Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Art of the Edit....

This week saw me complete two cowls, and scarf. That would normally be really good progress, However, I could have finished more......

I think that many of us get very excited to publish our patterns whether for free or for profit. I understand it is an exciting moment. However, that excitement should not allow one to over look the need of a second pair of eyes (aka - the editor or the test knitter.) For example, I wanted to publish a pattern earlier in the week. I sent it off to an editor and am patiently waiting for her to send it back to me on Monday. I'm disappointed that I cannot publish yet, but in the end you will all get a well written pattern.

I remind us all of the need of an editor or test knitter because I spent two days re-writing and frogging a simple scarf pattern that should have been finished in an evening. The original pattern that I pulled as a freebie from Ravelry was so poorly written that there was nothing to be done, but start from scratch. In each section something was glaringly wrong. I think part of the problem was that the writer wrote things such as:
       1) Start the pattern again working only k1,p1 on the front and purl on the back. Keep the pattern correct throughout. OK - problem is that this was not the entire pattern, there were two more lines to the original pattern listed on the first page. She kept forgetting to list or refer to the full pattern. If you did just what she wrote, you did not get the pattern that she wanted.
       2) Making a loop for the end of the scarf: These instructions looked fine except that the author forgot to tell you that after you knit the first half, you have to cut the working yarn and start the yarn again on the second half or you get a three inch piece of yarn loop hanging out the side that can in no way be reincorporated in the design.

And the list went on and on. These are things a test knitter or editor would have caught. The pattern is cute as can be, but the bad writing made it impossible to make without having to guess at what the author wanted. This pattern should have been knitted in two halves and then stitched together because you get a funny look on the second side because the pattern is done in the opposite direction. So, I offer two suggestions - get someone to edit for you - be that a read through - a test knit or both.
 And then find yourself a pattern writing template. TKGA has a great template to follow for writing a concise and well put together patten. These tools are invaluable for those of us that self publish or submit or patterns to magazines, and other publishers. It could mean the difference between someone giving your pattern a second thought or having it end up in File 13 (aka the recycling pile.) It also keeps fellow knitters from shaking their head and wondering what you thinking.

In the end you'll be happy that you spent a little more time on your written instructions and so will the people that take the time to make your designs.

Peace and joy....
The Green Girl

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