As a pattern writer, one thing that will make your life and that of your technical editor easier, is the use of a style sheet. If you already know what one of those is, then great; if you already use one, even better. If not, then this is for you.
Basically a style sheet is a guide that defines your writing style. It means you will be able to present a consistent voice to your customers, which makes your patterns feel more polished and professional. From your technical editor’s point of view, it gives them some rules to check against when they are checking for consistency: if your TE finds in your pattern that you’ve written the same thing in two different ways, your style sheet is how they will know which you prefer.
What type of thing should your style sheet include?
This isn’t a definitive list, but some of the things you should include are:
- standard abbreviations and their definitions (do you always have to check how to define m1r and m1l?)
- how you like to use capitals – for example do you write Ssk, SSK or ssk? Does that change if it’s at the start of an instruction?
- phrases that you use frequently – for example “join for knitting in the round, making sure not to twist”.
- how you define repeats – do you use (brackets) or [brackets] or *asterisks*?
- do you say “round” or “rnd”?
- numbers – 1, 2, 3 or one, two, three?
Every time you write a pattern you should use this to check against, to make sure it is consistent, not just within itself but also with your other patterns. It will mean that your regular customers will be able to recognise your style.
Remember, this is all about your style; there is no right answer, you choose. A style sheet will make it easier to stick to those choices.
Helping you create your style sheet is one of the services I offer. If this is something you are interested in, then please get in touch.
Read about my full range of technical editing services here.