Book Review knitting

The Beginner’s Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns

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One of my long term ambitions is to actually design a garment for myself and learn how to grade it.  When I heard about this book I was very excited but I must warn you, this isn’t the book I was expecting.The clue is in the title it is all about WRITING a knitting pattern, not the actual design process.

Kate Atherley is a very experienced teacher and technical editor and this book is all about creating the perfect pattern.  I guess we’ve all had patterns that sing out to you and are a pleasure to knit while others kind of stagger around spurting instructions and Kate is clearly on a mission to help us offer the former to knitters rather than the latter.

It is packed full of information about what to include, things to bear in mind and what format to write them in.  I particularly liked the section on how to come up with a name for your design, checking to make sure there aren’t already hundreds with the same one on Ravelry. I well remember the pain we used to go through on The Knitter each issue, trying to come up with something original.

The sizing charts for hats and socks are very pertinent to some work I have on at the moment and the section on schematics is very well thought out.

But – you can tell there is a but, can’t you – I found the book a bit daunting. Kate talks about writing your pattern as if the knitter has little or no experience to make sure you include everything that is needed, and that is exactly what she has done in this book. I found the layout a bit distracting, peppered with quotes from designers and ‘Don’t just take it from me’ asides from knitters, I’m afraid.

Without a doubt this is a very useful book, if you have never written a pattern before, and I am sure I will delve in to it from time to time.

You can find Kate’s book here.


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