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A is for Abbreviations: A to Z of Top Tips for for Designers and Tech Editors:

Welcome to my A to Z of top tips for pattern writers, designers and tech editors. Over the course of the year I will be sharing my top tips to help elevate your pattern writing and tech editing skills.

For Designers: These tips are designed to help you improve your pattern writing skills and elevate the standard of your products and services.

For Tech Editors: These tips are designed to help you expand your tech editing skills to cover all aspects of pattern checking (not just the maths). By checking these additional aspects of a pattern, you will be helping your designer clients to write the best patterns they can.

How will my top tips will help you improve your pattern writing and tech editing skills?

Tech editing works best when your written pattern is in the best shape it can be. If you send a half-finished or poorly-written pattern to your tech editor, they will have to spend a lot of time having to work out what's going on in the pattern, before they can even begin to check the maths or put it into house style, which is time consuming, and therefore an added cost to the tech editing process.

Let's begin with the letter A.

A is for Abbreviations

Why are abbreviations used in a knitting or crochet pattern?

Abbreviations are used for instructions that are repeated often. They are used for ease of reading and to help reduce the length of the text.

Here are a few tips to remember when you are creating and using abbreviations:

Tip 1: Check through your pattern thoroughly to make sure that all abbreviation used in the pattern are included in your abbreviations list. Don't just rely on your tech editor to do this. A tech editor should naturally do this as part of their service, although it's worth checking beforehand what their service includes, and it will help significantly if you run a check yourself, before you send your pattern to them. Two pairs of eyes are better than one pair, and it will really help to limit any omissions from your list.

Tip 2: Make sure you haven't included any abbreviations in your list that are not used in the pattern. As in Tip 1, you should check this before sending to your tech editor.

Tip 3: Beware when using copy and paste. If you copy and paste an abbreviations list from a similar pattern, remember to edit the new list to match the current pattern. Leaving in unwanted abbreviations after using 'copy and paste' is a common mistake.

Tip 4: Create your own standard abbreviations list that reflects your own style of pattern writing. Some instructions are used more widely in different countries, such as 'yo' (yarn over) in USA, compared with 'yrn' (yarn round needle) in the UK. You could post your own standard abbreviations on your website for your followers/customers to access and to help them become familiar with your style of writing. This will help them to trust you and they will be more likely to buy more patterns from you if they feel comfortable with your style of writing. If you create your full standard list in a standalone document, you can then copy and paste the abbreviations you need for your current pattern, instead of always typing them out from scratch.

Tip 5: Make sure that when you create your own abbreviations list that you use standard abbreviations that are generally used in knitting and crochet patterns, rather than just making up your own random abbreviations, because this will cause confusion with your customers. If your market is predominately US, then make sure to use the US terminology first. And if you have created a new stitch, then make sure you fully explain how to work it. The craft yarn council is a great place to start for standard abbreviations at

Tip 6: If you only use an abbreviation once or twice within the pattern, then write it out in full in the pattern, rather than adding it to your abbreviations list. This will help to reduce the length of your abbreviations list and keep it more concise.

I hope you find these tips useful for your pattern writing and tech editing.

I have a growing Facebook group for knitting and crochet designers and tech editors where I share more tips and helpful advice for your knit/crochet business. You're welcome to join by clicking the button below and don't forget to answer the joining questions so that I can accept you.

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