My, how the last couple of weeks have flown since I updated the blog with progress on the book. Myself, Gavin, two Technical Editors and a second Graphic Artist, are all hard at work perfecting each and every page of the book, so it will look beautiful, be as error free as possible, and be a joy to use, to read and to knit from. I have worked very, very hard to try and ensure that the complexities in these unique pieces from the Shetland Museum are not obvious to the knitter, and in no way hinder the enjoyment of knitting them. I think with a lot of hard work, exhaustive pattern writing, re-writing and extremely thorough editing, we have achieved this, with both clear charts and extremely well written patterns.
So what exactly is the Technical Editing process? It involves a considerable amount of mathematical checking, an understanding of each garment’s construction and whether the instructions will produce the correct finished result, an incredible eye for detail, incorporating as it does a level of proof reading that is the equivalent of checking scientific data. Every comma, every colon, every digit has to be correct otherwise the pattern might not work. It also involves an understanding of grading – or multi-sizing – ensuring that the steps I have taken to turn a single sized sample into 7, 8 or even more, sizes, all work and can all be knitted just as well as that initial sample. A Technical Editor needs to be able to both understand and amend charts for lace and Fair Isle, be knowledgeable in Excel spread sheets and so, so much more. Some of the patterns in the book have taken days and days of writing, re-working, checking, grading, re-checking and re-writing before they are the finished article. My hope is that you as the knitter will not be able to tell.
I thoroughly enjoy working with great Technical Editors, who can take a rough, unpolished stone and turn it into a polished gem.
Once the Technical Editing is complete, the Graphic Artist takes over, taking my text files, my working charts and my rough sketches and turning them into beautiful pages, easy on the eye, clean, clear, and a pleasure to work from. A good Graphic Artist makes difficult things look really easy, and has an in-built understanding of what looks good on a page. Just like the Technical Editors, they are perfectionists. Refining and improving until the pages are in themselves, small works of art.
This is such an exciting stage of the book creation to be at, as all my work comes alive on the page spreads. The photographs chosen from hundreds suddenly look so professional and my endless word documents of text and numbers suddenly look like ‘real’ patterns as Gavin weaves his magic spell on them. Its such a delight to watch the book bloom, to take shape and to fill with content. No matter how rocky a journey any book project might have been, once I see the pages unfolding before me, I remember why I love doing this so much.