managing style

A little missive on personal style, one of my favorite things to champion as a technical editor. I’m a rule-follower and so by default, a rule-lover. However I am surrounded by people in my life who are rule-ignorers. They drive me mad. In my work medium: words, I have this same push and pull, but I always come out on the side of the individual. It’s the only way. (I mean are all those articles of punctuation correct regarding CMoS? Not sure, but it’s how I wanted to write it.)

I love the look of lowercase letters in headings. I just do. I cringe at lowercase i’s or lowercase proper nouns - it’s just a couple rules from the old days that I cannot let go of. As you can see from the last sentence, I have learned to let go of the rule that you can’t end a sentence with a preposition (but only if it is too much work to do it).

When I started my Substack, I let go of my lowercase headings and titles and went back to regular sentence case and being a good dooby. I just had this voice in my ear yelling at me about ditching those capitals. But I updated this website - cleaned things up, and I also finalized my slides for a presentation I gave on style; these two projects have lowercase headings and titles and they looked so dang ME, so comfortable. I love my website and all its cozy lowercase headings. (To make sure you don't miss these missives - make sure you’re signed up!)

Personal style in writing is so important, and it’s no different in pattern writing. In the presentation I gave, we talked about this craving some have to standardize the writing, get universal rules in place, only instruct one way, etc. I have to be an outlier here. I don’t support that at all. Organization, yes. Coherent clarity, yes. Correct spelling (unless poetry), yes. But my goodness, there is a lot more than that. There are as many ways to instruct a knitter to an end result as there are knitters in the world.

Repeat styles, row counting styles, chart images, schematic drawings and measurement structures, sizing guidance, tool requirements, abbreviations (or none) - there are just an enormous amount of things in patterns to make style choices about, so many that I struggle to think of them all! Within these, there are so many different ways to present each one! How can we make absolutes and limits?

Designers and pattern writers make style choices based on how the rest of the pattern is laid out, and on how the rest of the pattern simply IS; they are based on their own personal experience in this realm and in how they best know to guide their knitter. Oh my gosh, how can that be standardized? Give me style manuals, I love them, but that includes the style guide belonging to my client - that’s the one I want the most.