rating to patterns (and also to purchase more from the same source) that are neat, clear, and free of errors.
  • Test knitting in itself is unlikely to identify all errors and inconsistencies. Many skilled knitters happily and quickly produce the design as intended, not noticing little errors and especially style inconsistencies, etc, as they knit.
  • It can be hard (some say impossible) and time consuming to spot errors in your own work.
Basic Tech Editing Process
I work from .doc, .docx, or .pdf files.
PDF
If you're an independent designer, a PDF file has the advantage of being WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) thus allowing me to check the layout exactly as it will be seen by purchasers. PDF file security settings need to allow me to print, copy, and comment. I do most of my work directly onscreen in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC noting errors/corrections and making suggestions by
adding "markup" comments.

You'll receive my editing comments in a return PDF file via email and see my highlights and comments therein that pop-up when you mouseover. At this point, since I haven't changed any actual file content, you can work directly with it making changes (optionally deleting or replying to my comments as you go) or you can work from your original file (whether it be .docx or .pdf). Either way, once you've finished making changes, send the corrected pattern to me for rechecking. The process may need to be repeated.
Word .doc/.docx
The procedure is much the same working with .doc or .docx files: I add review comments in Word. This file format has the advantage of allowing me to make corrections to the pattern itself, should you wish me to do that. In that case, I work with the "track changes" option turned on so that you can see what I've changed. I also add review comments if the reason for the change isn't obvious or when suggesting a change that I feel needs your confirmation or input. It can be convenient, saving time for both of us, if I quickly correct things like typos, grammar, and punctuation as I work through a pattern.

When working with Word files, if you've used a non-standard font that I don't have installed on my computer it's likely to mess up the layout/formatting on my computer. In most cases I can download and install the font that you've used and all will then look as it should. Let me know which special fonts you've used, if any, or if you're not sure you can send me both .docx and .pdf formats of your pattern. This allows me to compare and check I'm seeing the pattern as intended.
Seeing a pattern's layout in PDF format is naturally more important with complex layouts such as those that include photos, diagrams, charts, notes in margins, and background shading. Typically layout problems are as simple as a diagram encroaching on text or insufficent margins between text and page borders. Of course, you can always send your pattern in both file formats if you'd like me to check the layout as well as make corrections to your .docx file rather than being constrained to review/markup comments alone.

In addition, if I see a discrepancy in math (stitch counts across sizes, for example), instead of adding details with a lot of numbers in small comment boxes, I may create a spreadsheet (.xls or .xlsx) showing the math for clarity and ease of explanation and email it along with the PDF or Word file.

Style
There are many different ways to format and phrase knitting patterns that go to make up a designer's, magazine's, or book's style. I follow your Style Sheet if you have one, or otherwise simply your style as presented in your pattern, checking for style consistency and clarity. I can also help define your style if you wish.

My own tech editing style is flexible. My aim is to help you create good-looking, error-free patterns in your own style in an easeful way. Hence, if you'd like me to follow a different procedure to what I've outlined above or would like help creating charts or spreadsheets, let me know. When communicating, I tend to be informal, friendly, relevant (I'm not going to bore you with cat stories!
😊), and clear as to the reasons for pattern changes/suggestions.

What I Check
Everything! 😊 I check for every possible kind of error as well as consistency, clarity, and completeness in style and instructions. This includes:
  • Math, measurements, all numbers and stitch counts are present and correct.
  • Instructions, photos, schematics, and charts match.
  • Consistency of style, phrasing, and compliance with style sheet.
  • Clarity.
  • Completeness.
  • Chart consistency/correctness.
  • Written instructions match charts.
  • Spelling, correct word usage, punctuation, formatting, and grammar.
  • CYC standards are followed for sizing, needle sizes, and yarn weight.
  • Gauge is reasonable, matching the design and yarn weight.
  • Layout.
  • Any external references are correct (e.g. videos, yarn details, url's).
  • Abbreviations and notations used are defined and consistent with industry standards.
  • All required materials are listed and yarn requirements look reasonable.
Time
My turn around time is usually 1 to 7 days, depending on my other commitments and the length/complexity of the pattern. Even for the simplest pattern, I like to sleep on it and read through it one more time with fresh eyes before emailing my work. I send regular progress reports when applicable and I'll let you know asap if I find a major issue in your pattern. (A major issue, for example, would be a missing section [Sleeves? Where are the sleeves! 😉] or an error in one place that may result in significant changes to instructions that follow.) Do let me know if you have a deadline for the tech-edited pattern completion – since I work from home my schedule is typically flexible and most likely I can work to fit your time frame. I can provide
an estimated completion date upon request before seeing your pattern given the following:
  • Photos.
  • How many pages there are in your pattern.
  • Whether you have charts and written instructions matching the charts or only one or the other.
  • A brief overview of the construction and design elements.
  • How many different sizes you offer.
Pricing
My standard rate $25 per hour, however, as an introductory get-to-know-me rate applicable until November 20, 2018, my rate is currently $20 per hour
billable in 15-minute increments with a one hour minimum. All prices/rates/quotes are in USD. Payment is due upon receipt of invoice/completion of tech editing. I accept payments via credit/debit cards online, checks, Google Pay, and Popmoney.

I keep a strict track of my billable time by using time tracking software. The clock starts ticking when I start working and pauses when I am interrupted, only resuming when I have complete focus once again on your pattern.

With care and highlighter,
---Sue

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