I think the difference between writing technical documentation and knitting patterns is not terribly significant, and I've been known to talk at some length about this connection. While I've always been technically inclined, I started writing documentation after learning how to write knitting patterns. In the end, the things you have to know and do to write clear instructions is less about knowing about the technical underpinning, more about the mechanics of writing clear instructions and understanding process abstractly.
Shortly after I started my first technical writing job, I realized that all of the things I was learning about writing documentation was applicable to knitting patterns. In retrospect this makes a lot of sense to me: My interest in knitting is the process, not the design. At about this time, I came to terms with the fact that I liked to design boring knitting. Sweaters with plain shapes and fairly repetitive designs, look great and have a lot of appeal but I tend to make the same basic sweater with only minor variations, if any.
So I started writing what I hoped would be a series of essays about designs and sweaters that I'd knit. My hope was to get a collection of these pieces written and put together as a book, and I made some headway in this project I never finished one of these essays. I was writing essays that a knitter could read and be able to knit a sweater that looks like the one I knit, but also just enjoy the story and a collection anecdotes. Then, as life, singing, dancing, and writing got in my way knitting slowed and changed, and I was working on other writing projects, and for a thousand reasons it became a languished project.
And then my world calmed down, I started knitting again, and after beginning a new sweater (or two,) and I thought: it might be worth putting a little more time into the project. Which brings us mostly to the present.
The second piece of this is that, as a reader of knitting content (books, blogs, etc.) I'm most interested in learning about design decisions, creative inspirations, and how people's knitting parallels and reflects life beyond the needles. When I look at a sweater I've made, I can instantly remember where I was when I was knitting it, and why I decided to attach the sleeve just so. The great thing about these stories is that unlike shelf space for finished sweaters, or potentially garish designs, they are endless and endlessly useful: as inspiration, as comfort, and sometimes just plain comedy.
I've not written about knitting on this site for quite a while, and I think that knitting is one of those subjects that might be better served by a little bit of segregation from my more regular fare. So this post is the first in a new knitting series that I've put together. Posts will still show up in the main index
I won't be posting full descriptions of sweaters, I want to experiment with this writing apart from the blog and publication cycle for a while, but I think it'll be nice to post notes on progress or on interesting little parts of sweaters. If nothing else a little blogging ought to make it easier for me to stay on track with knitting for the project.
Onward and Upward