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Are Tech Editors Important?

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Man, am I putting my job on the line with this one! If you’re a designer or someone who is interested to know if a Tech Editor is worth the money, let me walk you through what a Tech Editor does and when you might need one.

photo of laptop near plant tech editing deskPhoto by Lisa Fotios on

What is a Tech Editor?

A Tech Editor in the crafting world, specialises in editing patterns for the craft community. These types of patterns are very technical and need to translate positively and easily to the maker so they can recreate the item. Tech Editors will typically ensure all the relevant information is available (including protecting your work), check the math and stitch counts, ensure the pattern reads consistently, proofread for punctuation and grammar errors, provide feedback and/or suggestions for pattern clarity and just generally guide and coach you throughout.

Each Tech Editor may have their own niche. For example; I will tech edit crochet, Tunisian crochet and only some knitting patterns. Others may specialise in only knitting, loom knitting, macramé, sewing, etc. Essentially, Tech Editors are here to remove the worry and scariness out of the process of making your pattern the best it can be and allow you more time to do what you love most… designing.

What a Tech Editor won’t do

There are a few things to keep in mind with what a Tech Editor won’t do.

  • Grade your patterns. Unless they specifically say they offer this service, it’s best to not assume they’ll automatically do it for you. If you need your pattern graded and edited, I always recommend getting one of each separately to avoid a carry through of errors.
  • Convert pattern terminology. Some editors can do this, but always ask beforehand. Most importantly, the pattern must be your design. If you have a pattern from another designer, you will need to contact that designer directly for assistance.
  • Create a chart or diagram for your pattern. This service can be optional, but it’s not always part of a standard edit.

When to hire a Tech Editor

Not every single pattern needs one! So if you feel 100% confident with your simple tea towel pattern, go ahead and call for testers. No need to waste your money here. You’ll probably find (especially if you have a killer tester team like me!) your testers will pick up most of the errors. But if you’re not feeling great about the adult size beanie within your 5 sizes in 1 pattern, it’s time to decide.

Whenever you have had your pattern graded either by yourself or by a grader, I definitely recommend getting a Tech Editor. They already have the knowledge and understanding of grading, and will pop all the information in their sheet to check it all off. I feel it’s worth it at this point as you are getting a professional set on eyes on your work and will most likely pick up 95% of errors (no one is ever 100%).

Do I hire a Tech Editor before or after testing?

Hands down. Always before. Before you get your testers making, you may want to have someone go over it first. I’ve heard stories of designers rushing through writing, grading and editing their own patterns then handing it over to their tester team, to find everyone was getting different results. Missing information, different finished sizes, sentences not making sense and just general stress all around. If you are unsure if you need one or not, feel free to reach out to me!

I also recommend building your dream your tester team that you can call upon at any time! There are some testers out there that just want a free pattern. It’s unavoidable and it happens. Having a sheet or form for them to fill out after the test to ensure you get the information you need prior to release will help you and your testers in the long run. Make yourself clear about what’s needed from the test and when it’s needed by. If they are unable to finish making the item and providing feedback within the time frame, you could be charged for the cost of the pattern. It’s not a nice threat, but it should wean out the freeloaders. I hope to talk more about testers next week.

Looking for a Tech Editor or want to learn?

So, yeah. Totally going to plug myself here. I specialise in:

  • Crochet (experienced), Tunisian Crochet (intermediate), and Knit (intermediate) patterns.
  • Accessories (hats/beanies, scarves/cowls, shawls, etc.), blankets/afghans, amigurumi, and most garments. (Sorry, no socks!)
  • English patterns only (AUS/UK/US).
  • US & UK/AUS terminology.
  • Google Docs/Sheets, Canva & Microsoft Word/Excel (other programs upon request).

You can contact me here to see when I’m available.

If you are into knitting, I will 1000% recommend Oliphant Kat. Kat has been in the game a long time and is an experienced designer herself.

Or if you feel everything you have read so far is what you already do and are finding your testers are not picking up any errors anymore, maybe you’ll want to learn to Tech Edit yourself. You could become self employed or even pick up a gig with a magazine like I did.

Join The Tech Editor Hub to learn how to become a Tech Editor.

Or if you think you got the skills already but want to learn more about grading, why not try A Simple Guide to Grading Crochet. Most of the same principles can be applied for knitting.

Or simply browse Craftsy and find some inspiration for your next design.

Well, that’s it from me today! Next week I want to talk about testers. If there’s any other part of this topic you would like to cover, please let me know in the comments below!

Happy Crafting xoxo


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