Monday, August 12, 2013

As busy as a very busy thing

Whew! You know it's been a busy week when it takes until the next Monday morning before you have time for an update.

Last week was a flurry of activity as I kicked off a secret sock test knit which I hope to submit for publication. At the same time, I have three other sock test knits going on, which you can see over on the Ravelry Free Pattern Testers forum (The Dowager's Prize Socks, The Man in the Brown Sock and Nemesis).

I love the test knit phase of a project. Not only do I get to see a pattern come to life for the first time on someone else's needles, which is a huge thrill. But it's also a fascinating (and humbling) experience in one's own fallibility.

By the time I write up a pattern and put it out for testing, I've spent a lot of time on it. I've knit the socks at least once and often twice. I've done the math for the difference sizes. I use the most recent published pattern as the basis for the new pattern, so that hopefully any typos and errors have already been found and all I have to do is modify some wording, numbers and charts. I check it over more closely than Santa checking his naughty and nice lists on Dec 23rd.

And then other people start taking a look at it and finding the mistakes that my eyes, through over-familiarity, have overlooked. Some are typos. Other things are more basic (e.g., a 58 stitch cast on isn't divisible by 4, therefore you can't do a 2x2 rib cuff).

I hate making mistakes that cause my testers to have to rip out part (or all!) of their work. In fact, I hate making mistakes at all. But as a professional technical writer, I know that writers are not good editors/reviewers of their own work. You get too close to your own work and your brain fills in what it expects to see instead of seeing what's actually written on the page. It's human nature. And I find it fascinating.

I've had a few conversations lately with some of my testers which I think have really upped my game. I love learning from people who have differing view points and ways of approaching a problem. And for that reason I am grateful to all my testers who question my choices, tell me what parts are confusing and make suggestions for improvements.

I'll leave you with pictures of The Man in the Brown Sock and Nemesis. These two socks will be part of an Agatha Christie inspired series of patterns which I hope to launch by the end of August - beginning of September. The Dowager's Prize Socks pattern will be available within the coming week, as part of an exclusive pairing with Lola-Doodles' Dowager's Pink Roses and Silver Lining's colorways. More on that later this week!

Man in the Brown Sock


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