Knitty Friday: Learning from your Tech Editor; podcasty goodness

We’ve heard this so many times since launching Knitty in 2002: “Please pass on my thanks to (insert Tech Editor’s name here) for her work on my pattern. It’s so much better than when I submitted it, and I’ve learned a lot from the process.”

Backing up, let’s talk a bit about who our designers are. We do have a few established designers, and some that design for a living. But we also have a variety of people of all levels of experience who have designed something great and send it to us to see if we’ll publish it. Our Tech Editors are women (so far — we haven’t had a male Tech Editor yet) with superior skills in math who also understand handknitting and garment creation in a way that the average knitter might never achieve. They’ve gone out of their way to learn how to convey the creation of some 3D object in words alone so clearly that anyone with an appropriate skill level can reproduce it. It’s really a form of technical writing. And it’s a hard craft to master.

Some, usually most, of our Designers embrace the feedback that they get from their Tech Editors. They answer the Editor’s questions promptly and very often learn from those questions themselves. (“What didn’t I convey clearly enough, so that the Editor had to ask about it? How could I have written this better?”) Some, thankfully not many, don’t make the Tech Editor’s job easier. They fight. They’re sure their way was the right way. They feel that the questions being asked by the Editor are challenges to their skill level. Which is kind of silly. Because just as designing is not my primary skill, I would expect lots of Designers to be not much of a Magazine Editor. It’s okay to be really good at designing, and to allow the Tech Editor to be really good at their job. When Designers and Tech Editors work in harmony, all that results is a much better pattern.

The best Designers are ones who learn from the collaboration. And we’re lucky to have had many of those grace our pages.


I was lucky enough to be interviewed for the official Patreon Podcast, and the result is below! The Knitty part starts about 21 minutes in. There’s stuff about how we started, how we work, how Patreon is affecting our future (hint: for the better). Enjoy!

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One thought on “Knitty Friday: Learning from your Tech Editor; podcasty goodness

  1. EL

    So, in cases when the designer pushes back, who gets the last word? The author or the editor? The designer might have a good reason for writing it an unusual way. The tech editor might not want to let a poorly written pattern get published. Who decides?

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