Monday, June 10, 2013

Very red-faced.

In addition to being a knitter, designer and teacher, I am a technical editor. I edit other designer's patterns, with the objective of ensuring that the patterns are accurate, easy to follow, and that they produce the results intended.

So it was a huge humbling moment for me when I had an email from a knitter last week informing me that there were a couple of mistakes in the numbers in one of the patterns I hand out in my classes. She was completely right, and I was completely mortified.

I'd been using this pattern for years, and it was good. But then I decided to get clever: about a year ago, I added to it an extra size that I'd developed for my second book, and in doing that, I made a 'simple' typing error - 28 instead of 38. I didn't have the pattern re-edited, because it was such a simple change. But it doesn't matter how simple it is, if it's not right!

I connected again this weekend with another student who'd taken my class, and she said that she assumed the problem was with her, and so she'd had to abandon the pattern. I know that when something goes wrong in pattern, I tend to assume it's me - as did this particular knitter. She couldn't figure it out, so she'd found another pattern and started again.

I'm glad I was able to talk to her: to apologize, to reassure her that it wasn't her, and to provide her with the fixed pattern.

But I also asked her - begged her, in fact - to get in touch with me next time. Yes, sometimes the mistakes are our own causing. I know I've cast on the wrong number of stitches, decreased one too many (or too few times), and lost track of what row I'm on in the pattern. But sometimes the problem is in the pattern. And if it is, as a designer, I want - need - to know, so I can put it right, and make it right for all the knitters who might be struggling.

I'm very sorry to all knitters who've run into problems with this version of the pattern. If you've taken a Top Down Sock class from me in the past year or so, send me an email at kate at wisehildaknits dot com, and I'll send you a new version of the fingering weight version of the pattern.

And if there's ever any question about one of my patterns, don't hesitate to get in touch. I include my email address on my patterns and class hand outs for a reason.

To fix the pattern and get you the fixed version is the least I can do to thank you for spending time and money on me and my work. I owe you that.

And it's not just me - all the designers I know feel the same way: if you see something, say something, so we can make it right.

Thank you!


Beth Graham said...

Writing is hard work, and self-editing well-nigh impossible. I used to work as a professional proofreader/editor for a large Canadian ad agency. One of the services I missed proofing correctly in a new business pitch? "Public Relations."

Yes, turned out that our company was an expert in pubic relations.

Thank you for your conscientious work and for taking responsibility when something goes wrong. Happens to us all.

Carol Urban said...

Oh, Beth! I've always hated typing that word for fear I would misspell it and not correct it in time. Ugg.