There are some books that cause a 'fuss' before they're even released and Kate Atherley's guide for designers is certainly one of them. When the opportunity to review this book before it has even been officially released presented itself, I hollered 'YES' and reached out my greedy hands because I want to hear what Kate has to say. 'Pattern Writing for Knit Designers' is possibly one of the most comprehensive knitting texts I've read in a while. I'm going to gush folks, brace yourself.
Kate is one of those people who I truly admire- she has an outstanding knowledge of knitting design because her background is rich with experience: she studied Pure Mathematics, trained in Fashion Design and worked in marketing communications. Being the Managing Technical Editor for Knitty means that Kate sees A LOT of knitting patterns and what I love is that Kate has taken that eye for numbers, design, good communication and marketing and put it in a book for every single knitter to access. This book isn't aimed at those already in the business or those just starting- it is aimed at every level of designer and it is packed with goodies let me tell you.
In her introduction, Kate starts by telling you why good pattern writing really matters and it makes my heart sing. Whenever I knit from a pattern that works, tells me everything I need to do and delivers a great result, I know I'm hooked and that designer becomes a regular favourite that I will support and buy from again and again. Crushes come and go but some knit crushes are here to stay and Kate points out that exactly this reaction is what keeps knitters happily knitting and the knitting industry working like it should. I was sold and delved in happily to the chapters that followed.
Across 9 more chapters, Kate covers everything from pattern structure to grading and charts. Her approach is no nonsense; Kate doesn't apologise for wanting you to do the best you can but she's completely supportive of how you will get there and makes every step you will need to take extremely clear. This works for me- friendly enough that even I, a non designer, don't feel overwhelmed or intimidated but not so frilly I feel spoken down to either. I need clarity if I'm going to consider pattern writing and Kate gives that in abundance.
The book has plenty of useful tips and suggestions for adding just a little more to each step you've mastered too. You'll get your basic premise set out such as the kind of photography you should be using and then Kate follows this with advice on how to make it really relevant and fail safe to your particular pattern writing. Kate has lots of experience in this industry and illustrates her points with up to date examples and resources that means you can quickly understand what she's explaining. It's not so fresh that it will fade and become irrelevant though- all of Kate's tips and explanations are exactly what good pattern writers have been doing for years, she's just making it relevant to the current market for you.
So whether you're thinking of putting down that idea you've had for someone else to enjoy knitting or serious about developing your patterns as a designer, I'd encourage you to buy and read this book cover to cover. You'll be able to dip into key parts that are relevant to you but I see this as a book that will line the shelves and be well thumbed amongst some of our best professionals for years to come.
If you want to know more, please visit Kate's website as the book will be available from 5th December 2014 priced at $25. Your digital purchase will count as credit towards a print edition should you wish once these go on sale in the new year.
Want to know more detail, hear from Kate and get a real feel for whether this book is for you? Tune in on the 29th November 2014 for a special podcast episode where I'll be interviewing Kate. I can't wait to share it with you!