One thing that I’ve learned over the past two and a half years is that designing patterns is one thing, but making sure that everything is right is another! My first few patterns were published as free patterns and the only editing and testing was my own. As people started to use the patterns, they found errors, which I corrected, but when I decided my next pattern would be for sale, I decided I should invest in making sure the pattern was as correct as possible before publication.
My first step was to find a tech editor. A tech editor looks over the pattern and checks all the math. He or she makes sure that the written directions and any charts work together properly, that the gauge and the stitch count agree with each other, and that generally the pattern is consistent in wording and format. Tech editors don’t knit the pattern, they just make sure the math and wording are consistent and correct.
My tech editors have found my copying errors and the occasional math error. They’ve suggested clearer wording for a complex step and noticed when I failed to include an abbreviation in my stitch glossary. No matter how many times I go over a pattern, it seems the tech editor always finds something!
Test knitters, on the other hand, actually knit the pattern. They take your directions and make a finished product from them. My test knitters have occasionally found errors that the tech editor missed, but more often they give me more procedural feedback– what notes in the pattern were helpful, where they got confused, or what wording makes more senses to them. Test knitters usually provide their own yarn and keep their finished product. I don’t have time to knit a pattern in multiple yarns, but my test knitters almost never use the same yarn as I have used, so I get to see how different fibers and colors affect the finished product. Not only do I get to see the variety of results, but when the test knitters link their projects to my pattern in Ravelry, other knitters can see the possibilities, too!
Thank you to all my test knitters! You make the patterns better and for that I am grateful. If you are interested in being a test knitter for me, please join my Ravelry group and sign up on the Test Knit thread.