This week we are getting to know Tech Editor and Knitwear Designer Allison O’Mahony of Kniterations.
Allison designs knitting patterns for functional, modern pieces and has many publishing credits to her name. Allison also provides a wide range of technical editing services to knitting designers.
When you knit from a pattern, chances are that it has been tech edited. But what does this job entail and why are the services of a tech editor so valuable to a designer looking to publish a pattern?
Let’s find out more about Allison and her role as a tech editor.
When and why were you first inspired to pick up the knitting needles?
My grandmother taught me when I was a child, but I didn't really pick it back up again until I was university. I'm not sure what inspired me, but it's changed my life!
What was first thing you ever made?
The usual - a scarf!
What is the role of a knitting tech editor?
A tech editor is responsible for making sure a pattern is ready to be published. This involves everything from checking grammar and spelling to verifying stitch counts to giving suggestions for clarity and consistency. Just like with any published work, having a knowledgable editor check things over is critical.
How did you get into tech editing?
When I first start writing patterns I was advised to have them tech edited. At that point I had no idea what a tech editor was, or what they did! But the more I researched the topic, the more I realized it was the perfect job for me.
What aspect of being a tech editor do you most enjoy?
I love helping designers. To say I love finding mistakes sounds cruel, but honestly, when I find a mistake in a pattern, I really feel like I am helping the designer improve their finished product, which then in turns help them gain the trust of knitters. Even something as minor as a spelling error looks unprofessional and could affect the designer's reputation. As a knitter, I'm quite turned off by mistakes in patterns, so being able to help designers polish their work is very rewarding.
What are the most challenging aspects of being a tech editor?
For designers, their pattern is their baby, and some are more sensitive to criticism than others. I am a very detail-oriented, no-nonsense person, so when I encounter a designer who is on the sensitive side, I have to adjust the way I approach things and be very careful in the way I word my comments. My advice to designers is to be open to all the constructive criticism your editor provides. Their only job is to help you, and they have your best interests at heart. You won't always make every change your editor suggests, and that's fine, but your pattern will be all the better if you can put your ego aside and seriously consider every comment your editor makes.
As a designer too, do you tech edit your own patterns?
I have them edited by another editor (of course!) and she ALWAYS gives me a ton of helpful feedback. Even with an editor's eye, it's impossible to edit one's own work. Every time I think I've done an exceptional job and "oh, she shouldn't have too many comments on this one", I am always wrong! I would never publish a pattern without having it tech edited by another editor.
What’s on your needles at the moment?
You can check out Allisons beautiful designs by following the links below.