December Designer Newsletter: Listing Needle Requirements


Hi everyone, and happy December!

Back in October I started a series about one very specific element of a knitting pattern: the listing of materials. This is something that, while seemingly straightforward, often contains inconsistencies and errors. In the first instalment, we covered how to list the yarn requirementsThis month I’ll be covering how to list the needles required.

And as always, I’ve included my tech editing availability for the coming month. My availability will be limited around the holidays, so get in touch soon if you’d like to reserve a spot!

Listing Needle Requirements

As I talked about back in October, when writing a pattern, including a complete and accurate listing of materials is important. As designers, we want our customers to be happy with the finished product they make from our patterns. Clearly indicating the tools and materials required is critical to success.

Below I go over what to include in the needles section of your pattern and discuss some of the most common mistakes I see.

What to include

When listing the needles required for a project, it’s important to list the following for each size/type used:

  1. The size (in either US, mm, or both);
  2. The type (e.g., double-pointed, straight, or circular);
  3. If circular needles, the cable length; and,
  4. If more than one size needle is used, whether or not the needle is used to obtain the listed gauge (this can also be included in the gauge section).

Common Mistakes

1. Needle type not listed

This seems like an obvious omission, but often the use of a specific needle type is not crucial, so designers omit it. However, it’s always best to at least give the knitter a suggestion, or to explain why the needle type isn’t important.

2. Circular needle listed with no recommended cable length

As with the needle type, designers often omit the cable length when it isn’t critical (for example, when working a shawl). But as with the type, it’s always helpful to give the knitter some guidance, such as the minimum or maximum length that would work.

3. Incorrect conversion between US and mm size

This is another seemingly obvious error that happens often, usually as a result of copy/paste errors.

4.Omitting the relationship between needle size and gauge

This is not really an error, per se, but I do think it’s important to note that the knitter should adjust the needle size in order to obtain the listed gauge.

5. Multiple sizes listed without noting relationship to gauge

When just one needle is required, the relationship between the needle and the listed gauge is implied. However, when more than one needle size is required, it’s imperative to indicate which needle should achieve the listed gauge.

In the example above, the knitter will need to achieve the listed gauge using needle A, but I’ve also given instructions to adjust needles B and C if they adjust A for gauge. For needles B and C, the exact gauge yielded is not important, but their relationship with needle A is. The needles used to work the brim of the hat (C) should be smaller than those used to work the plain stockinette of the crown decreases (B) which should be smaller than the needles used to knit the colourwork pattern (A).

In the third and final newsletter on this topic, we’ll discuss listing other tools and notions.

Tech Editing Availability

I have the following tech editing spaces remaining for December:

  • Dec 2-61 spot remaining!
  • Dec 9-131 spot remaining!
  • Dec 16-20: 3 spots available
  • Dec 23-27: 2 spots available
  • Dec 30-Jan 3: 2 spots available

Get in touch ASAP if you’d like to reserve a spot!

– Allison

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