Pattern Writing for Knit Designers by Kate Atherley, pub. Kate Atherley/Wise Hilda Knits, 2014.
I know Kate Atherley as a well-qualified and thorough tech editor, so I was prepared for this book to be filled with solid information, a pattern template, and maybe a few checklists.
I was not prepared for it to sweep me off my feet.
The subtitle is "everything you didn't know you needed to know," and I think it's a fair bet that most designers will discover at least one aspect of pattern writing they had not previously thought about.
The introduction, in Kate's characteristic clear tone, sets out what the book is, who it's for, why she was inspired to write it, and why it matters. Basically, if you write patterns for designs you created with the idea that others might follow your instructions, you should take a look at this book.
The book is laid out in an engaging manner. The margins are lightly drawn graph paper, which fades out into the main text area. Much of the book is laid out like a knitting pattern, in two-column format with headings. Bulleted lists and the occasional chart help break up the blocks of text. Most sidebars are made to look like scraps of paper taped or paper-clipped to the page. The "Don't Just Take It From Me" sidebars are in the shape of cartoon speech bubbles.
These last sidebars contain important feedback about what knitters like to see in patterns, gathered by Kate from the knitters themselves in multiple venues. Other recurring sidebars include the following:
One disappointment was that the page numbers didn't print on my 8 1/2 x 11" paper. (I told Kate about this, and she's working on a solution. In the meantime, just be sure to click "Scale to Fit" or something similar before you print.)
I took Edie Eckman's "How to Say It" Craftsy class when it first came out. Her course skimmed the surface, where this book plunges to a shivering depth. Kate covers the following pattern features in detail :
She also gives overviews of the submission process, selling online, and copyright. And she has included a pattern template, a list of abbreviations, a glossary of how she defines standard terms, and a resource list and bibliography. Whew!
As I said, it swept me off my feet. Even in Kate's matter-of-fact tone, some sections read like a suspenseful novel---others, like an explanation of that rice cooker manual I was never able to understand. I plan to read it through once more, and then use it as a reference.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who writes knitting patterns.
Disclosure: The publisher sent Kangath a review copy of this book. Kangath was not otherwise compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are her own.
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