Tips From a Tech Editor: Repeat Accuracy

A little chat about accuracy.  I learned this in college.  There is a difference in precision and accuracy.  Imagine you’re shooting 5 arrows at a bulls-eye.  If you land 5 arrows in all different locations all over the place your precision is off.

If you land all 5 arrows in the SAME place, then your aim is precise.  Precision is doing the same thing the same way each time.

Accuracy is when you aim for the center AND you hit the center of the bulls-eye.

Your goal is to be both precise and accurate with your patterns each and every time.  What does that mean for writing?  Precision would mean you use the same abbreviations and voice for each pattern.  You use the same stitch description on patterns, and you use punctuation consistently.

Accuracy in patterns is using punctuation, language, and descriptions that are considered the industry norm.  I know people say, “there’s no right or wrong way to write crochet.”  But I don’t completely agree.  There are generally understood rules to the language.

What follows are the most common inaccurate forms that I see.  If your style does not conform to one of the accurate forms and you don’t know how to fix it, then contact me.

OUR EXAMPLE:

You have 6 loops in a round.  

You want to place 3 sc in each loop.  

You start with with one sc in the first loop, you end with 2 sc in the beginning loop.

Join to the first sc.

There are several accurate ways to write the second (blue) row in this pattern.  For each form, I will describe the accurate way to write, an inaccurate common mistake, and why that inaccurate form is wrong.

Accurate: Completely accurate, there are no questions as to where and how many stitches are placed.

Inaccurate: While these forms may be stitchable you are asking your users to figure some things out for themselves.

Why it’s wrong: Punctuation matters, you don’t want to generate questions, poor punctuation looks unprofessional.  Altogether, you could be losing customers.

FORM 1  (My favorite)

ACCURATE: Sc in first loop, *3 sc in next loop; repeat from * four more times, 2 sc in beginning loop, join to first sc.

INACCURATE: Sc in first loop *3 sc in next loop; repeat from * five times, 2 sc in beginning loop, join to first sc.

Why it’s wrong: Text after the * is WORKED the first time it is read through. Follow “repeat from *” with the additional number of times the repeat is worked.

FORM 2

ACCURATE: Sc in first loop, *3 sc in next loop,* repeat from * to * four more times, 2 sc in beginning loop, join to first sc.

INACCURATE: Sc in first loop, *3 sc in next loop,* repeat ** four more times, 2 sc in beginning loop, join to first sc.

Why it’s wrong: NEVER write “repeat **” or “repeat ()” or “repeat []”.  Follow “repeat from * to *” by the additional number of times the repeat is worked.

FORM 3

ACCURATE: Sc in first loop, [3 sc in next loop] 5 times, 2 sc in beginning loop, join to first sc.

INACCURATE: Sc in first loop, [3 sc in next loop], repeat [to] 5 times,  2 sc in beginning loop, join to first sc.

Why it’s wrong: NEVER write “repeat [to]” or “repeat (to)”.  DO write after the closed bracket the total number of times the enclosed stitches are to be repeated.

FORM 4

ACCURATE: Sc in first loop, (3 sc) in each of next 5 loops, 2 sc in beginning loop, join to first sc.

INACCURATE:  Sc in first loop, 3 sc in next 5 loops, 2 sc in beginning loop, join to first sc.

Why it’s wrong:  You told me to put a total of 3 sc across 5 loops, not 3 sc in each of the 5 loops.  Parentheses contain stitches placed in a single stitch or a space. Using the words “each of” clarifies that the (3 sc) will be repeated and where each set of 3 sc is placed.

FORM 5

ACCURATE:  Sc in first loop, [(3sc) in next loop] 5 times, 2 sc in beginning loop, join to first sc.

INACCURATE:  There are so many more ways that this could be written inaccurately.  I don’t even want to suggest them.

Note: I’m not a huge fan of this form.  I personally think it uses too much punctuation, unnecessarily.  

If you’ve made it through this post and you are utterly confused, maybe we could have a little editorial consultation session.  You could purchase a block of time, and you could pick my brain over how you could be writing various parts of your patterns.  This would be separate from an actual tech edit job.

If you know your patterns need some work to get more “in line” with the standard forms, I could help you with that if you hired me as your tech editor.  Pre-purchasing bulk tech edit time would be your most economic choice.

More information at FiatFiberArts.com and follow @FiatFiberArts on Facebook and Instagram.

  1. Aleeah says:

    Great post! I tech edit sewing and quilting patterns but I also knit and crochet. I see so many of these inaccuracies you describe. I love that you break each one down in great detail.

  2. Kristine says:

    This is an excellent article that so many people need. But just an FYI the publishers that I work with actually do use Gorm 3 when necessary. Not their first choice, but when you get into a pattern with a ton of different reps in the same row they’ll do that to save space.

    • Emily Reiter says:

      Sure, I love the asterisk for the simplicity of it most especially when there is only one repeat in a line. But you’re right, when there are multiple repeats within one row, the asterisk isn’t always the best.

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