are spreadsheets and knitting your happy place?
The “Learn About Tech Editing” course was created just for you.
In this FREE course you'll learn:
what makes a good tech editor
the tools a tech editor needs
the different paths to becoming a tech editor
I also show you how I edit a shawl pattern -- start to finish. But you don't just have to watch me edit, you can give it a go yourself first! You'll get the unedited pattern and my basic editing checklist so you can try it yourself before watching me
What is a tech editor?
Take a look at the following "patterns":
Version 1: Cast on 100 stitches. Rnd 1: K2, p2 to end. Round 2: Knit. Continue this way until work measures 60 inches. CO all sts.
Version 2: Cast on 100 stitches. Join to work in the round, being careful not to twist stitches. Rnd 1: *K2, p2; repeat from * to end. Rnd 2: Knit. Repeat Rnds 1 & 2 until work measures 60" / 152.5 cm from cast on or until desired length for scarf. Cast off all stitches.
The first could have very well made it through test knitting, but no good tech editor would let it go like that. They would guide a designer to something much more like the second which is clearer, more consistent in style, and least likely to cause problems for the knitter. That's why a designer hires a tech editor.
So what is a tech(nical) editor? A tech editor is the writing editor equivalent for knitting patterns. A tech editor goes through a pattern top to bottom, line by line, checking for errors, inconsistencies, problems, better ways of writing things, and so on. They meticulously go through the pattern with a fine tooth comb; checking stitch counts, making sure the gauge gives the right measurements, looking at wording, looking for deviations from the style sheet. It's a lot of work and a good tech editor is able to do this quickly and efficiently.
In contrast to a test knitter, a tech editor does not knit the item -- they don't need to in order to check it. Now is test knitting better than tech editing because they actually knit the item? I don't think so. I know of patterns that have been knit thousands of times and suddenly a knitter will find an error. That said, test knitters are great for many things. It's helpful to get feedback from knitters who come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experience levels. Designers also use test knitters to generate social media buzz and as a way of getting projects up as soon as the pattern is released which helps with sales. But for all their wonderful qualities, test knitters should not be used to catch errors. Mainly because test knitters are usually doing it for free and it would really suck for them if to get a pattern full of errors to knit. That's going to result in a lot of ripping out and wasted time and frustration. I'd rather see test knitters get a clean pattern so the knitting process actually mimics the experience a buyer will have. The feedback about that experience is going to be way more useful than feedback about a pattern full of errors.
who am i?
Hi, I’m Joeli! I’m a knitter, tech editor, mum to two boys, course creator, biz coach, and lover of sports documentaries. I started knitting when I was a child and basically never stopped. I was a super nerdy child; head always in a book and in love with space, maths, and science. After a brief stint at MIT, I ended up at the University of Liverpool and earned a BSc in Mathematics with Education (I also published my first design while I was there.) Shortly after graduating in 2008, being unsure what to do next, I discovered the world of test knitting and tech editing. I went on to work with magazines, yarn companies, a book publisher, and hundreds of designers. I’ve created courses, ran knitting retreats, demonstrated HiyaHiya needles on live TV, and vended at shows. I've been lucky enough to teach hundreds of knitters to become tech editors and watch as they go on to build thriving tech editing careers of their own. It's been amazing and I'm so grateful for the crazy turn of events that lead me here.