Wednesday, April 13, 2016

6 Major mistakes knit and crochet designer are making

I wanted to die when I got that first email. And it wasn’t just one email. They just came coming in. It was one of my first pattern published by a publication. I should have been over the moon, and I was, but for only a short time. There were errors with my pattern in a magazine. How could that be? It was tech edited.

The high I was riding on had swiftly landed back to earth with a harsh crash. I was jolted back to reality and it was painful. I didn't know what to do. This thing I had created and was so proud of was a failure, or so I thought. I’ll get back to this.

Should I blame the magazine tech editor? Well, the thought had cross my mind. But, at the end of the day, the final published pattern – the quality and accuracy – is ultimately the responsibility of the designer.

So, what does a tech editor do anyway? And if you are a designer, do you need one?

Yes, you absolutely need a tech editor. A tech editor is integral to the publishing process and elevates the professionalism of a designer because you have a polished pattern that you are confident about. Every designer needs a tech editor, especially when first starting out.

A tech editor is not the same as a copy editor who reviews for punctuations, spelling, and grammar. A tech editor does all that and much more. A tech editor checks to make sure the pattern is clearly written. They search patterns for errors and accuracy, check the math, make sure the design works, and checks for consistency and flow throughout the pattern, from start to finish. They offer recommendations on how to improve the instructions.

So, back to that seemingly disastrous pattern. How did I get through it to this being a top seller? Well, it wasn’t easy. With years of experience in corporate finance, I had to develop a process for customer service. Sorry you guys! Most of you have purchase one or more of my patterns, but the truth is, the customer isn't always right. But most importantly, the customer deserves to be heard, always. That is key. If a knitter or crocheter finds an error with a pattern, it is the designer’s responsibility to take the time to review the possible problem provide feedback, in a timely manner. This is how we improve.

KNitDesigns by Tian

6 Major Mistakes Designers Make and How to Avoid Them

1) Not having a style guide.
Creating a style guide allows for consistency in writing style and a cohesive pattern look.

2) Not following the publishers' established style guide
Having your own style is great but when publishing with a magazine it is important to follow the template they provide. Being a good designer is more than writing great instructions, you have to be able to follow them as well.

3) Using non-standard terminology or making up your own
There are times when you need to come up with a way to describe something new and different, but don't reinvent the wheel with your patterns. Use the standard terminologies that everyone else is using. This will allow for a clearer understanding of your designs.

4) Making assumptions
Don't write your pattern thinking you are writing a guide for dummies, but don't leave out crucial information that the knitter/crocheter will have to go searching for in order to figure out. Consider the skill level for which you are writing the pattern and evaluate how the information will be received at that level.

5) Not handing errata
Errors happens. I've seen patterns go through 2 rounds of tech editing still having errors. It happens, so don't avoid it or delay too long. Develop a process for how you will handle customer service issues and be consistent.

6) Not having patterns tech edited
Especially in the beginning when you are first starting out, it is important to get experienced eyes on your pattern to catch errors and provide guidance. This might seem daunting, but spending that $25-$45 now will save you time and heartache from solving error questions in the long run.

Ok, again, this was a long post. That's it for now... there is so much more say, but I will end here for now.

Are you a designer or aspiring to write your own pattern. What is one thing you want to know about writing or getting published?
Or, did I miss anything or do you have a question? Leave a comment or question on the blog

Until next time...Stitch on!

A rising tide lift many boats


Go, check out KnitDesigns by Tian Pattern Page to get your copy here:

Want a 20% OFF COUPON to my Ravelry Shop 
and subscriber-exclusives?  

Subscribe to

{The Weekly Yarn} from KnitDesigns by Tian

* indicates required
I am interested in Crochet and Knit...
Email Format

No comments:

Post a Comment